IN THE INTEREST OF K.J. and K.J., Minor Children, M.J., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Franklin County, Peter B.
Newell, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the order terminating her parental rights.
Barbara J. Westphal, Belmond, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
M. Sigmeth Roberts of Sigmeth Roberts Law, PLC, Clarion,
attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Vogel, C.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
mother appeals the juvenile court decision terminating her
parental rights. We find her request for a six-month
extension is without merit and decline to apply any
exceptions. We find termination is in the best interests of
the children. We affirm.
Background Facts & Proceedings
the mother of K.J., born in 2015, and K.J., born in 2016.
J.T. is the father of the older child; A.I. is the father of
the younger child. A.I. did not become involved in the
proceedings until late 2017 and was incarcerated for the
majority of the case. In this opinion, the terms "the
father," "the family," and "the
parents" refer to J.T.
family has been involved with the Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) since May 2015 due to the parents' use of
illegal substances. On June 29, 2015, the older child was
adjudicated in need of assistance (CINA). The child had been
removed since the end of May due to the parents'
substance abuse. In November 2015, the child transitioned
back to the mother's care due to the parents'
progress. In September 2016, the father was removed from the
family home after he relapsed and failed to participate in
services. In December, the mother also admitted to relapsing
February 2017, the State filed a petition to adjudicate the
younger child CINA due to the parents' drug addiction. In
March, the younger child was hospitalized following a brain
injury. Both children were then removed from the
home. The older child was placed with the paternal
grandparents, the younger child was placed in foster care.
The mother stipulated to the adjudication of the younger
child as CINA.
several months following the second removal, the mother did
not comply with court orders or follow through with
recommended treatment. She continued to use methamphetamine and
other drugs. The mother was inconsistent in attending
visitation and missed medical appointments for the children.
She was in jail at least twice after the removal. She
successfully completed an intensive outpatient program in
November 2017 and improved in all areas of concern while
sober. She participated in family treatment court starting in
November. In December she tested positive for methamphetamine
in a DHS-requested hair test, but her subsequent tests for
family treatment court were clean.
February 2018, the older child was placed with the father,
and custody transitioned to the father in April; the younger
child remained in foster care. By a June hearing, the court
found the mother had been making substantial progress and was
generally complying with recommendations. However, she began
to make questionable choices in the men she dated and allowed
to be around the children. The mother was granted additional
time before permanency, but care was not returned to the
mother due to concerns relating to a new relationship. The
court ordered the ...