IN THE INTEREST OF K.R. and K.R., Minor Children, K.R., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Christine
Dalton Ploof, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals from termination of her parental rights to two
Barbara E. Maness, Davenport, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Rebecca Sharpe of Aitken, Aitken & Sharpe, P.C.,
Bettendorf, guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor,
is the mother of K-e.R. and K-n.R, aged five and
three. She challenges the order terminating her
parental rights. She argues the State failed to offer
sufficient proof the children could not be returned home; the
Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) did not make
reasonable efforts to reunite the family; and termination was
not in the children's best interests. On our de novo
review of the record, we affirm.
removed K-e.R. and K-n.R. from their mother's custody in
June 2017 when Kendall and her paramour were charged with
possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.
They had cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia
in their home within easy reach of the children. K-e.R.
tested positive for cocaine and tetrahydrocannabinol; the
concentration of cocaine was so high, it is likely he
ingested it. K-n.R. could not be tested because his hair was
too short. Kendall admitted smoking marijuana around the
children. She was convicted of felony child endangerment. The
DHS returned a founded child abuse assessment against Kendall
for both denial of critical care and presence of illegal
drugs in a child's body. The DHS placed the children with
Kendall's sister, Angela, where they have remained
throughout the case.
her release from jail, Kendall moved to Chicago and lost
contact with the DHS. In its adjudicatory order, the court
ordered the mother to establish a stable, drug-free home for
the children; participate in drug testing; and apply for
entry to Family Wellness Court. Although she made occasional
telephone contact with DHS workers, Kendall said she did not
intend to return from Chicago. She also occasionally saw the
children with Angela's encouragement, but contact was
irregular and infrequent. Kendall moved frequently and did
not keep in touch with DHS or take steps to participate in
supervised visitation or ordered services. At the time of the
termination hearing, the DHS did not know her whereabouts or
court terminated Kendall's parental rights under Iowa
Code section 232.116(1), paragraphs (b),  (d),
(2017). On appeal, Kendall advances three arguments. First,
she contends the State did not offer sufficient proof the
children could not be returned safely to her home. Kendall
appears to contest the grounds for termination under
paragraphs (f) or (h) of section 232.116(1), both of which
require such proof. But Kendall's parental rights were
terminated under the elements set out in paragraphs (b), (d),
and (e)-none of which require proof the children could not be
returned safely to her home. Because she does not dispute the
existence of grounds for termination under paragraphs (b),
(d), and (e), we need not discuss them. See In re
P.L., 778 N.W.2d 33, 40 (Iowa 2010). Moreover, she has
waived any challenge to the sufficiency of those grounds, and
we affirm the juvenile court's findings. Iowa R. App. P.
6.903(2)(g)(3); see Hyler v. Garner, 548 N.W.2d 864,
870 (Iowa 1996) ("[O]ur review is confined to those
propositions relied upon by the appellant for reversal on
Kendall contends the DHS did not make reasonable efforts to
reunify her family but does not specify what additional
efforts she requested before the termination hearing or any
she might request now. Kendall told her attorney she didn't
take action to reconnect with her children because she had
been informed by her sister, Angela, that she already lost
her parental rights, which Angela denied. The juvenile court
found Angela more credible, and the record is replete with
evidence Kendall chose not to cooperate with DHS or
participate in services throughout this case for her own
reasons, despite reasonable efforts by DHS.
Kendall contends termination is not in the children's
best interests because of the parent-child bond. Kendall
claims even if she "may have some shortcomings,"
the State did not present evidence to suggest she would
subject the children to harm. And she asserts the State has
not shown she is unable to meet their needs. We disagree with
did not participate in services or otherwise demonstrate to
the DHS or the juvenile court that she is capable of
parenting these young children. The children are doing well
in their aunt's care. K-n.R. has behavioral and
developmental delays, but a provider noted Angela appears
"able to give him the special attention and skill
building he needs." Angela and her husband are willing
to adopt the children. Giving "primary
consideration" to the children's safety; to the best
placement for their long-tern nurturing and growth; and to
their physical, mental, and emotional condition and needs; we
conclude their best interests are served by termination of
Kendall's parental rights. Iowa Code § 232.116(2).
Finally, there is no demonstrable bond between Kendall and
the children; she has never participated in supervised
visitation, and her informal interactions have been sporadic.
See id. § 232.116(3)(c). The juvenile court