IN THE INTEREST OF A.M, D.M., Q.H., H.H., & D.H., Minor Children, T.M., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Fremont County, Craig M.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.
R. Danley, Sidney, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Miller of Billings & Mensen, Red Oak, attorney and
guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. Five
children are affected by the termination order: A.M., born
May 2006; D.M., born January 2009; Q.H., born October 2014;
H.H., born February 2016; D.H., born July 2017. The mother
and Joseph, the father of the youngest three children, were
involved in the process leading to the termination of their
parental rights. Parental rights were terminated by order
dated January 11, 2019. The mother's rights to all the
children were terminated under Iowa Code section
232.116(1)(e), (i), and (l) (2018); as to A.M.,
D.M., and Q.H., her rights were terminated pursuant to
section 232.116(1)(f); and her rights to H.H. and D.H. were
terminated pursuant to section 232.116(1)(h). On appeal, the
mother challenges the existence of grounds to terminate her
parental rights and argues she should be granted an
additional six months to seek reunification.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
and the mother's relationship was physically violent, the
violence having occurred in the presence of and sometimes
involving the children. A five-year no-contact order did not
dissuade the parents from having contact. The five children
were removed from the mother's and Joseph's custody
in August 2017 due to a domestic altercation between the
parents that occurred in the presence of the
children. The mother was arrested and charged with
child endangerment and domestic abuse assault; Joseph was
arrested and charged with violating a no-contact order and
child endangerment. The children were placed in protective
children were adjudicated children in need of assistance
(CINA) on October 3, 2017, and remained in foster care. Both
the mother and Joseph were again incarcerated after the
adjudication hearing for continuing to violate the no-contact
order. The children's out-of-home
placements continued following the juvenile
court's dispositional order.
mother and Joseph both have a history of substance abuse,
including marijuana and methamphetamine use. Joseph did not
participate in services provided by the department of human
services (DHS). However, the mother obtained a
substance-abuse evaluation and completed substance-abuse
treatment by a January 2018 review hearing. She was also
engaged in mental-health treatment, including
anger-management and domestic-violence services. When not in
jail, the mother regularly visited the
30, 2018 review hearing established that the mother was
continuing to work with service providers, had participated
in parenting classes, was employed, and had reported she was
rejecting attempts by Joseph to contact her via social media.
The mother provided negative drug screens through January and
February and further drug screening was to be only as
requested. The mother progressed to semi-supervised visits
with the children from Friday to Sunday evening. She found
suitable housing and remained employed. By June 29, 2018, the
children were placed with the mother for a trial home visit.
soon after the children were returned to her care, the mother
relapsed on methamphetamine and was involved in a new
relationship with Colton, who has a violent criminal
background. The mother did not share with service providers
that she had relapsed or that she had a new partner living
with her and the children. At a drop-in visit on July 24, H.H. and
Q.H. were observed outside unattended for several minutes. A
child protective worker went into the home and saw an unknown
male lying on the mother's bed. The worker thought the
man exhibited physical indicators of methamphetamine use. The
older children reported they were often unsupervised. The
mother admitted she had been using methamphetamine with
Colton while she was responsible for the care of the
children. She also stated she was aware of Colton's prior
domestic-violence and drug charges but maintained she trusted