IN THE INTEREST OF A.C., G.W., and E.G., Minor Children, L.W.-M., Mother, Appellant, G.C., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Jefferson County, William
Owens, Associate Juvenile Judge.
mother and father appeal the termination of their parental
Baird Krafka of Krafka Law Office, Ottumwa, for appellant
mother. Shawn C. McCullough of Powell & McCullough, PLC,
Coralville, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Meredith L. Lamberti,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
E.M. Lujan of Lloyd, McConnell, Davis & Lujan, L.L.P.,
Washington, guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
mother and father separately appeal a juvenile court order
terminating their parental rights to their children A.C.,
G.W., and E.C. The mother claims the court abused its
discretion by denying the mother's motion to continue the
termination hearing and her motion to suspend the
proceedings. The mother and father both claim the juvenile
court should have granted them an additional six months to
work toward reunification and termination is not in the
children's best interests. We find the court did not
abuse its discretion, a six-month extension is not warranted,
and termination is in the children's best interests.
Background Facts & Proceedings
and L.W. are the parents to three children: A.C., born in
2013; G.W., born in 2015, and E.C., born in 2016. E.C. also
has a legal father, D.M.
family initially came to the attention of the Iowa Department
of Human Services (DHS) in July 2017, following a report they
allowed a registered sex offender to have unsupervised
contact with the children. An investigation revealed the
report was no longer a concern, but the DHS worker discovered
the home's condition was not safe for the children. The
home did not have running water or working plumbing, the
kitchen sink was full of old and moldy food, a large pile of
garbage was on the kitchen floor, and feces were ground into
the floors and carpets. Containers of chemicals and sharp
tools were found mixed in with the children's toys on the
front porch of the home. The children were permitted to stay
in the home conditioned on the parents completing a list of
repairs to make the home safe. The DHS worker also became
concerned the parents were using illegal drugs, and the
parents admitted to marijuana use but denied using while
caring for the children. Neither parent participated in drug
September, DHS received a report the mother had been arrested
for theft and possession of methamphetamine and the father
was using methamphetamine. DHS discovered the father and the
children had moved in with the father's mother. On
September 28, the children were removed from the parents'
care and placed with their paternal grandmother.
December 6, the court adjudicated all three children in need
of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section
232.2(6)(c)(2) (2017). DHS also discovered pending
domestic-abuse charges against the mother, and the mother
confirmed domestic violence between the parents while
claiming the children had not witnessed any altercations. The
parents were evicted from their home in December. On December
19, the children were moved to the home of a maternal aunt
due to concerns over the grandmother's ability to care
for the children.
a January 2018 dispositional hearing, the children were
placed in three separate homes: A.C. with the grandmother,
E.C. with the aunt, and G.W. with a third relative. E.C. was
moved back to the grandmother's home with A.C. in April.