IN THE INTEREST OF J.K., Minor Child, M.K., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Christine
Dalton Ploof, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her
Timothy J. Tupper of Tupper Law Firm, Davenport, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State
Cynthia Taylor of Zamora, Taylor, Woods & Frederick,
Davenport, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vogel, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Carr, S.J.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to
J.K., born in March 2017. She argues the State failed to
prove by clear and convincing evidence that grounds for
termination exist under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h)
(2018) and termination is not in the best interests of the
child. Because the mother cannot sustain sobriety, we find
grounds for termination exist and termination is in the best
interests of the child.
Background Facts and Proceedings
Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) became involved with
this family in March 2017, when the mother gave birth to J.K.
while incarcerated. Three days after his birth, J.K. was
placed in foster care, where he has remained. The mother has
a history of substance abuse, and her parental rights for two
other children were terminated in 2015 due in part to drug
use. After her release from prison in May 2017, the mother
maintained sobriety for less than six months. In October, the
mother relapsed and tested positive for cocaine. Throughout
the next year, the mother failed to remain sober.
State filed a petition to terminate parental rights in May
2018. In June, a hair-stat test was positive for
methamphetamine and cocaine, and a urinalysis was positive
for cocaine metabolites, amphetamines, and marijuana
metabolites. In August, the mother's urinalysis was
positive for cocaine metabolites. On November 28, the
district court found the State had proved by clear and
convincing evidence the grounds for termination under Iowa
Code section 232.116(1)(d), (g), and (h). The mother appeals.
Standard of Review
review of termination-of-parental-rights proceedings is de
novo. In re P.L., 778 N.W.2d 33, 40 (Iowa 2010).
"We will uphold an order terminating parental rights if
there is clear and convincing evidence of grounds for
termination under Iowa Code section 232.116." In re
D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 706 (Iowa 2010). "'Clear
and convincing evidence' means there are no serious or
substantial doubts as to the correctness [of] conclusions of
law drawn from the evidence." In re C.B., 611
N.W.2d 489, 492 (Iowa 2002).