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In re J.W.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 11, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF J.W., Minor Child, C.W., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clarke County, Monty W. Franklin, District Associate Judge.

         The mother appeals the juvenile court order terminating her parental rights to her child. AFFIRMED.

          Jane Orlanes of Orlanes Law Office, PLC, Ankeny, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Marc A. Elcock of Elcock Law Firm, Osceola, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, JUDGE.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         J.W., born in 2004, came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in July 2014 following the mother's arrest for a domestic-violence incident between her and J.W.'s father. The mother remained in jail awaiting a bed in a residential treatment facility. The mother and father agreed that J.W. should be placed with the maternal grandparents.

         The State filed a child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) petition and on September 24, the matter came on for an uncontested hearing. Based on the mother's substance abuse and domestic-violence incidents in front of the child, the court adjudicated J.W. as CINA and placement remained with the maternal grandparents.

         The court adopted the case permanency plan in an October 29 dispositional order wherein batterer's education; parenting education; family safety, risk, and permanency (FSRP) services; and drug testing were recommended. Temporary legal custody was placed with the maternal grandparents, and visitation was to be determined by DHS.

         The mother initially complied with services and showed progress towards sobriety. Between October 2014 and May 2015, she attended twenty-four sessions of treatment and found regular employment. DHS recommended that J.W. return to the mother's care. Following the May 2015 review hearing, the court returned temporary legal custody of J.W to the mother and awarded visitation for the father.

         On August 3, however, the mother was arrested and incarcerated for probation violations, including drinking, abusing prescription medication, failing to meet with her probation officer, failing to attend substance-abuse treatment, and failing to appear in court. DHS recommended placement with the father temporarily, but on August 4, the father unexpectedly died.[1] The maternal grandparents assumed care of J.W., and on August 6, the court modified placement of J.W. with the maternal grandparents.

         On November 25, the mother entered an inpatient substance abuse treatment program. The program allowed J.W. to live with the mother during treatment, and the court modified J.W.'s placement giving custody to the mother so long as she continued the residential treatment program. DHS reports indicate J.W. and the mother thrived at the ...


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