IN THE INTEREST OF T.P., Minor Child, A.P., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Page County, Amy L.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her
M. Dale, Council Bluffs, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
R. Danley, Sidney, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and May, JJ.
juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights to
her child, T.P. On appeal, the mother argues (1) the State
failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that grounds
for termination exist under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f)
(2018) and failed to make reasonable efforts toward
reunification; (2) termination is not in the child's best
interest; (3) the mother's strong bond with T.P.
precludes termination; and (4) the mother should have been
afforded additional time to seek out a new therapist for T.P.
We affirm the juvenile court.
Background Facts and Proceedings
was born in 2009. The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS)
first became involved with T.P. in June 2017 when DHS
received allegations that the mother was using
methamphetamine-and even used methamphetamine with her
daughter, T.P.'s older sister. DHS also received
allegations that Dominic, the mother's paramour, sexually
abused the sister; that the sister told the mother about the
abuse; and that, despite knowing of the abuse, the mother
allowed Dominic to move back into the home. Ultimately, DHS
found Dominic was responsible for committing the sexual
abuse. In addition, DHS found the mother was
responsible for denying critical care and failing to provide
removed T.P. and the sister from the mother's custody and
placed them in the care of their father, where T.P. remains.
On October 5, T.P. and the sister were adjudicated as
children in need of assistance (CINA) and formally removed
from the mother's custody.
January 2018, the sister reported that Travis, another of the
mother's paramours, had sexually abused her when she was
fifteen years old. She reported that this abuse had occurred
in the family home prior to the children's removal. After
investigation, DHS found Travis was responsible for
committing the sexual abuse.
sister also reported that, prior to removal, the mother had
let the sister and T.P. "accompany her when she went to
an unknown person's home to purchase marijuana and
methamphetamines." DHS found the mother was responsible
for this exposure.
August 22, the State filed a petition to terminate the
mother's parental rights. A termination hearing was held
on October 18 and 30. On January 14, 2019, the juvenile court
issued an order terminating the mother's parental rights.
The juvenile court observed:
This [c]ourt does not often find it necessary to terminate
one parent's rights while leaving the child in the
custody of the other parent. It is in extreme cases of
neglect, abuse, and mistreatment that the [c]ourt finds there
is no other choice to protect the child than to sever the
parent/child relationship. This is one of those cases. A
review of the record in this case is heartbreaking and
devastating. [The mother] allowed her children to be in the
worst of situations and when given the chance for many months
to engage in services, she did not. [The mother] has made
some personal progress with treatment but [T.P.] is simply
unable to move past what has occurred.
The mother appealed. Our supreme court transferred the case
to this court.
Standard of Review
review termination proceedings de novo. In re P.L.,
778 N.W.2d 33, 40 (Iowa 2010). "We examine both the
facts and law, and we adjudicate anew those issues properly
preserved and presented." In re C.S., No.
13-1796, 2014 WL 667883, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 19, 2014).
"Although we are not bound by them, we give weight to
the trial court's findings of fact, especially when
considering credibility of witnesses." In re
C.B., 611 N.W.2d 489, 492 (Iowa 2000).
will uphold an order terminating parental rights if there is
clear and convincing evidence of grounds for termination
under Iowa Code section 232.116." In re D.W.,
791 N.W.2d 703, 706 (Iowa 2010). "'Clear and
convincing evidence' means there are no serious or
substantial doubts as to the correctness [of] conclusions of
law drawn from the evidence." C.B., 611 N.W.2d