IN THE INTEREST OF M.R., Minor Child, M.R., Father, Appellant, A.R.. Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Brendan
Greiner, District Associate Judge.
mother and father separately appeal the order terminating
their parental rights. AFFIRMED.
M. Evans of Carr Law Firm, P.L.C., Des Moines, for appellant
M. Elcock of Elcock Law Firm PLC, Indianola, for appellant
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
C. Naanep, Des Moines, attorney and guardian ad litem for
Considered by Vogel, C.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
mother and father separately appeal the juvenile court
decision terminating their parental rights. They
independently claim the evidence was insufficient to support
termination, the court should have granted additional time
for them to resolve their issues, and exceptions to
termination apply. We find sufficient evidence supports the
termination, additional time is not warranted, and no
exceptions preclude termination. We affirm.
Background Facts & Proceedings
father, and A.R., mother, are the parents of M.R., born in
2013. On December 30, 2017, the parents were arrested for
shoplifting; M.R. was with them. Law enforcement found drug
paraphernalia on both parents, and the parents admitted to
regularly using heroin and prescription drugs while the child
was in the home. The child was placed with the maternal
grandparents, and on January 2, 2018, the parents consented
to the child's removal and placement with the
grandparents. On February 14, the child was adjudicated in
need of assistance (CINA). After a dispositional hearing in
March, the court ordered both parents to address their
substance-abuse and mental-health issues.
father, who is thirty-two years of age, has a long history
with drugs, including marijuana and prescription opioids
since he was a teenager; after a sober period, in 2012 he
began taking pain pills again, progressing to heroin use in
2016. He began using methamphetamine in mid-2017. The father
attended inpatient treatment in February 2018. He started
family treatment court in February, but at the end of March
tested positive for multiple opioids and methamphetamine. At
the end of April, the father pleaded guilty to a drug offense
dating from September 2017, and the court sentenced him to
fifteen years in prison. He had no visits with the child
while incarcerated, but he did call every week to talk with
the child. The father paroled out of prison in January 2019.
After his release from prison, he admitted a single use of
methamphetamine approximately two weeks prior to the
mother started taking prescription opioids following a back
injury, using more over time and turning to heroin in 2016.
Following the removal, she started family treatment court in
February and continued with the court through relapses and
various treatment programs. In October, she failed to attend
her court dates and was suspended from the family treatment
program. The mother was inconsistent in complying with
testing and occasionally tested positive for opioids or
methamphetamine. The mother testified to regularly using
methamphetamine for the majority of the case. Throughout the
case, she started multiple inpatient and outpatient treatment
programs but did not complete them. The mother was
inconsistent in attending visitation and would sometimes
appear to be under the influence of drugs. She did not call
the child to talk on days without visits. The mother had been
in treatment for just over two weeks at the time of the
termination hearing, with her last admitted drug use earlier
in the month.
December 28, 2018, the State filed a petition to terminate
the rights of both parents. A trial was held on February 25,
2019. The court heard testimony from the mother, the father,
the family services worker, the social worker, and the
maternal grandmother. The parents were both sober the day of
the termination hearing. On March 13, 2019, the court
terminated each ...