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In re E.H.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 7, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF E.H., Minor Child, L.H., Father, Appellant, S.L., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Boone County, James B. Malloy, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights.

          Wesley A. Johnson of Johnson Law Office, Ogden, for appellant father.

          Ashley M. Sparks of Cooper, Goedicke, Reimer & Reese, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellant mother.

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

          Mark J. Olberding of Olberding Law Office, Nevada, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, Judge.

         A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their child, E.H., born in October 2013. Both parents' rights were terminated pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2017). The father argues termination is not in E.H.'s best interests and would be detrimental to E.H. due to the closeness of the parent-child relationship. The mother argues termination would be detrimental to E.H. due to the closeness of the parent-child relationship.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The child was in the physical care of his father in April 2016, when he was removed because of his father's methamphetamine use. The court adjudicated E.H. a child in need of assistance (CINA) in August 2016. A termination hearing was held in December 2017.

         At the time E.H. was removed from the home, the location of the mother was unknown. The mother has not complied with the recommendations of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS); she has not completed a parenting class, is not responsive to suggestions from workers, and has not provided drug tests except on one occasion. She has completed multiple substance-abuse and mental-health evaluations but has not followed through on services. The mother was arrested in August 2017 for possession of methamphetamine as a habitual offender. At the time of the termination hearing, the mother was in the Boone County Jail on pending drug charges.

         The father violated his probation in April 2016 by using methamphetamine and failing to follow through with substance-abuse treatment. The father did complete a substance-abuse and mental-health evaluation in January 2017 but did not follow through with treatment recommendations. The father was arrested in May 2017 for violating probation by using methamphetamine, failing to follow through with substance-abuse treatment, and failing to obtain employment. The father was required to report to Curt Forbes, a residential facility, and was still living at Curt Forbes at the time of the termination hearing. Since June 2017, while residing at Curt Forbes, the father has been involved in his mental-health treatment, attending therapy and medication checks as required by the facility. Family Safety, Risk, and Permanency (FSRP) workers report the father "occasionally was attentive" to E.H. during supervised visits. The DHS worker reported E.H. is apprehensive of his father and has to be prompted to interact with the father.

         E.H. has been the subject of two previous CINA adjudications, open from May 2014 to June 2014 and August 2014 to August 2015. He is currently placed with a ...


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