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In re S.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 20, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF S.C., Minor Child, M.S., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Mark F. Schlenker, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals the juvenile court decision terminating her parental rights.

          Nancy L. Pietz of Pietz Law Office, Des Moines, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          M. Kathryn Miller of Juvenile Public Defender Office, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          BOWER, Judge.

         A mother appeals the juvenile court order terminating her parental rights. We find there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination, termination is in the child's best interests, and no exceptions to termination apply. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         M.S., mother, and C.C., father, are the parents of a child, S.C., born in 2016. The State removed the child from the parents' care on March 31, 2017, due to the incarceration of the father and the mother's substance abuse. The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) immediately placed S.C. with the maternal grandmother, in whose home S.C. had been living.

         In April the mother walked away from an in-patient substance-abuse treatment program, violating her probation for a prior criminal conviction.

         The child was adjudicated to be in need of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n) (2016) in May. The court entered a dispositional order on June 28, confirming the CINA determination and ordering substance-abuse and mental-health evaluations of both parents. The parents continued to have visitation with the child within the discretion of the DHS, supervised by the grandmother.

         The mother received additional criminal citations during the pendency of the present action, including criminal trespass at the grandmother's home and probation violations. Throughout the spring and summer, the mother was in and out of jail and treatment programs. Each time M.S. left treatment, she relapsed within a week.

         On September 3, the court granted the parents a six-month permanency extension to prove their ability to care for the child. The court's order indicated the parents needed to remain sober, participate in ...


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