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In re E.N.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 2, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF E.N. and E.A., Minor Children, E.N., Father, Appellant, P.A., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Colin J. Witt, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and father separately appeal the juvenile court order terminating their parental rights.

          Jessica J. Chandler of Chandler Law Office, Windsor Heights, for appellant father.

          Heidi M. Young of Parrish, Kruidenier, Dunn, Boles, Gribble, Gentry, Brown & Bergmann, L.L.P., Des Moines, for appellant mother.

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

          Yvonne C. Naanep, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         A mother and father separately appeal the juvenile court order terminating their parental rights. The parents claim there was not sufficient evidence to terminate their parental rights and termination is not in the best interests of the children. We find the evidence was sufficient and termination is in the children's best interests. We affirm the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         E.N. was born in 2013 and E.A. was born in 2016. Both children tested positive for opiates at birth, and the mother did not have a prescription for the medication. The juvenile court ordered removal of the children. The mother hid the children for approximately one week. During the week, E.A. suffered from severe opiate withdrawal but received no medical care. Eventually, the children were removed from the parents' care. The children were adjudicated children in need of assistance in June 2016. Review hearings were held in November 2016, and February 2017. The parents were granted a six-month extension at a permanency hearing in May.

         During the case, the parents sporadically participated in drug tests. The father tested positive on three separate occasions. The mother admitted to using cocaine in February 2017. In July, shortly after a visit with the children, police raided the family home and arrested the father for possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, and a parole violation. The mother reported she was unaware the father had returned to selling drugs, though she admitted she had been suspicious but chose to continue living with him regardless. The father was incarcerated until December. The mother and father remained in a relationship, although the mother told Family Safety, Risk, and Permanency (FSRP) workers she was no longer with him.

         The mother's visitation with the children declined after the father's arrest. When she arrived for one visit with the children, the mother appeared to be on drugs and told the children they would soon be returning home. She was asked to take a drug test the next day and refused. The mother failed to complete mental-health therapy and was at times verbally abusive to the FSRP worker. At the termination hearing, the mother testified she had been sober for a year and four months. However, the mother admitted to using cocaine eleven months earlier.

         The father was discharged from substance-abuse treatment as he had little motivation and did not believe he needed treatment. He participated in Narcotics Anonymous while he was incarcerated. At the termination hearing he claimed he had been sober since April 2017. ...


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