from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Barbara H.
Liesveld, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.
Jennings Hoover of Hoover Law Office, P.C., Cedar Rapids, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
F. Trachta of Linn County Advocate, Inc., Cedar Rapids,
attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Tabor, J., and Danilson,
DANILSON, SENIOR JUDGE.
mother appeals the order terminating her parental rights
pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2018). The
mother concedes the first three subsections have been
established because the child is three years old or younger,
has been adjudicated a child in need of assistance (CINA),
and has been out of the parent's custody for at least six
consecutive months. See Iowa Code §
232.116(1)(h)(1)-(3). She argues, however, the State has
failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence the child
cannot be returned to her custody at the present time or
within a reasonable extension of time. See id.
§ 232.116(1)(h)(4). She contends the two-month
suspension of visits constitutes a failure to make reasonable
efforts to reunify the mother and child. Further, she asserts
the bond between mother and child provides a basis to avoid
termination under section 232.116(3)(c).
child, A.V., was born in April 2017. She first came to the
attention of the department of human services (DHS) in July
when her father left her in a car unattended and a
child-abuse assessment referral was made. Another
assessment referral was made when the parents gave the child
Benadryl and put her to bed face down on a pillow; she became
unresponsive and was hospitalized. In addition, the child has
been involved in one of the couple's domestic disputes.
Another abuse assessment was completed in December when the
child was repeatedly hospitalized due to the parents'
failure to follow through with needed medication for the
child's ear infections. The child was diagnosed failure
to thrive and was removed from the parents' custody on
December 14. The child was adjudicated CINA on December 19
and was placed in foster care. The child was severely
underweight at the time she was removed from her parents'
with the parents, which had been scheduled for three,
one-hour visits per week, was suspended from June through
July 2018 at the request of the child's primary
physician. On June 19, the child's physician wrote that
she had cared for the child since November 14, 2017. The
physician expressed concern for the child:
When I assumed care for [A.V.] she was struggling with
gaining weight and growing appropriately. She was having
trouble meeting her developmental milestones. There were
apparent parenting issues witnessed by me at her
appointments. . . .
During the entire time of my care for [A.V.] since this time,
feeding has been an issue and constant struggle. Part of her
feeding issue is oral feeding refusal. She had been evaluated
by speech therapy during one of her hospitalizations early in
life, however, at [one] year of age, [A.V.] was starting to
refuse feedings by mouth. I then had her start regular visits
with a speech therapist on an outpatient basis to assist with
what seemed to be oral aversion.
This letter is to detail my concern for [A.V.] with parental
visitations. . . . [The child] recognizes and cries when she
sees the DHS worker who takes her to her regular parental
appointments. There is a specific car seat she uses to visit
her parents and will cry when put in that seat specifically.
Her parents often cancel or do no show for visitations, so
[A.V.] does not visit with them consistently. However, she is
consistent with her behavior following visitations with her
biological parents and I feel this is becoming a detriment to
her physical and mental health. Visits with parents are
described as "volatile" as witnessed by the speech
therapist after they attended an appointment and she had
great concerns and came to me personally.
As of June 5, 2018, oral aversion has been ruled out as a
diagnosis for [A.V.] by her speech therapist as she has
varied eating acceptance in relation to parental visits and
her feeding therapy has been put on hold. I and [the] speech
therap[ist] have reached out to a psychiatrist to ask for
therapies and to date, this has been hard for me to
accomplish due to [A.V.'s] young age. There does seem to
be a psychological relation ...