IN THE INTEREST OF A.T., Minor Child, T.T., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Mary L.
Timko, Associate Juvenile Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.
W. Kertels, Juvenile Law Center, Sioux City, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Timothy A. Scherle, Sioux City, guardian ad litem for minor
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. We
find there is substantial evidence in the record to support
termination of the mother's parental rights. We conclude
termination of the mother's parental rights is in the
child's best interests. We affirm the decision of the
Background Facts & Proceedings
mother, and J.H., father, are the parents of A.T., who was
born in 2016. T.T. has a long history of substance abuse
and mental health problems. Her parental rights to two older
children were terminated in 2014. The State filed a petition
alleging A.T. was a child in need of assistance (CINA) on
July 27, 2016, due to concerns about the mother's lack of
parenting skills and mental health issues. The juvenile court
adjudicated A.T. to be in need of assistance pursuant to Iowa
Code section 232.2(6)(a) (father), and (c)(2) and (n)
psychological evaluation, T.T was diagnosed with
schizophrenia, paranoid type. Dr. Angela Stokes found the
mother "lacks competency to care for herself or her
infant independently" and was "not able to separate
reality from fantasy and her thought processes are
contaminated with paranoid delusions and
hallucinations." Based on the evaluation, the State
filed a motion seeking to remove the child from the
mother's care. The child was removed on May 19, 2017, and
placed in foster care.
mother was not consistent in taking medication needed for her
mental health problems. When a social worker told the mother
not to give the child a certain item of food because he could
choke, the mother said the child "can't choke
because he believes in God." She disassembled the
child's crib because "it has the devil carved in
it." The mother believed people were contaminating her
apartment with bacteria and hacking into her computer. She
did not believe there was anything wrong with her mental
January 4, 2018, the State filed a petition seeking
termination of the parents' rights. Evidence presented
during the termination hearing showed the mother was sporadic
in attending therapy and was not consistently taking
medication. The mother testified she was doing better. She
stated, "[R]ight now I am not experiencing any
schizophrenia and that's the truth and that's easy
because it's so easy because all you have to do is stay
active in your life."
juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights
under section 232.116(1)(g) and (h) (2018). The court found
the mother's testimony disheartening. The court found her
testimony differed from the facts as documented and it was
not clear if she was not telling the truth or if she was
unable to know the accuracy of her statements due to her
mental health diagnosis. The court concluded it was in the