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In re T.S.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 12, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF T.S., Minor Child, J.S., Father, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Christine Dalton Ploof, District Associate Judge.

         A father appeals the juvenile court's termination of his parental rights.

          AFFIRMED. Randall L. McNaughton of Randall McNaughton Attorney at Law, Davenport, for appellant father.

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

          Patricia A. Rolfstad, Davenport, guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         A father appeals the juvenile court's termination of his parental rights. We find the record supports termination and it is in the child's best interests. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         J.S. is the father and A.K. is the mother of T.S., born in 2015.[1] The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) had been involved with the family before T.S.'s birth due to concerns regarding the mother's substance abuse, mental health, and lack of stable housing.[2] T.S. tested positive for marijuana at birth. S.F., A.K.'s child born in 2014 and still in the home, tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamine in March 2016. The parents did not comply with requested drug testing in May or June.

         On July 7, 2016, T.S. and S.F. were removed from the home after S.F. was adjudicated a child in need of assistance (CINA). The two were placed in foster care due to concerns relating to the mother's untreated mental-health and substance-abuse problems.[3] On August 19, the court adjudicated T.S. as a CINA pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n) (2016). In its adjudication order, the court noted the parents recently tested negative for controlled substances and stated it expected T.S. to return to the parents if they continued to test negative and the mother treated her mental-health needs.

         The parents made good progress, and the children were returned to the parents' custody on October 19. In February 2017, both children tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamine while in the parents' care.[4] They were removed on February 27, and placed in family foster care. The parents initially suggested the drugs causing the positive tests for the children in February were the result of residue in the apartment or a friend who stayed with them. T.S. has not returned to the father's care since removal.

         The father admits to a long history of prescription amphetamine use. In early March, the father tested positive for methamphetamine, and he admitted to several years of methamphetamine use to supplement his prescription drugs. Shortly after the positive test result, the father entered outpatient substance-abuse treatment and successfully completed it in early June. In the termination hearing, he denied an addiction to methamphetamine, while admitting to past use, and again blamed the apartment for the children's exposure.

         The court granted the parents an extension on September 26, as the parents were testing free of drugs, and the father had completed substance-abuse treatment and parenting programming, but specified further progress was necessary for reunification. At a permanency hearing on January 4, 2018, the court noted the lack of significant progress toward the court-ordered goals, including ...


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