IN THE INTEREST OF L.H., S.H., P.H., and F.H., Minor Children, E.H., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Cynthia S.
Finley, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.
W. Davison, Cedar Rapids, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Trachta of Linn County Advocate, Inc., Cedar Rapids, attorney
and guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and May, JJ.
she was fourteen or fifteen years old, E.H. met R.H., then in
his late twenties. In 2011, when E.H. was eighteen, she
married R.H. That year she gave birth to their oldest child,
and she has since had three more children, the youngest born
in December 2017. At the February 2019
termination-of-parental-rights hearing, the mother was
pregnant and due in June.
mother is well aware of R.H.'s extensive substance-abuse
problem. In approximately 2012, the mother and R.H. incurred
felony drug charges in Missouri. The mother was placed on
probation, and R.H. spent two years in prison. The mother
reunited with R.H. upon his release from prison. Since that
time, the mother has separated from the father numerous
times, only to later reconcile with him.
2017, the family came to the attention of the Iowa Department
of Human Services after it was reported that R.H. was using
and selling drugs in the family home. Two of the children
tested positive for ingestion of methamphetamine, and all of
the children's hair tests were positive for
methamphetamine. The children were removed from the
parents were "adamant that they intend[ed] to work
toward reunification as a couple," even though the real
concern was R.H.'s substance abuse and his lack of
progress. The mother separated from R.H. starting in November
2017, just before their fourth child was due, because R.H.
was not maintaining sobriety. That separation only lasted a
few months, and in February 2018, the mother's sweat
patch tested positive for methamphetamine. The baby was
removed from her care, and the mother reconciled with R.H.
the mother stated she wanted to be a family. However, R.H.
continued to use illegal substances. The mother also had
additional sweat patches test positive for illegal
substances, though the mother denied that she herself used
any drugs. In July 2018, the juvenile court directed the
State to file petitions for termination of the parents'
February 2019 termination-of-parental-rights hearing, the
mother testified she had ended her relationship with R.H. the
week before the hearing, stating she was committed not
"to live that lifestyle anymore. [She did not] want to
be mentally or emotionally abused anymore. [She was] ready to
just support [her] children and [herself] and move forward in
life." The juvenile court was unconvinced and terminated
her parental rights.
mother appeals, asserting that the State did not prove the
grounds for termination and that termination was not in the
children's best interests. She maintains that because she
testified she had left R.H. for good, the children were no
longer in danger and her rights should not have been