IN THE INTEREST OF B.P., Minor Child, K.D., Mother, Appellant, J.M., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Daniel L.
Block, Associate Juvenile Judge.
father and mother appeal separately from the juvenile court
order terminating their parental rights.
Michael Lanigan, Waterloo, for appellant mother.
G. Martin.Cedar Falls, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Milder, Waverly, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.
father, James, and a mother, Karmen, separately appeal the
termination of their parental rights to their eight-year-old
child, B.P. They both contend rather than terminating their
rights, the juvenile court should have established a
guardianship with B.P.'s current placement, his maternal
aunt. Karmen further contends the State did not offer clear
and convincing evidence she was "unable to care for the
child." After an independent review,  we reach the same
conclusions as the juvenile court: terminating parental
rights is proper and establishing a guardianship is not the
preferred outcome for B.P.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) three years ago because of Karmen's
methamphetamine use and the domestic violence he witnessed in
his home. At that time, B.P. lived with his mother, Karmen;
his stepfather, David; and his older half-sister, T.D. The
juvenile court approved removal of both children in April
biological father, James, has had only sporadic contact with
him since his birth in 2011. James has not seen B.P. since
February 2016. James also has a significant history of
substance abuse and a lengthy criminal record, including
convictions for domestic-abuse assault.
DHS intervention, James and Karmen failed to comply with the
court's expectations regarding their substance-abuse
testing and treatment. Karmen missed or refused many drug
tests. James did not have stable housing or employment and
was incarcerated for thirteen months during these
proceedings. At the termination hearing, the DHS worker
testified B.P. has little or no bond with James. The DHS
worker also testified B.P. displays concerning behavioral
issues-including excessive aggression-attributable to the
instability of his parents and home life.
in the child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) proceedings, the
DHS placed B.P. and T.D. with David. But the court ordered
B.P.'s removal from that home due to domestic violence.
After a short stint with a foster family, B.P. was placed in
the care of his maternal aunt, Brandy, who lives in South
Carolina. T.D.- who is three years older than B.P.-remained
in Iowa. The siblings' separation has been difficult ...