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In re P.D.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 27, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF P.D. and R.D., Minor Children, S.M., Mother, Appellant, C.D., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Nancy S. Tabor, Judge.

         A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights.

          Timothy J. Tupper of Tupper Law Firm, Davenport, for appellant mother.

          G. Brian Weiler, Davenport, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen Witte Kraemer, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Steven W. Stickle of Stickle Law Firm, P.L.C., Davenport, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ. Tabor, J., takes no part.

          VOGEL, PRESIDING JUDGE

         A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their two children. Both parents assert termination is not in the children's best interests. Because neither parent has taken steps to allow the safe return of the children to their care, we conclude grounds for termination of both parents' rights have been established and termination is in the children's best interests. Therefore, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         R.D., born January 2005, and P.D., born October 2010, came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in April 2016, upon allegations the mother was not properly supervising the children. Specifically, the DHS was concerned the mother was leaving the children with their siblings, who were eighteen and twenty years old, for extended periods of time in filthy living conditions and with inadequate household supplies.

         The children were removed from the home and placed in foster care. Both parents were initially receptive to services from the DHS including substance-abuse treatment programs, mental-health evaluations, and parenting classes. On July 26, 2016, the district court adjudicated the children as children in need of assistance and continued their placement in foster care. On March 21, 2017, following a permanency hearing, the district court found the children could not be returned to either parent. The district court determined the mother completed a twenty-one-day inpatient substance abuse program but did not engage in further treatment, and she actually reunited with the individual with whom she was using drugs, specifically methamphetamine. The district court found the father failed to comply with probation terms upon his release from jail, lost his employment, and did not have stable housing.

         On April 5, 2017, the State filed a petition to terminate the mother's and the father's parental rights. The termination hearing was held July 3, 2017. In a July 5 order, the district court terminated the mother's and father's parental rights to P.D. and R.D. pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(a), (d), (e), (f) and (i) (2017). The court also terminated the mother's rights pursuant to section 232.116(1)(l). The mother and father both appeal.

         II. ...


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