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In re X.S.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 21, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF X.S. and B.M., Minor Children, M.M., Father, Appellant, D.W., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jackson County, Phillip J. Tabor, District Associate Judge.

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

          Stephen W. Newport of Newport & Newport, P.L.C., Bettendorf, for appellant father.

          Taryn R. McCarthy of Clemens, Walters, Conlon, Runde & Hiatt, L.L.P., Dubuque, for appellant mother.

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

          Scott J. Nelson, Dubuque, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ. Tabor, J., takes no part.

          VOGEL, Presiding Judge.

         A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their children. Upon our review of the record, we agree the statutory grounds for termination were met, termination is in the children's best interest, and there are no factors precluding termination. Therefore, we affirm the termination of both parents' parental rights.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         B.M., born in 2013, and X.S., born in 2016, came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in August 2016 after the DHS received allegations that B.M.'s father was arrested on drug-related (methamphetamine) charges.[1] In September, the mother tested positive for methamphetamine. B.M. subsequently tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamine. Both B.M. and X.S. were removed from their parents' care in October. B.M. was placed with his paternal grandmother while X.S. was placed with his maternal grandparents.

         Services were offered to the father and the mother. Both managed some level of compliance, but the mother was eventually arrested on drug and weapons charges while the father struggled to maintain contact with the DHS and B.M. In January 2017, B.M. was adjudicated a child in need of assistance (CINA), under Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2), (n), and (o) (2016). X.S. was adjudicated a CINA under section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n). In May 2017, B.M. was removed from his placement at his paternal grandmother's home after concerns of domestic violence surfaced. He was then placed with his maternal grandparents. The mother returned to drug use and was incarcerated prior to the termination hearing. The father was arrested in June 2017 on more drug-related charges and had little contact with B.M until about one month prior to the termination hearing.

         The State's petition to terminate both parents' parental rights came on for hearing on December 18, 2017. Both parents' parental rights were terminated as to B.M. under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e), (f), and (l) (2017). The mother's ...


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