IN THE INTEREST OF R.B., Minor Child, T.B., Father, Appellant, L.W., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Lynn Poschner,
District Associate Judge.
mother and father separately appeal the termination of their
parental rights. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.
Richard Hollis, Des Moines, for appellant father. Christine
E. Branstad of Branstad & Olson Law Office, Des Moines,
for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Wolle of Juvenile Public Defender's Office, Des Moines,
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vogel, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Danilson,
mother and father both appeal the termination of their
parental rights to their child. The mother argues the State
failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that grounds
for termination exist under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h)
(2018), the district court should have granted her a
six-month extension, termination was not in the best
interests of the child, and termination was precluded due to
relative placement and a strong bond between her and the
child. Alternatively, the mother claims the district court
should have established a guardianship. The father similarly
argues he should be granted additional time to work toward
reunification, termination is not in the best interests of
the child, relative placement precludes termination, and a
guardianship should have been established. We affirm the
district court's determinations.
was born in January 2016. The Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) became involved with this family in October
2017, after concerns the mother was using methamphetamine
while caring for R.B. The mother admitted to using marijuana and
methamphetamine on and off for fifteen to twenty years. She
reported she does not use while R.B. is in her care, but she
admitted to resuming care within twenty-four hours after
using methamphetamine. R.B. was removed from her mother's
care on December 20 and placed in the care of her maternal
aunt; R.B. was later placed in the care of the mother's
mother participated in a substance-abuse evaluation on
January 11, 2018, and while it was recommended she attend
treatment, she never sought treatment. In March, the
mother's hair-stat test was positive for methamphetamine.
After this test, the mother refused to provide any further
samples for hair-stat tests. The mother also struggled with
mental-health issues but failed to properly address them.
Despite hearing voices, the mother believed she did not need
to see a therapist or inform her medication provider that her
medication did not stop the voices. In one of DHS's
reports to the court, DHS recounted an incident during a
visit on May 16, where the mother was "yelling and
swearing at people who were not present and looking at [R.B.]
while she did this."
father was incarcerated for trafficking methamphetamine at
the time DHS began this assessment, but he was released on
parole on March 9, 2018. After he was released, the father
had a total of seven visits with R.B., one of which he fell
asleep during. He was arrested again in August for six counts
of forgery and was incarcerated while awaiting trial at the
time of the termination hearing.
State filed a petition to terminate both parents'
parental rights on August 18. On December 7, the district
court found the State proved by clear and convincing evidence
the grounds for termination under Iowa Code section
232.116(1)(h). The mother and father both appeal.