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In re A.K.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 20, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF A.K., B.R., J.W., A.K., and E.W., Minor Children, A.K., Mother, Appellant, S.W., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Calhoun County, Adria Kester, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and father separately appeal a juvenile court decision terminating their parental rights. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.

          Joseph L. Tofilon of Thatcher, Tofilon & Livingston, P.L.C., Fort Dodge, for appellant mother.

          Mark J. Rasmussen of Rasmussen Law Office, Jefferson, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Martha A. Sibbel of Law Office of Martha Sibbel, P.L.C., Carroll, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, Judge.

         A mother and father separately appeal a juvenile court decision terminating their parental rights. We find there is sufficient evidence in the record to support the termination of the parents' rights and we cannot say the State did not engage in reasonable efforts to reunite the parents with the children. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         A.K. is the mother of five children-A.K., born in 2005; A.K., born in 2007; B.R., born in 2008; J.W., born in 2012; and E.W., born in 2015. S.W. is the father of J.W. and E.W. The parents have a history of substance abuse and domestic violence. The family was involved with the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) from August 2012 through June 2014, when the case was closed.

         DHS became involved with the family again in March 2015 due to concerns about domestic violence by the father and reports the mother was using methamphetamine. On June 5, 2015, the children were adjudicated to be in need of assistance based on Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) (2015). A.K., A.K., and B.R. were placed with the maternal grandparents, while J.W. and E.W. resided with their mother at a substance abuse treatment program.

         The mother was released from the substance abuse treatment program in August 2015. The next month she went to a bar with the father, in violation of a contract of expectations with DHS and the court. J.W. and E.W. were then removed from the parents' care and placed with the maternal grandparents. The mother did not participate in outpatient treatment. Neither parent appeared for drug tests.

         On May 16, 2016, the State filed a petition seeking termination of the parents' rights. The parents began cooperating with services. After a termination hearing, the juvenile court determined the mother and father should have six additional months to work on reunification.[1] The court stated, "The parents may have limitations on their parenting abilities, but their parenting improvements, newly acquired cooperation with services, and conduct were such that this case should have moved toward, at a minimum, overnight visitation if not a trial home visit." The court also stated, the parents "need to immediately submit to random ...


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