IN THE INTEREST OF T.B. and B.B., Minor Children, J.W., Mother, Appellant, C.B., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for O'Brien County, David C.
Larson, District Associate Judge.
mother and father each appeal from termination of their
parental rights to two children.
Christopher D. Sandy of Sandy Law Firm, Spirit Lake, for
Cosgrove, Sibley, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
M. Halverson of Klay, Veldhuizen, Bindner, DeJong &
Halverson PLC, Paullina, guardian ad litem for minor
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor,
and Joni appeal from termination of their parental
rights to two children, five-year-old B.B. and two-year-old
T.B. The parents contend the State failed to offer clear and
convincing evidence to support the grounds for termination
under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) and (h) (2017). The
parents also argue termination of their rights will be
detrimental to the children due to the closeness of their
relationship and they should have been given an additional
six months to work toward reunification.
reviewed the record and now determine, although the parents
addressed the initial concerns of homelessness and
instability, continued removal of the children is necessary
because of shortcomings in their parenting skills and
judgment. After two years out of their parents' care,
including an extension of six months, the best interests of
the children will be served by termination of parental
rights. We affirm the order of the juvenile court.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
family first came to the attention of the Iowa Department of
Human Services (DHS) in December 2015, when T.B. was six
months old. Charles was carrying the child and dropped him,
breaking one of his legs. An investigation concluded the harm
was accidental. In May 2016, DHS discovered the family was
homeless, and the parents agreed to a voluntary foster care
arrangement until they could obtain stable housing and jobs.
juvenile court adjudicated the children in need of assistance
(CINA) in August 2016 and placed them with a foster family.
See Iowa Code § 232.2(6)(g) (failure to
exercise a minimal degree of care in supplying the child with
adequate food, clothing, or shelter). To achieve
reunification, the court expected the parents to obtain
secure housing and jobs, and to participate in
services-including budgeting and parenting instruction. The
DHS also provided mental health services for the parents;
family safety, risk, and permanency services; visitation;
parent-child interactive therapy (PCIT) services; individual
therapy; psychiatric evaluations; and transportation
assistance. Following review hearings in October and December
2016, the court determined the children still could not be
returned to the parents.
April 2017, after the children had been out of the
parents' care for one year, the court held a permanency
hearing and concluded, "[I]t is reasonable to believe
that the need for continued removal will no longer exist at
the end of an additional three months." Then, in July
2017, the court gave the parents another three months to work
toward reunification. But by October, the court had
determined the children still could not be returned, and the
State filed a petition to terminate parental rights. After ...