IN THE INTEREST OF D.F. and M.S., Minor Children, D.S., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Colin J. Witt,
District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the juvenile court's termination of her
A. Taylor, Des Moines, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Meredith L. Lamberti,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Vogan of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for
Baker of Jean M. Baker Law Office, West Des Moines, attorney
for minor children.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
mother appeals the juvenile court order terminating her
parental rights. We find clear and convincing evidence
supports the termination and termination is in the
children's best interests.
Background Facts & Proceedings
the mother of D.F., born in 2003, and M.S., born in 2007. The
family resided with J.F., father of D.F. The family came to
the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS)
in April 2017, when the mother was charged with public
intoxication and child endangerment after biting M.S. during
an argument over a cell phone. In June, DHS received a complaint
the mother was using methamphetamine and was frequently
absent from the home for days or weeks at a time. The father
was feeling overwhelmed and experiencing financial
difficulties; he was hospitalized at the time for having made
threats of self-harm while intoxicated. The children ran away
from home for brief periods, would not follow rules, and
exhibited behavioral problems.
July, the mother was arrested on possession of
methamphetamine charges after a traffic stop where she was a
passenger in a stolen car. The children were removed from the
mother's custody and placed with the father. On October 4
the children were adjudicated in need of assistance (CINA).
November, the father and children were evicted from their
home and moved to a shelter. In December, when the
family's shelter time was up, the children were removed
from the father's custody and placed in separate foster
homes. Starting in February, M.S. was placed at a youth
shelter. In April 2018, the children were placed together in
a single foster home.
mother was incarcerated multiple times on a variety of
charges. When not incarcerated, she did not have housing. The
mother only attended a total of ten visits from the time of
removal and only one visitation in 2018, on February 28.
While incarcerated, she initiated a single collect call to
the children, and some video chats occurred due to the foster
parents' facilitation of the contact. When she was not
incarcerated, the mother did not provide contact information
to the children or DHS or make efforts to contact or see the
children. The mother did not contribute to the financial
support of the children throughout the CINA case. The only
treatment attended by the mother was required during
incarceration or for her criminal probation, and she was
dismissed and returned to general incarceration after