IN THE INTEREST OF A.B. and J.B., Minor Children,
F., Mother, Appellant. T.B., Father, Appellant,
from the Iowa District Court for Appanoose County, William S.
Owens, Associate Juvenile Judge.
mother and father separately appeal the termination of their
parental rights to their children.
Jonathan Willier, Centerville, for appellant father. Robert
F. Bozwell Jr. of Bozwell Law Office, Centerville, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Meredith L. Lamberti,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
R. DeVries of DeVries Law Office, P.L.C., Centerville,
guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor,
mother and the father of A.B., born in 2011, and J.B., born
in 2016, separately appeal the termination of their parental
rights. On appeal, the mother maintains there is not clear
and convincing evidence to support termination as the
children could have been returned to her care at the time of
the termination hearing "or a reasonable period
thereafter" and termination is not in the children's
best interests. The father also claims termination is not in
the children's best interests and asserts the juvenile
court should have entered a permanency order placing the
children in a guardianship with a relative rather than
terminating the father's parental rights.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) became involved with
this family in May 2015 upon allegations of lack of
supervision and illegal drug use by the parents. A.B., who
was then less than four years old, had been found wandering
one mile from the family home, and DHS learned she had been
unsupervised for approximately two hours. The mother admitted
to smoking marijuana daily, but the father denied use of
illegal drugs. Both parents agreed to subsequent drug
testing, but neither participated. A.B. was adjudicated in
need of assistance but remained in her parents' care.
was born in the family home in April 2016. Soon thereafter,
DHS received a report that the mother was using
methamphetamine in the home. DHS became concerned the mother
had purposely had the child at home to escape detection, as
children are commonly tested for drugs at birth in the
hospital. The mother showed behavioral indicators she was
using the illegal substance, and both parents refused to sign
the DHS safety plan. DHS then sought and obtained a removal
order, and the children were placed with their paternal
April 27 removal hearing, the parents agreed to engage in
services and comply with the DHS safety plan, including being
tested for illegal drug use. Under these circumstances, the
children were returned to the parents' care.
when the results from the initial drug test came back less
than one week later, both parents tested positive for the use
of methamphetamine. Though she initially denied it, the
mother later admitted she used methamphetamine during her
pregnancy. The parents voluntarily agreed to place the
children back in the care of the paternal grandmother. The
court ordered the parents to participate in substance-abuse
treatment and drug testing. The mother completed a
substance-abuse evaluation, which diagnosed her with
methamphetamine use disorder, moderate. It was recommended
she begin intensive outpatient treatment, which she did not
do. The father failed to complete a substance-abuse
evaluation and did not otherwise seek treatment.
review hearing in September, the voluntary placement of the
children with ...