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In re C.T.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 2, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF C.T., Minor Child, A.T., Mother, Appellant. STATE OF IOWA, Appellant, VICKI R. DANLEY, Guardian Ad Litem, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Fremont County, Craig M. Dreismeier, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child, C.T., and the State of Iowa and C.T.'s guardian ad litem appeal the juvenile court's order dismissing the petition to terminate C.T.'s father's parental rights.

          Jaclyn A. Tackett of Tackett Law Offices, Glenwood, for appellant mother.

          Kyle J. McGinn of McGinn Law Firm, Council Bluffs, for appellee father.

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

          Vicki R. Danley, Sidney, guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          DOYLE, Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child, C.T., and the State of Iowa and C.T.'s guardian ad litem (GAL) appeal the juvenile court's order dismissing the petition to terminate C.T.'s father's parental rights. Upon our de novo review, see In re P.L., 778 N.W.2d 33, 40 (Iowa 2010), we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         A.T. is the mother and T.T. is the father of C.T., born in January 2015. The parents married shortly after C.T.'s birth. Both parents have a history of substance abuse and mental-health concerns. They also have criminal histories, including convictions for child endangerment, the circumstances of which led to a prior Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) case.[1]That case was closed in September 2015.

         The parents came to attention of the DHS again in April 2016, after the parents' probation officers reported each parent had relapsed on methamphetamine. The child was removed from the parents' care and placed in the care of his paternal grandparents, where the child has since remained.

         Substantial services were again offered to both parents, including substance-abuse treatment and supervised visitation. Each parent had successes and failures. Initially, neither parent engaged in treatment. Each parent was then placed in jail for probation violations, and both were still incarcerated at the time of the November 2016 review modification/permanency hearing. At that time, the mother was anticipating she would be released from jail shortly and would go to a halfway house until a bed opened up at a substance-abuse treatment center. The father remained in jail, but he notified the court he had been admitted into drug court. The court changed the permanency goal to termination of parental rights, and the State later filed a petition seeking parental-rights termination.

         Thereafter, both the mother and the father engaged in their treatment programs. Both were sober, obtained employment, and visited their child. A termination-of-parental-rights hearing was held at the end of April 2017, and the court dismissed the termination-of-parental-rights petition at the end of May 2017. The court found the mother "had made great strides in her treatment . . . and that attempts at reunification could occur in the very near future." The father was also successfully participating in the drug-court program, but he was placed at a "three-quarters home" in Nebraska that did not allow children to be placed there and was not expected to ...


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