IN THE INTEREST OF J.M., Minor Child, D.L., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Romonda
Belcher, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the juvenile court's termination of her
parental rights. AFFIRMED.
M. Pope of Branstad Law, Des Moines, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Kimberly Graham of Graham Collaborative Law, Indianola,
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
mother appeals the juvenile court order terminating her
parental rights. We find an extension to work toward
reunification is not warranted, the evidence supports
termination, termination is in the child's best
interests, and no exceptions apply. We affirm the juvenile
Background Facts & Proceedings
mother to J.M., born in 2015. The mother has struggled with
methamphetamine addiction since 2008, which led to a prior
termination of parental rights. J.M. tested positive for
methamphetamine and amphetamine at birth. The mother was
enrolled in substance-abuse treatment at the time. On
September 15, 2016, the mother tested positive for and
admitted recent methamphetamine use to her parole officer.
The child tested positive to methamphetamine exposure and the
mother consented to a temporary removal, which the court
ordered September 20. The mother also admitted to having
mental-health issues, including post-partum depression,
severe depression, and anxiety.
December 2, the court adjudicated J.M. as a child in need of
assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)
(2016). The child was placed with a maternal cousin and
great-grandmother. The mother participated in recovery court,
outpatient substance-abuse treatment, and mental-health
services. She was employed and had stable housing.
February 2017, the mother entered an inpatient treatment
program. She participated in mental-health therapy on a
weekly basis. For several months she appeared to be doing
well with her sobriety and gradually received extended
visitation and overnights with the child. In June, the mother
tested positive for methamphetamine, was discharged from her
inpatient treatment, and the Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) returned her to supervised visitation with the
child. She began a new outpatient treatment program, and
occasionally participated in recovery court.
permanency hearing in October 2017, the mother had completed
a new substance-abuse evaluation and was on a wait list for a
new inpatient program. The mother had been discharged from
her mental-health treatment due to her failure to
participate, and she reported methamphetamine use in early
October. The court ordered the State to file a petition to
terminate parental rights, which was filed December 7.
mother successfully completed inpatient treatment from
November to March 16, 2018. She had overnight visits with the
child by the end of treatment. She then participated in
outpatient substance-abuse treatment and graduated on May 8,
attended recovery meetings, and engaged in recovery court
programming. A family team meeting discussed a timeline for a
trial home visit and a return of the child to the
mother's custody. Meanwhile, in late April and again in
May, the mother tested positive for methamphetamine-while
actively participating in recovery programs and knowing the