IN THE INTEREST OF D.M., Minor Child, A.D., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Susan C. Cox,
District Associate Judge.
mother appeals from an order terminating her parental rights
pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 232 (2017).
M. Westhoff Gentry of Parrish, Kruidenier, Dunn, Boles,
Gribble, Cook, Parrish, Gentry & Fisher L.P., Des Moines,
for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
M. Pattison of Drake Legal Clinic, Des Moines, guardian ad
litem for minor child.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
appeals from the order terminating her parental rights in her
child, D.M. Ariana raises two challenges on appeal. She
argues the evidence is insufficient to support termination of
her parental rights. She also argues guardianship is a better
alternative to termination of her parental rights.
is the mother of D.M. (born 2010). The family first came to
the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (IDHS)
in August 2016 when it was reported Ariana was abusing
controlled substances, including the abuse of prescription
pills. The child reported the mother regularly crushed pills,
injected substances, and passed out in the child's
presence. D.M.'s maternal grandmother corroborated
Ariana's drug use. In addition to Ariana's
intravenous drug use in the presence of her child, IDHS had
concerns regarding Ariana's ability to meet the basic
needs of the child due to Ariana's joblessness and
homelessness. The father was in federal prison at the time
these concerns arose and not available to care for the child.
D.M. was removed from Ariana's care and placed with the
time of the termination hearing in October 2017, Ariana had
not addressed the concerns giving rise to removal. She
commenced outpatient substance-abuse treatment in October
2016 and had some success. However, Ariana did not complete
the treatment. In December 2016, Ariana reported symptoms of
anxiety and depression and told workers she was prescribed
hydrocodone for pain relief for her teeth. She subsequently
failed to comply with drug testing in February, March, April,
and May 2017. Shortly before the termination hearing, Ariana
tested positive for opiates and oxycodone. There were other
reports the mother had been using methamphetamine
intravenously. It was clear from the evidence presented at
the termination hearing that Ariana was doctor shopping and
abusing morphine and oxycodone, among other things. In
addition, it was clear Ariana was in denial regarding her
substance-abuse addiction. At the time of the termination
hearing, Ariana remained unemployed and homeless. She
testified she had been living with a friend for a few weeks,
although she could not recall the address.
juvenile court terminated Ariana's parental rights in
D.M. pursuant to section 232.116(1)(f) (2017). Ariana timely
filed this appeal.
court reviews termination proceedings de novo. See In re
A.M., 843 N.W.2d 100, 110 (Iowa 2014). The statutory
framework authorizing the termination of a parent-child
relationship is well established and need not be repeated
herein. See In re ...