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In re J.B.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 12, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF J.B., Minor Child, BARBARA E. MANESS, guardian ad litem, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Phillip J. Tabor, District Associate Judge.

         The guardian ad litem for J.B., joined by the State, appeals both the district court order dismissing the State's petition to terminate parental rights and the permanency order continuing reunification efforts with the mother.

          Barbara E. Maness, Davenport, appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Neill A. Kroeger, LeClaire, for appellee mother.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ. Tabor, J. takes no part.

          POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         The guardian ad litem (GAL) for J.B. and the State appeal the district court's April 2018 permanency order continuing reunification efforts and the court's dismissal order finding the State failed to prove the grounds for the termination-of-parental-rights petition as to the mother.[1] On appeal, the GAL argues the State proved the grounds for termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d), (e), (h), (i), or (l) (2018) and termination is in the best interests of the child.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) was first involved with J.B. in March 2015 when his umbilical cord tested positive for marijuana at birth. A founded child-abuse assessment was completed at that time. The child remained in his mother's care.

         In September 2016, DHS was alerted to concerns the mother was using heroin. The mother tested positive for benzodiazepines, methadone, and THC in a urine analysis. Both the mother and J.B. tested positive for marijuana in a hair-stat test. J.B. was placed with his maternal grandfather. The mother entered a residential treatment facility for substance abuse in October. J.B. was returned to the mother's care at the treatment facility in December. In February 2017, the mother tested positive for marijuana use. In April, the mother tested positive for marijuana use again.

         In May, while still living in the residential treatment facility, the mother admitted to picking up J.B. from daycare after using inhalants to get high. J.B. was removed from her care and again placed with his maternal grandfather. On the day of the transition from the mother's care to the grandfather's, J.B. was diagnosed with an ear infection and was prescribed antibiotics. The mother failed to tell DHS or the grandfather about J.B.'s diagnosis or prescription for five days. That month, the treatment facility discharged her from the program and recommended another program for her. The mother did not follow through on the recommendation.

         J.B. was adjudicated a child in need of assistance (CINA) in July. From May to August, the mother did not participate in any substance-abuse treatment and failed to consistently comply with drug testing. The mother was admitted to a substance-abuse treatment program in August. She tested positive for marijuana use on August 11, September 14, and September 27.

         The mother has frequently missed visits with J.B. or failed to comply with procedures confirming her visits. She missed visitation four times in May, twice in June, once in July, three times in August, once in October, and twice in November. The mother was homeless after her release from the residential treatment facility in ...


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