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In re R.E.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 1, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF R.E., Minor Child, A.E., Father, Appellant, A.A., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Kevin A. Parker, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights.

          Magdalena B. Reese of Cooper, Goedicke, Reimer, & Reese, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellant father.

          Blake D. Lubinus of Lubinus Law Firm, P.L.L.C., 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, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Tabor, JJ.

          VOGEL, JUDGE

         A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         The family came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in August 2017 after R.E. was born in Mason City and tested positive for the presence of amphetamines and methamphetamine in his system. The mother, A.A., also tested positive for amphetamines. An ex-parte removal order was granted on August 7, 2017, due to further concerns of substance abuse, a history of DHS involvement, [1] and concerns the mother and father would flee Iowa. After giving birth, the mother indicated she had previously lived in Iowa, but she and the father, A.E., had moved to Missouri and they were travelling to Minnesota when she went into labor. After R.E.'s removal, he was placed in family foster care where he remained throughout these proceedings.

         On September 13, 2017, R.E. was adjudicated a child in need of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa code section 232.2(6)(c)(2), (n), and (o) (2017). Following the CINA adjudication, the mother did not make herself available to the DHS for services. She attended court hearings but did not contact the DHS for other services, including to set up visitations. In addition, following the adjudication, she was arrested twice. As to the father, the DHS attempted to collect a DNA sample pursuant to an October 23, 2017 court order to establish paternity when he was incarcerated; however, the father was released from jail on bond and did not provide a sample.[2] The father has also not made himself available for services, including substance-abuse and mental-health evaluations, and the father has not set up or attended visitations and has not attended court hearings.

         The State petitioned to terminate the parental rights of the mother and father on January 12, 2018. A contested hearing was held on February 27, 2018, after which the district court terminated the parents' parental rights ...


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