IN THE INTEREST OF A.R., Minor Child, A.R., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County,
Charles D. Fagan, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.
J. Heims, Council Bluffs, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Roberta J. Megel of State Public Defender Office, Council
Bluffs, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her
daughter, A.R. She asserts the State did not establish the
statutory elements by clear and convincing evidence,
termination was not in the best interest of the child, and
the court erred in not granting a continuance. We conclude
the State proved the elements for termination, including that
A.R. had been out of the mother's care for more than six
months and could not be returned to the mother's care at
the time of the termination hearing. The mother has been
unable to put A.R.'s needs before her own, and any bond
she has with the child does not override the need for
termination. Additionally, the court did not err in denying
the motion to continue because A.R. needs permanency and
stability in her life without further delay. Consequently, we
affirm the order of the district court.
Background Facts and Proceedings
was born November 2015 while the mother was incarcerated on a
drug-related conviction. The mother has a history with
illegal drugs and allegedly allowed people with felony
warrants to stay at her home to evade law enforcement. While
incarcerated the mother was allowed to keep A.R. with her
until the mother's release and subsequent probation. A.R.
then came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) in November 2016 after she had ingested an
unknown substance and began to have seizures. She tested
positive for methamphetamine in her system. On November 10,
2016, the juvenile court held a removal hearing and a removal
order was entered, placing A.R. with the child's maternal
aunt. On November 22, the mother was arrested by federal
authorities for the distribution of methamphetamine.
February 15, 2017, A.R. was adjudicated as a child in need of
assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section
232.2(6)(c)(2), (n), and (o) (2016). On March 7, the court
entered a dispositional order allowing the aunt continued
custody of A.R., ordering the mother to undergo further
substance-abuse treatment, and adopting the permanency goal
of reunification, concurrent with adoption. On August 2, a
review order was entered changing the permanency goal to
August 4, the State filed a petition for termination of
parental rights. The mother filed a motion to continue,
indicating federal sentencing on her drug distribution charge
had not occurred and would impact the juvenile court's
ruling in the termination. The juvenile court denied the
September 6, the State filed trial informations against the
mother accusing her of (1) child endangerment causing bodily
injury and neglect or abandonment of a dependent person in
relation to A.R., and (2) assault causing bodily injury or
mental illness while she was incarcerated following her
arrest for distribution of methamphetamine.
September 26, the juvenile court entered an order terminating
the mother's rights to A.R. pursuant to Iowa Code section