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In re M.R.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 11, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF M.R. and Z.R., Minor Children, H.D., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Daniel L. Block, Associate Juvenile Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to two children.

          Andrew C. Abbott of Abbott Law Office, P.C., Waterloo, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Timothy M. Baldwin of the Public Defender Office, Waterloo, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to two children, born in 2014 and 2015. She contends (1) the State failed to prove the grounds for termination cited by the juvenile court, (2) permanency should have been deferred for six months, and (3) the closeness of the parent-child bond militated against termination.

         I. Grounds for Termination

         The juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights pursuant to several Iowa Code provisions. We may affirm the termination decision if we find clear and convincing evidence to support termination under any of the cited grounds. See In re S.R., 600 N.W.2d 63, 64 (Iowa Ct. App. 1999).

         The mother has a history of methamphetamine abuse. The children were removed from her care following three incidents of neglect. In the most recent, the two-year-old and one-year-old toddlers were found wandering in the traveled part of a parking lot outside their apartment building. The door to their apartment was ajar, and the mother was apparently asleep in a back bedroom.

         The mother was arrested and charged with child endangerment. The department of human services applied to have the children temporarily removed from her care. The juvenile court granted the application. The children were placed in foster care and were subsequently adjudicated in need of assistance, with the mother stipulating to the adjudication.

         The mother was placed on pretrial release shortly after her arrest. The department offered her two three-hour supervised visits with the children per week. In the ensuing two months, she participated in a total of four visits. In late October 2016, she discontinued contact with the department and her children. A warrant was issued for her arrest.

         The mother was arrested and jailed in late January 2017, and approximately three weeks later, she was placed in a women's correctional facility. On her release, she missed two scheduled sessions with a service provider and did not reengage with the ...


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