IN THE INTEREST OF O.B., Minor Child, T.B., Mother, Appellant, O.B., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Christine
Dalton Ploof, District Associate Judge.
mother and father appeal the termination of their parental
Patricia A. Rolfstad, Davenport, for appellant mother. Brenda
Drew-Peeples of Drew-Peeples Law Firm, Davenport, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and John McCormally (until
withdrawal), and Anagha Dixit, Assistant Attorneys General,
for appellee State.
Matthew D. Hatch of Hatch Law Firm, P.C., Bettendorf,
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
mother, Takenya, and a father, O.B. Sr., appeal the
termination of their parental rights to their two-year-old
son, O.B. Jr. Because the parents failed to challenge all the
statutory grounds for termination, they have waived those
issues on appeal. O.B. Sr. complains the Iowa Department of
Human Services (DHS) did not timely complete a home study for
his Illinois residence, but we find the DHS met its
reasonable-efforts obligation. We also believe O.B.'s
best interests are served by termination of the parents'
rights. Accordingly, we affirm the juvenile court
Facts and Prior Proceedings
Jr. was removed from Takenya's care just shy of his first
birthday because her uncontrolled schizophrenia made it
impossible for her to care for him safely at that
time. Takenya repeatedly sought, but never
successfully completed, mental-health treatment. Although the
court directed her to an inpatient psychiatric program,
Takenya absconded. She did not seriously undertake treatment
until six months before trial. Then she participated in an
intensive intervention called ACT
(Assertive Community Treatment) involving a team of
professionals including a substance abuse counselor, a social
worker, a nurse, and a community worker, who tried to
coordinate services and ensure she continued her medication
and therapy. Nonetheless, the caseworkers reported Takenya
did not accept services beyond medication management and
transportation. At the time of the termination hearing,
Takenya's mental health remained unstable, and she
demonstrated little insight into how to address her
O.B. Jr. was removed from Takenya's care, O.B. Sr. was
homeless and unable to take custody. O.B. Sr. has a history
of substance abuse but denies any problem. He did not undergo
a substance-abuse evaluation or submit to drug testing as
requested. O.B. Sr. told a mental-health evaluator he did not
use illegal substances, and when the DHS caseworker asked
O.B. Sr. about the truthfulness of those statements, O.B. Sr.
insisted "marijuana is not a drug and it is not
illegal." The DHS case worker also confronted O.B. Sr.
about a video posted online that appeared to show him smoking
marijuana and "rapping a song" with derogatory
lyrics, including "if someone F-ing messes with my
child, I will F-ing mess with you." O.B. Sr. denied both
the marijuana use and the threats. He said he was "just
venting, like clearing my mind."
Sr. did not move into stable housing until several months
after the child's placement in foster care. O.B.
Sr.'s residence was in East Moline,
Illinois. O.B. Sr. attended only half of the offered
visitations with O.B. Jr. But when O.B. Sr. did show up, he
understood his child's needs; and according to the
caseworkers, father and son displayed a strong bond.
the State's petition and a hearing, the juvenile court
terminated the parents' rights. The court terminated the
mother's rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1),
paragraphs (d), (h), and (k) (2018). The court terminated the