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In re B.H.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 25, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF B.H., Minor Child, A.K., Mother, Appellant, L.H., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Audubon County, Amy L. Zacharias, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and father appeal the termination of their parental rights. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.

          Karen K. Emerson Peters of Karen K. Emerson Peters Law Office, Atlantic, for appellant mother.

          Scott D. Strait, Council Bluffs, for appellant father.

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

          William T. Early, Harlan, guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          PER CURIAM.

         A mother and father appeal the termination of their parental rights. Upon our de novo review, we affirm on both appeals.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         B.H., born in 2008, is the daughter of A.K. and L.H. Both parents have a long history of mental-health issues and substance abuse. They both also have substantial criminal records.

         In July 2015, B.H. came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (Department) after it was alleged the child was left unsupervised at the swimming pool. Specifically, while the child was swimming, the mother "went to her vehicle in the parking lot and smoked marijuana. [The mother] was reported to return to the pool area and passed out near the pool. When law enforcement approached her, [the mother] did not respond or awaken until the third attempt." The mother was charged with several criminal counts, and a child abuse investigation followed.

         The Department learned the child had been living with her maternal grandmother for some time, and the child was formally removed from the parents' care and placed with the grandmother. The child had not had any contact with the father in several years. When asked by her therapist about her father, the child "recall[ed] very negative memories including, witnessing her father often being 'drunk' and his extreme physical abuse towards her mother. [The child] also remember[ed] the fear she had of her father during these situations as well." Notably, a no-contact order had been in place since February 2015 disallowing the father to have any contact with the grandmother due to threats he made.

         The child was adjudicated a child in need of assistance (CINA) in September 2015, and services were offered to both parents for reunification. At the dispositional hearing in November 2015, the court directed the father to obtain mental-health and substance-abuse evaluations and to follow the evaluators' recommendations. The court also noted the continuing no-contact order between the father and the grandmother, and it ...


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