IN THE INTEREST OF A.M., Minor Child, L.F., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E.
Seymour, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her
one-year-old daughter. AFFIRMED.
M. Keller, Altoona, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and John McCormally, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Mayfield of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, guardian ad litem
for minor child.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
mother, Lacey, challenges the juvenile court's order
terminating her parental relationship with one-year-old A.M.
Lacey contends she has progressed with her mental-health
treatment, housing stability, and domestic-violence
counseling since the termination of her parental rights to
two older children. In her words, she doesn't have
"the drama-filled life" now at age twenty-six that
she had at nineteen. Given that progress, she believes she
can resume care of A.M. Lacey also argues termination is not
in A.M.'s best interests.
independently reviewing A.M.'s case, we find clear and
convincing evidence to support the termination of Lacey's
rights. Lacey's history of not complying with
medication management-which is critical to maintaining her
mental health-presents an ongoing risk to A.M. if returned to
Lacey's custody. Accordingly, the State satisfied the
elements for termination under Iowa Code section
232.116(1)(h) (2018). As for A.M.'s best interests, we
find termination of parental rights and the possibility of
adoption by her foster parents ensures her safety and
stability, as well as her prospect for healthy development,
for the short-term and into the future. See Iowa
Code § 232.116(2) (2017).
Facts and Prior Proceedings
has been involved with the Iowa department of human services
(DHS) for seven years. In 2011, the juvenile court removed
her oldest child, Z.F., because of Lacey's struggle with
substance abuse and mental-health issues. The record from
that case revealed Lacey, who stopped taking her prescribed
medication, threatened to harm herself and Z.F., who was only
three weeks old.The court terminated Lacey's parental
relationship with Z.F. in 2012.
similar pattern emerged with Lacey's second child, B.C.,
who was born in 2014. The juvenile court adjudicated B.C. as
a CINA in December 2016 because the mother had been using
illegal drugs while caring for the child. Lacey acknowledged
that she struggled to take her medications as prescribed
during the pendency of B.C.'s CINA case. Lacey also
endured domestic violence from B.C.'s father. Still,
Lacey initially made strides toward reunifying with B.C.
Lacey completed two substance-abuse programs. In June 2017,
the juvenile court delayed permanency for an additional six
then did the DHS caseworker learn that Lacey was pregnant and
expecting A.M. in August. The caseworker expressed concern
A.M.'s father, Kevin, who was previously incarcerated for
assault, was also violent toward Lacey. B.C. reported Kevin
hit her mother "in the tummy." In January 2018, the
juvenile court terminated parental rights to B.C. based on
persistent concerns about Lacey's mental health, her
dishonesty with the service providers, and the potential for
domestic violence in her home.
was born in August 2017. Within days of her birth, the
juvenile court approved A.M.'s removal from Lacey's