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In re D.M.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 19, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF D.M., Minor Child,
v.
V.R., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F. Staudt, Judge.

         The mother appeals from the juvenile court ruling terminating her parental rights to her child. AFFIRMED.

          Stephanie A. Sailer of Sailer Law, PLLC, Cedar Falls, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Melissa A. Anderson-Seeber of Juvenile Public Defender's Office, Waterloo, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Doyle, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, JUDGE.

         The juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights to D.M.-born in October 2016-pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(g) and (h) (2018).[1] On appeal, the mother maintains there is not clear and convincing evidence to support the statutory grounds for termination and termination of her parental rights is not in D.M.'s best interests.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The mother has a history of involvement with the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS); her parental rights to another child were terminated in November 2015 pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2015). In granting the State's petition to terminate the mother's rights to that child, the court found:

[The mother] has never fully engaged in services or complied with the court's expectations. [She] has sporadically participated in the child's life. . . . [The mother] has been observed to become extremely angry while unprovoked, lashing out at those around her, including the child. . . . [The mother] admits [she has] unmet mental health needs; however, she has failed to attend numerous appointments for medication management and counseling. [She] has no showed so many times that the mental health center where she . . . attends will no longer schedule her.

         The court also noted the mother's failure to actively engage in family safety, risk, and permanency services; her tendency to use her time with providers to blame them for her situation; her sporadic attendance at visits with the child; and her lack of follow through regarding a parenting class she was expected to complete.

         D.M. was born in October 2016. He was the subject of two child-in-need-of-assistance assessments before he was formally removed from the mother's care in July 2017. D.M. was removed after the man the mother then believed to be D.M.'s father was arrested while D.M. was in his care. The mother did not immediately resume care of D.M.; according to the temporary removal order, she "failed to pick up [D.M.] when contacted by the Clayton County Sheriff and telling them she would be there. [The mother] never left Cedar Rapids to pick up [D.M.] in MacGregor."

         After D.M.'s removal, DHS expressed concerns about the mother's limited parenting skills; unmet mental-health needs; inability to maintain a stable, ...


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