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In re N.Y.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 12, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF N.Y. and F.Y., Minor Children, B.Y., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jones County, Deborah F. Minot, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals the juvenile court decision terminating her parental rights.

          Kristin L. Denniger, Cedar Rapids, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Andrew R. Wiezorek of Jacobsen, Johnson & Wiezorek, PLC, Cedar Rapids, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         A mother appeals the juvenile court decision terminating her parental rights. We find there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of the mother's parental rights, termination of her rights is in the children's best interests, and the mother has not met her burden to establish an exception to termination should be applied. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         B.Y., mother, and F.Y., father, are the parents of N.Y., born in 2015, and F.Y., born in 2017. The family came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) due to extensive domestic violence in the home. On April 28, 2017, N.Y. was adjudicated to be a child in need of assistance (CINA), pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) (2017). The juvenile court also entered an order prohibiting the father from having contact with the child.[1]

         N.Y. was removed from the parents' care on May 31, based on the court's finding, "removal of the child from the home is necessary to avoid imminent danger to the child's life or health, due to the child's mother having contact with the father and allowing the father to have contact with the child in violation of no contact orders." N.Y. was placed with the maternal grandfather.

         In July and August, while she was pregnant with F.Y., the mother tested positive for methamphetamine. After F.Y. was born, a no-contact order was entered prohibiting the father from having contact with the child. F.Y. was adjudicated CINA on January 19, 2018. F.Y. remained in the mother's care.

         The mother made progress with services and on February 26, the juvenile court permitted her to have a trial home placement with N.Y. where he was living with the maternal grandfather. Within a few days, however, the mother and father surreptitiously left the state with the children. They were picked up in Kansas by law enforcement officials. The mother told officers she willingly left with the father. The children were removed from the parents' care, and placed in sequestered foster care. The parents' visitation was suspended. Both parents were found to be in contempt of the no-contact orders and were sent to jail. Additionally, both parents were charged with child endangerment.[2]

         On April 10, the State filed a petition to terminate the parents' rights. At the termination hearing, the mother and father testified they had been in violation of the no-contact orders throughout most of the CINA case. The mother also testified she told social workers she had been complying with services for domestic abuse and therapy, but did not actually attend those services. The mother was in jail at the time of the hearing and ...


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