IN THE INTEREST OF L.D., Minor Child, A.D., Mother, Appellant, J.D., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Hancock County, Karen
Kaufman Salic, District Associate Judge.
mother and a father separately appeal the termination of
their parental rights to their child.
Michael J. Moeller of Sorensen & Moeller Law Office,
Clear Lake, for appellant mother.
Theodore J. Hovda, Garner, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
J. Rodriguez of Garland & Rodriguez, Garner, attorney and
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Bower, J., and Danilson,
DANILSON, Senior Judge.
mother and father separately appeal the termination of their
parental rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e) (2018).
The mother contends the statutory grounds have not been
shown, termination of parental rights is not in the
child's best interests, and her close bond with the child
should preclude termination. The father argues termination of
his parental rights is not in the child's best interests.
He, too, contends the closeness of the parent-child
relationship should preclude termination.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
family came to the attention of the department of human
services (DHS) in late 2017 after the execution of a search
warrant at the family home, where numerous controlled
substances and paraphernalia were found. The child was
adjudicated a child in need of assistance (CINA) due to her
parents' drug use and the impact it had on her care. In
the December 8, 2017 CINA adjudication order, the juvenile
In order to demonstrate progress toward case closure, parents
shall be consistent with discipline, expectations and
structure for the benefit of the child, provide for the
child's financial needs through employment income,
maintain a safe and appropriate home and actively engage in
the child's life, including maintaining contact with and
being responsive to the concerns of the child's teachers,
daycare personnel, medical providers and other persons who
have on-going contact with the child.
the parents were cooperative and active in substance-abuse
and mental-health treatment. They were attending couples
counseling. At the dispositional hearing, their progress was
noted and the child was allowed to stay with the parents in
after the dispositional hearing, the relationship conflicts
between the parents escalated, as did their drug use. The
mother was trying to work with law enforcement as an
informant, and she simply could not manage that and her other
obligations. The father assaulted the mother in front of L.D.
and her sister-the mother relying on L.D.'s
seven-year-old sister to call 911. A no-contact order was
issued but the two parents violated it numerous times, and
the father assaulted the mother again. Both parents admitted
to relapsing in their methamphetamine use. Consequently, on
May 3, 2018, the children were removed from the parents'
custody. L.D. was placed with a maternal uncle and his wife.
Her sister was placed with her biological father.
In an August 17, 2018 review order, the juvenile court
[L.D.] remains with her aunt and uncle and is doing well. Her
speech has improved significantly. Unfortunately, they have
identified that they are not a long-term placement option for
[L.D.] because of the complications presented by on-going
family contact with [the] mother. . . . [The] mother meets
with [Family Safety, Risk, and Permanency] FSRP fairly
regularly, but continues to struggle with her sobriety. She
is not willing to return to inpatient after her earlier
failed attempt. She is not working, relies on her father for
financial support and her criminal charges have not been
The problems for which the court became involved have not
resolved. The level of compliance by family members is