IN THE INTEREST OF A.S., T.S., and K.R., Minor Children, A.R., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E.
Seymour, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the juvenile court's termination of her
J. Lockwood of Hartung & Schroeder, LLP, Des Moines, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Garbis Nolan of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, guardian ad
litem for minor children.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. We
find termination is in the children's best interests. We
affirm the decision of the juvenile court.
Background Facts & Proceedings
the mother of A.S., born in 2007; T.S., born in 2009; and
K.R., born in 2014. R.S. is the father of A.S. and T.S. D.R.
is the father of K.R.
2016, the mother began using controlled substances in the
home, following several years of sobriety. On September 30,
2016, the mother took the oldest child to a house which had
just been subject to a police search yielding significant
quantities of controlled substances. The mother was searched
on the scene and found to be in possession of controlled
substances. Law enforcement arrested the mother and contacted
the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS), which took
custody of A.S. An order for temporary removal was requested
and granted for all three children. The children were placed
with a maternal aunt and uncle. The court ordered drug
screens of the children, and K.R. tested positive for the
presence of illegal drugs.
November 28, the court adjudicated the children as in need of
assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section
232.2(6)(c)(2), (n), and (o) (2016), and ordered supervised
visitation and Family Safety, Risk, and Permanency (FSRP)
services. In late December, the children were moved from
their maternal aunt and uncle's home to their maternal
grandfather's home. At a January 2017 disposition
hearing, the court found the children's caretakers were
not following the court's orders, including therapy for
the children, and modified their placements. A.S. and T.S.
were placed with a foster family, and K.R. was placed with
the paternal grandmother. All three children began therapy.
October 2016 and October 2017, the mother entered eight
different treatment programs. The mother successfully
completed two intensive treatment programs, but failed to
complete aftercare. The mother requested a transfer of the
CINA case to the recovery court program in February 2017, but
was unsuccessfully discharged for missing drug screens and
being non-compliant. The mother was inconsistent in her
interactions with the children prior to a treatment program
she began in October 2017. She struggled to reach her
visitations on time, and sometimes did not appear. Prior to
her last inpatient treatment program, the mother's
periodic drug tests sometimes came up positive, sometimes
negative, but were almost all provided days after the request
from DHS or her treatment programs.
was released from prison at the beginning of October 2016. He
demonstrated progress in addressing his substance-abuse
issues in late 2016 and early 2017. Beginning in spring 2017,
DHS allowed R.S. extended and unsupervised visits with A.S.
and T.S. By September, the children were allowed to stay
overnight with their father, and the mother would visit them
at the father's home. In September, the father requested
a modification of placement to move the children to his care.
At his next drug ...