IN THE INTEREST OF B.W., Minor Child, M.W., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Phillip J.
Tabor, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her
A. Kroeger, LeClaire, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
J. Arnold, Davenport, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and May, JJ.
Tabor, J., takes no part.
juvenile court terminated a mother's parental rights to
her child, B.W. On appeal, the mother argues (1) termination
is not in B.W.'s best interest due to their strong
parent-child bond, (2) B.W.'s placement with relatives
should preclude termination, and (3) the juvenile court
should have established a guardianship rather than
terminating her parental rights. We affirm the juvenile
Facts and Prior Proceedings
was born in 2007. Her mother is a single parent.
August 2017, B.W.'s adult half-brother and his wife
contacted the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) about
B.W.'s welfare. They were concerned because B.W.'s
mother left B.W. for roughly seven weeks without a care plan
January 2018, DHS again received reports regarding the
mother's lack of parental supervision. DHS was advised
that the mother often left B.W. in the care of others for
extended periods of time without access to medical care or
financial support. Reporting individuals also expressed
concern that the mother was engaged in sex work and abused
request of DHS, the mother submitted to drug testing. She
tested positive for methamphetamine but denied any substance
use. She contended she tested positive because "she was
'withdrawing from Adderall' after she took unknown
pills from a friend that made her feel 'good and
January 18, 2018, the juvenile court issued an order
temporarily removing B.W. from the mother's custody. In
March 2018, the court adjudicated B.W. as a child in the need
of assistance and formally removed B.W. from the mother's
care. In July 2018, DHS placed B.W. with her adult
half-brother and his wife. B.W. has remained in their
physical care since July 31, 2018.
mother began supervised visitation with B.W. Initially, it
went well. However, the mother's participation in
visitation became unreliable. For example, on one occasion
Family Safety, Risk, and Permanency (FSRP) worker Sherri
Zirbes brought B.W. to the mother's apartment for a
scheduled visit, but the mother was not home and did not
answer her phone when called. Sherri and B.W. sat in the
hallway for forty-five minutes waiting for the mother to
arrive home to begin visitation. The mother also cancelled
visitations for various reasons. On several occasions, she
could not be reached by ...