IN THE INTEREST OF A.K., Minor Child, J.T., Mother, Appellant, J.K., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Clayton County, Linnea M.N.
Nicol, District Associate Judge.
mother and father separately appeal the termination of their
parental rights to their now two-year-old daughter.
J. Sullivan of Sullivan Law Office, P.C., Oelwein, for
R. Gonzales, Strawberry Point, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Kimberly S. Lange of Kimberly S. Lange Law Office, Edgewood,
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
juvenile court granted the State's petition to terminate
the parental rights of Jennifer and John to their younger
daughter, A.K, but dismissed the petition to terminate their
rights to their older daughter, P.K. Jennifer and John both
appeal, seeking to preserve their relationship with now
two-year-old A.K. Each raise the same two claims: (1) the
State failed to offer clear-and-convincing proof A.K. could
not be returned home, and (2) termination was not in
A.K.'s best interest because of the closeness of the
parent-child relationship. After our independent review of
the record, we reach the same conclusion as the juvenile
court. The parents did not show adequate progress
in supervised visitation or random drug testing to ensure
A.K. could be safely returned to their care. In addition,
A.K.'s bond with her parents was not a reason to forego
termination. Accordingly, we affirm the termination order.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
was born in January 2017. Five months later, her family came
to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services
(DHS) when allegations Jennifer and John were using
methamphetamine in the presence of A.K. and P.K. surfaced. As
a result of the exposure, A.K. tested positive for the drug
in her system. The DHS also learned John struck Jennifer in
the presence of the children. The State charged John with
domestic abuse assault, and the criminal court imposed a
no-contact order. In June 2017, the juvenile court approved
removal of the children from their home. They were placed in
family foster care. The juvenile court adjudicated A.K. and
P.K. as children in need of assistance (CINA) in July 2017.
being told it was an expectation of the DHS case permanency
plan, neither parent obtained substance-abuse or
mental-health evaluations before the October 2017
dispositional hearing. John completed a dual substance abuse
evaluation in February 2018; Jennifer finished the
assessments in March 2018. Neither parent complied with
random drug testing. And both parents missed numerous
scheduled interactions with their children. By the March
review hearing, both Jennifer and John faced criminal
charges. The State charged them with felony possession of
stolen property and accused John of selling methamphetamine
to an undercover police officer. In late March, the State
filed its petition to terminate parental rights.
juvenile court held a joint hearing on contested permanency
and termination of parental rights in late July 2018. The DHS
social worker and Families First service provider both
testified for the State. The court also heard from Jennifer
and John, who resisted termination. In early November, the
court issued its order terminating the parents' legal
relationship with A.K. under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h)