IN THE INTEREST OF R.B., Minor Child, S.C., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Angela L.
Doyle, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her
Jessica L. Morton of Bruner, Bruner & Reinhart LLP,
Carroll, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Douglas E. Cook of Cook Law Office, Jewell, guardian ad litem
for minor child.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor,
VAITHESWARAN, Presiding Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to a
child, born in 2010. She contends (1) the record lacks clear
and convincing evidence to support the grounds for
termination cited by the district court, (2) the department
of human services failed to make reasonable efforts toward
reunification with the child, and (3) she should have been
afforded additional time to reunify or the court should have
placed the child in a guardianship in lieu of terminating her
The district court terminated the mother's parental
rights pursuant to several statutory
provisions. We may affirm if we find clear and
convincing evidence to support any of the provisions. In
re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 707 (Iowa 2010). On our de novo
review, we are persuaded termination was warranted under Iowa
Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2017), which requires proof of
several elements, including proof the child could not be
returned to the parent's custody.
mother has a history of drug abuse and criminal activity. The
department became involved following allegations of her drug
use while caring for the child. The mother tested positive
for several drugs and the child was placed with the maternal
grandparents pursuant to a safety plan. The district court
subsequently adjudicated the child in need of assistance and
transferred custody to the department. The child remained
with the grandparents throughout the proceedings.
the mother was arrested for theft and two drug-related
crimes. The district court adjudged her guilty, imposed
suspended sentences, and placed her on probation. A later
probation-administered test was positive for methamphetamine
and marijuana. The mother also incurred new criminal charges.
mother failed to comply with the department's drug
treatment recommendations or follow through with the
department's drug testing schedule. She was
unsuccessfully discharged from inpatient or outpatient drug
treatment on four occasions and from a Drug Treatment Court
mother ultimately had her probation revoked. She was
imprisoned in the fall of 2017 and remained incarcerated at
the time of the termination hearing three months later. She
did not participate in the termination proceedings.
department employee overseeing the case testified the
mother's "soonest recall date" would be nine
months after the date of the termination hearing. The child
indisputably could not be returned to her custody. See In
re A.M.,843 N.W.2d 100, 111 (Iowa 2014) (holding the
State must prove the child "cannot be returned to the