IN THE INTEREST OF D.B., Minor Child, L.B., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Audubon County, Amy L.
Zacharias, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to one
Jonathan J. Mailander of Mailander Law, Atlantic, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
William T. Early, Harlan, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., Mullins, J., and Blane, S.J.
mother, Laura, appeals the termination of her parental rights
to a child, D.B., who is now one year old, pursuant to Iowa
Code section 232.116(1)(b), (e), and (h) (2018). She contends
the State did not prove the statutory grounds for
termination; termination would be detrimental to D.B. based
on their bond; and the department of human services (DHS)
failed to make reasonable efforts toward reunification.
Finding no merit in any of these contentions, we affirm.
FACTS AND PRIOR PROCEEDINGS
was born in October 2017 and was immediately removed from
Laura and placed with a foster family. He tested
positive at birth for amphetamines, methamphetamine,
cannabinoids, and carboxy-THC. The DHS founded a child-abuse
report against Laura for the presence of illegal drugs. Laura
has a long history of substance abuse, uncontrolled
mental-health impairments, and domestic-violence incidents.
When D.B. was born, Laura reportedly was not taking her
mental-health medication and demonstrated delusional
thoughts. The juvenile court subsequently adjudicated D.B. a
child in need of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code
section 232.2(6)(b) (physical abuse or neglect), (n)
(impaired mental capacity or condition, imprisonment, or drug
and alcohol abuse), and (o) (presence of an illegal drug due
to acts of parent). It ordered Laura to attend counseling and
obtain treatment for substance abuse and mental health,
abstain from drugs and alcohol, and submit to drug testing.
The court also ordered DHS to set up visitations.
following months, service providers and social workers
reported next to no improvement in Laura's condition. In
November and December 2017, Laura participated in six out of
twenty-two offered supervised interactions. She did not
engage in substance-abuse treatment or mental-health therapy
and continued to exhibit delusional thinking. Toward the end
of December 2017, Laura was in jail in Douglas County,
Nebraska, under theft charges. In the CINA dispositional
order, the court noted Laura requested to have interactions
with D.B. at the jail. The court denied that request.
months later, in July 2018, DHS reported once again that
Laura made no progress. She had not maintained contact with
the family safety, risk, and permanency (FSRP) worker or DHS;
completed substance-abuse or mental-health evaluations;
progressed in any services; or submitted to any drug testing.
She attended three visitations over a six-month period. In
its permanency order, the court changed the case goal to
termination and adoption, and the State filed its petition
for termination in September 2018.
court heard the evidence in the termination petition in
November 2018. At that time, Laura was in Douglas County Jail
on felony theft charges. She did not complete ordered treatment
or testing but was admitted to a drug treatment program
through the jail and was participating in intensive
outpatient treatment and cognitive behavior class. She was
awaiting a hearing to determine whether she would remain in
jail or be ordered into a mental-health respite program. She
last saw D.B. at an interaction in July for a total of ten
interactions over the year-long CINA proceeding. When asked
if it was possible to have interactions with D.B. in the
jail, her jail caseworker said no but some jail programs
would allow it. At the termination hearing, Laura testified
she was in a work release program for mental-health and
substance-abuse treatment, which usually lasted two years.
She testified she was taking her medications, but the court
noted her testimony continued to be confused, rambling, and
court found termination appropriate under Iowa Code section
232.116(1)(b),  ...