IN THE INTEREST OF C.B., Minor Child, S.B., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Poweshiek County, Rose Anne
Mefford, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the district court order terminating her
parental rights. AFFIRMED.
White, Sigourney, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Meredith L. Lamberti,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Stiefel, Victor, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Doyle, JJ.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to
C.B., born July 2017, and the district court order of the
same date changing the permanency goal to adoption or other
permanent placement. The mother's parental rights were
terminated pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(b), (e),
(g), and (h) (2018). The mother does not challenge the
grounds for termination. On appeal, the mother argues the
district court improperly denied her motion for recusal and
the State failed to make reasonable efforts at reunification.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) in September 2017. After C.B.'s birth in
July, the mother and C.B. resided with the child's
maternal grandmother in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma equivalent of
child services found the grandmother was not an appropriate
caretaker for the child, and the grandmother transferred the
child to his maternal great-grandmother residing in Iowa. The
maternal great-grandmother and the great-grandmother's
paramour, a person who was a perpetrator of sexual abuse on
the mother when the mother was a child, took care of the
child until DHS became involved.
was adjudicated a child in need of assistance (CINA) in
October and was placed with his paternal grandmother, who
also has custody of the mother's two older children. The
mother's husband was incarcerated in Jasper County, Iowa
and later consented to termination of his parental rights.
mother has had two visits with C.B.; the second visit ended
after fifteen minutes when the mother was arrested. After the
mother was released from jail in January 2018, DHS and family
safety, risk, and permanency (FSRP) workers attempted to set
up additional visits. The mother refused to attend visits at
the FSRP office or visits occurring in Indianola. The mother
often did not communicate with providers in order to set up
visits. At the termination hearing, the DHS worker testified
she estimated the mother had spent four hours with the child
since he was released from the hospital after his birth in
2017. The child has not resided with the mother besides a
brief period after birth.
offered the following services: case management; FSRP
services; sibling placement; family team meeting referral;
paternity testing; supervised visitations; the offer of
psychological, substance-abuse, and mental-health
evaluations; and the offer of parenting classes. The mother
has not complied with the district court's
recommendations for reunification. The mother has not
obtained a substance-abuse, mental-health, or psychological
evaluation. The mother has not cooperated with paternity
testing, drug testing, FSRP services, signing
release-of-information forms, or attending parenting classes
or parenting-skill sessions. At one point, the mother stated
a desire to voluntarily terminate her parental rights and
refused any contact with or services through DHS.
the mother made a motion for a change of venue or new trial
judge, arguing the judge presiding over the termination case
had recently presided over the mother's criminal case and
had prejudicial ...