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In re E.M.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 9, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF E.M., E.M., and J.M., Minor Children, E.M., Father, Appellant, J.M., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Buchanan County, Linnea M.N. Nicol, District Associate Judge.

         A father and mother each appeal a juvenile court order terminating their parental rights.

          R.J. Longmuir of Peters & Longmuir, PLC, Independence, for appellant father.

          A.J. Flickinger of Craig, Wilson & Flickinger, Independence, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Meredith L. Lamberti, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Tammy L. Banning of the Juvenile Public Defender's Office, Waterloo, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         A father and mother each appeal a juvenile court order terminating their parental rights. We find there is sufficient evidence in the record to support termination and termination is in the children's best interests. We affirm the juvenile court's decision.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         E.M., father, and J.M., mother, are the parents of three children, born in 2013, 2016, and 2017. The parents have a history of substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health issues, and criminal behavior. The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) most recently became involved with the family in February 2017 due to domestic violence and substance abuse.[1] On April 3, 2017, the juvenile court adjudicated the two oldest children to be in need of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n) (2017).

         The two older children were removed from the parents' care on May 15, 2017 and placed in foster care. At that time, the father was using methamphetamine and not participating in services; the mother was drinking alcohol and not taking medication for her mental health. Shortly thereafter, there was a warrant for the father's arrest and he absconded. The father was later arrested in August 2017. He was convicted of forgery, domestic abuse assault, and possession of controlled substances. He has been in prison during the remainder of the juvenile court proceedings regarding these children.

         The youngest child was born in November 2017 with methamphetamine in his system and was removed from the parents' care shortly after birth. The child was adjudicated CINA under section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n). The mother entered the Heart of Iowa substance abuse treatment program, and the youngest child was temporarily placed in her care from February to March 2018. The mother was asked to leave the program because she violated the rules, and the youngest child was again removed from her care. The mother was on probation for third-degree theft, and her probation was revoked as well.

         On April 26, 2018, the State filed a petition for termination of the parents' rights. At the time of the hearing, the father was in prison and stated he was not in a position to have the children returned to his care. The mother was in a ...


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