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In re W.B.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 24, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF W.B., Minor Child, M.G., Mother, Appellant, D.B., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Crawford County, Mary L. McCollum Timko, Associate Juvenile Judge.

         A mother and a father separately appeal from the order terminating their parental rights. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.

          Thomas E. Gustafson of Gustafson Law Firm, Denison, for appellant mother. Dean A. Fankhauser of Fankhauser Rachel, P.L.C., Sioux City, for appellant father.

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

          Kara L. Minnihan, Onawa, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.

          DANILSON, Chief Judge.

         A mother and a father separately appeal from the order terminating their parental rights to their child, W.B., pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e), (h), and (l) (2017).[1]

         This court reviews termination proceedings de novo. See In re A.M., 843 N.W.2d 100, 110 (Iowa 2014). "On appeal, we may affirm the juvenile court's termination order on any ground that we find supported by clear and convincing evidence." In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 707 (Iowa 2010).

          W.B. was born in September 2015. On December 2, 2016, the department of human services (DHS) received allegations the father and mother were using methamphetamine and marijuana while caring for W.B., they had taken the child with them on drug deals, and they had physically assaulted each other in the child's presence. A child-abuse assessment was conducted. The parents denied the allegations of drug use but their hair-stat tests were positive for methamphetamine at very high levels. Due to the parents' positive drug tests, the mother's erratic behavior, DHS's inability to obtain the cooperation of the parents to create a safety plan, and the family's plans to leave the state without participating in services, the court ordered the child's removal.

         On January 17, 2017, the juvenile court adjudicated W.B. a child in need of assistance (CINA). The parents' visits were to be supervised. The parents were to cooperate with Family Safety, Risk, and Permanency Services and random drug testing, participate in substance-abuse treatment, and obtain employment and housing.

         On April 13, both parents submitted urine samples that tested positive for methamphetamine.

         On April 24, the court entered a dispositional order that continued the child's out-of-home placement. The court observed the parents had not consistently visited their child, continued to use illegal substances, and were not willing to follow through with recommendations to address domestic violence in their relationship. The parents did not have a stable address and were not employed. Concerns were raised about the mother's mental health but the mother refused to obtain a mental-health evaluation. A permanency hearing was originally scheduled for June 8 but was continued twice.

         A July 6 report to the court noted the parents had been offered fifty-eight supervised interactions between January and ...


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