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In re O.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 5, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF O.C., Minor Child, A.C.J., Mother, Appellant, E.O.R., Father, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Susan Cox, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and father each appeal the juvenile court order terminating their parental rights. AFFIRMED.

          Eric W. Manning of Manning Law Office, PLLC, Urbandale, for appellant mother.

          Jacob L. Mason of JL Mason Law, PLLC, Ankeny, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Erin E. Mayfield of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Vogel, C.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         A mother and father each appeal the termination of their parental rights. We find there is substantial evidence in the record to support termination of the mother's parental rights, an extension of time would not be in the child's best interests, an exception to termination should not be applied, and the State engaged in reasonable efforts to reunite the mother and the child. We also find there is substantial evidence in the record to support termination of the father's parental rights and termination is in the child's best interests. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         A.C.J., mother, and E.O.R., father, are the parents of O.C., born in 2012. In May 2017, the mother tested positive for methamphetamine. A hair test of the child was also positive for methamphetamine. The child has some behavioral problems and the mother had problems managing the child's behavior. On May 19, 2017, the child was removed from the mother's care and placed in foster care. The child was adjudicated to be in need of assistance (CINA) under Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n) (2017).

         The father had one visit with the child after the CINA adjudication, then told social workers he did not want to participate in services and did not want any additional visits. The child recognized the father only as a friend. The father may have had "unofficial" contact with the child while the child was visiting the mother.

         The mother entered a substance-abuse treatment program. In December 2017, the mother became very emotional with a service provider and stated, in front of the child, she was no longer willing to "jump through hoops"; she stated she would not provide a drug screen and would no longer participate in services or visitation. The child's behavioral problems became worse following this incident. The mother later told service providers she changed her mind and would again participate in services and visitation.

         On January 25, 2018, the mother filed a motion for a hearing on reasonable efforts. She claimed the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) had improperly restricted her visitation with the child. After a hearing, the juvenile court found, "the State has provided the mother with reasonable efforts" and denied the mother's motion. The court stated reasonable efforts ...


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