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In re A.P.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 24, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF A.P. and R.M., Minor Children, M.P., n/k/a M.M., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Barbara H. Liesveld, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals from the order terminating her parental rights. AFFIRMED.

          John D. Jacobsen of Jacobsen, Johnson and Wiezorek, P.L.C., Cedar Rapids, for appellant mother.

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

          Katherine M. Hartman Eastvold, Coralville, guardian ad litem for minor children.

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

          DANILSON, Chief Judge.

         A mother appeals from the order terminating her parental rights to A.P., pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f), and to R.M., pursuant to section 232.116(1)(h), and as to both children, pursuant to section 232.116(1)(g) (2017).[1]

         The mother has a history with the juvenile court. Her parental rights to an older child, N.P, were terminated in 2011. She also has a child, T.P., who was removed from her care in 2012 after she and Joseph[2] were found to be manufacturing methamphetamine in their home and two-year-old T.P. tested positive for methamphetamine.[3]

         The mother placed her children-A.P., born in September 2013,[4] and R.M., born in August 2015-in the care of a cousin because she knew the children were not safe with Joseph due to the parents' methamphetamine use and domestic violence. The children were judicially removed from parental custody pursuant to an emergency removal order on February 29, 2016. On April 12, 2016, the juvenile court found the children were in need of assistance (CINA) and entered an adjudication/disposition order in which the court noted the mother was in jail. The children have remained in foster-care placement since that time with no trial period at the mother's home.

         The mother has received numerous services during these juvenile-court proceedings, including domestic-violence counseling, drug testing, mental-health evaluation and medication management, substance-abuse evaluation and treatment, and supervised visits. Due to the mother's participation with services and progress in maintaining her sobriety, she was granted an extension of time to achieve reunification in a permanency review order dated October 10, 2016.[5]

          At the time of a February 8, 2017 permanency hearing, the mother had secured her own independent housing, continued to provide clean drug screens, was employed, participated in appropriate interactions with A.P. and R.M., was participating in family team meetings, and was complying with the terms and conditions of her criminal probation. She progressed to unsupervised, overnight visits with the children.

         The mother gave birth to another child, C.N., in May 2017. Unfortunately, both she and the infant tested positive for methamphetamine. C.N. was placed for adoption. The mother admitted to methamphetamine use and her visitation with A.P. and R.M. returned to being fully supervised. The mother tested positive for methamphetamine in June, July, and August 2017.

         At the time of the termination trial on September 21, 2017, the mother was in jail awaiting disposition of pending criminal charges, including possession of methamphetamine, second or subsequent offense; possession of drug paraphernalia; and driving while license under suspension. There was also pending an application to revoke her probation for three counts of prohibited acts, for which the State was recommending the mother be held in custody pending an opening in a substance-abuse-treatment facility, where she would remain for 365 days or until maximum benefits were achieved. ...


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