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In re K.G.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 20, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF K.G. and H.S., Minor Children, S.B., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wapello County, William Owens, Associate Juvenile Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.

          William C. Glass, Keosauqua, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Mary Baird Krafka of Krafka Law Office, Ottumwa, guardian ad litem for minor children.

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

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         A mother appeals the juvenile court's termination of her parental rights. She claims the State failed to show the need for removal would no longer exist after six months and failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence termination is in the children's best interests. We affirm the juvenile court's order.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         S.B. is the mother of two children; K.G., whose natural father is G.J. and legal parent is S.B.'s wife Ka.G., was born in 2012; and H.S., whose natural father is T.S., was born in 2014.

         On August 23, 2016, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) was alerted the mother was using methamphetamine while caring for the children. The mother and children were living with T.S. and his wife, who were also using methamphetamine. The children were placed with a friend of the family under a safety plan; K.G. moved to T.S.'s mother's care in September.[1] On October 4, the court adjudicated the children in need of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n) (2016). K.G. was placed with T.S.'s mother; H.S. was placed with the family friend, then transferred to the paternal grandmother's care on November 9.

         In November, the mother entered a residential substance-abuse treatment program, briefly leaving and returning after a conflict with staff, and ultimately leaving the program voluntarily without completing her treatment. The mother failed to appear at most court hearings and generally did not attend visitation with the children. The mother provided no way for DHS to contact her and several times her whereabouts were unknown. She did not participate in substance-abuse or mental-health treatment or any other services offered. The mother attended visitation with the children only a handful of times between August 2016 and April 2018 and did not call to talk to the children. The mother was arrested multiple times and was in and out of jail between April 2017 and April 2018 for drug possession, vehicle offenses, theft, and forgery. In May 2018, she entered a substance-abuse residential treatment program, but voluntarily left before completing treatment in early June. The mother had three visitations with the children in May and June. The mother testified to being in an outpatient treatment program at the time of trial and having prescriptions for depression and anxiety.

         The court held the termination hearing on June 26. The court heard testimony from the social worker, the family services provider, and the mother. The mother testified she had been clean from illegal substances for over two months at the time of the hearing. The same day, the court terminated the mother's rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e) and (f) (2018) as to K.G. and section 232.116(e) and (h) as to H.S.[2]

         II. ...


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