IN THE INTEREST OF E.H.-H. and C.H.-H., Minor Children, A.H., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Stephanie
Forker Parry, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals from the termination of her parental rights.
Jessica R. Noll of Deck Law PLC, Sioux City, for appellant
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Marchelle M. Denker of Juvenile Law Center, Sioux City,
attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., Mullins, J., and Gamble, S.J.
GAMBLE, Senior Judge.
detailed and well-reasoned decision, the juvenile court
terminated the mother's parental rights pursuant to Iowa
Code section 232.116(1)(e) and (f) (2018). We need not
repeat the background facts as they are sufficiently
documented in the juvenile court's ruling. In short, the
children, E.H.-H., age ten, and C.H.-H., age eleven, were
removed from their mother's care in June 2017. They were
adjudicated children in need of assistance (CINA) on July 31.
The termination of parental rights trial was held on October
23, 2018, where the evidence showed that after sixteen months
of services, the mother still had not addressed her
substance-abuse and mental-health issues, remained
unemployed, and was dependent for housing on another
mother appeals, claiming the State failed to prove the
grounds for termination existed and termination of her rights
is not in the children's best interests.
review proceedings to terminate parental rights de novo. We
give weight to the juvenile court's factual findings,
especially when considering the credibility of witnesses, but
we are not bound by them." In re A.B., 815
N.W.2d 764, 773 (Iowa 2012) (citation omitted).
the juvenile court terminates parental rights on more than
one statutory ground, we may affirm on any ground we find
supported by the record. In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703,
707 (Iowa 2010). We find termination proved under section
232.116(1)(f) because the children are more than four years
old, were adjudicated CINA, have been removed from the
mother's custody for more than twelve consecutive months,
and cannot be returned to the mother's custody at
record does not support the mother's claims that she has
addressed her substance-abuse and mental-health issues. The
mother has a long-standing methamphetamine addiction and has
been diagnosed with depression and methamphetamine-use
disorder, severe. The mother had numerous substance-abuse and
mental-health evaluations. She failed to follow through with
treatment recommendations without valid excuse. While she
claims she attends AA/NA meetings at least three times per
week, she provided no documentation of her attendance. She
claims to have visited a psychologist four to eight times in
the last sixteen months but she did not sign a release for
verification by her case manager. The mother testified she
has been sober since March 14, 2018. However, she has not
submitted to drug testing for months.
observed by the juvenile court:
The children have never been returned to the custody of
either parent, and no trial home placement has taken place,
for a period of approximately [sixteen] consecutive months.
[E.H.-H.] cannot be returned to the custody of her father . .
. due to his deportation and unknown whereabouts. The
children cannot be returned to the custody of their mother .
. . due to her ongoing unstable lifestyle, ongoing substance
abuse and mental health issues, lack of stable housing and
lack of financial resources sufficient to provide for herself
and the children. There is clear and convincing evidence that
these children would suffer further harmful effects if
returned to parental custody at this time, nor could they be
returned at any time in the foreseeable future as provided in
Iowa Code ...