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In re M.H.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 6, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF M.H., Minor Child, M.M., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E. Seymour, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals the juvenile court order terminating her parental rights.

          Mark D. Reed of Marberry Law Firm, P.C., Urbandale, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Karl Wolle, Juvenile Public Defender's Office, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Bower, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]

          SCOTT, SENIOR JUDGE.

         A mother appeals the juvenile court order terminating her parental rights. We find there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of the mother's parental rights, termination is in the child's best interests, and no exceptions apply. We affirm the juvenile court's decision.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         M.M., mother, and W.H., father, are the parents of M.H., born in 2016. The child tested positive for marijuana at birth, and the family voluntarily engaged in services for a period of time. New concerns arose in June 2017, and the family again became involved with the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). The child was removed from the parents' care on December 19, 2017, due to the parents' problems involving substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental health. The child was placed in foster care. At the time of removal, a hair test of the child was positive for methamphetamine and marijuana.

         A protective order was entered on January 5, 2018, prohibiting the parents from having contact with each other. On January 18, the child was adjudicated to be in need of assistance (CINA), pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2), (n), and (o) (2017). The mother was inconsistent in attending visitation with the child. The parents did not participate in services, and in a permanency order, filed on June 26, the juvenile court directed the State to file a petition to terminate the parents' rights.

         A petition to terminate the parents' rights was filed on July 16. On August 2, the mother entered a substance-abuse treatment program. The termination hearing was held on August 23. The mother testified she had been sober for twenty-two days. She was also participating in parenting classes. The mother stated she had still been violating the no-contact order in July.

         The juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights under section 232.116(1)(e) and (h) (2018).[1] The court found termination was in the child's best interests. The court stated, "Mother has recently engaged in substance abuse treatment but had not demonstrated an ability to maintain her sobriety in the community." Also, "[t]he parents' lack of participation in services show an inability or unwillingness to make necessary changes to have the child placed in their care." The mother now appeals the juvenile court's order.

         II. ...


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