IN THE INTEREST OF L.T., A.T., and D.T., Minor Children, K.T., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Cynthia S.
Finley, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.
R. Ramsey-Kacena, Cedar Rapids, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Kimberly A. Opatz 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.
POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.
mother's rights to these children were at issue at a
termination-of-parental-rights (TPR) hearing in November
2016. After an extended delay, the juvenile court entered a
written order in July 2018, terminating the mother's
parental rights. The mother appealed, and in In re
L.T., 924521, 530 (Iowa 2019), our supreme court
reversed the termination and remanded to the juvenile
court. The termination hearing on remand took
place in April 2019, and the juvenile court again found the
grounds to terminate the mother's parental rights. The
mother appeals, arguing the Iowa Department of Human Services
(DHS) failed to make reasonable efforts until the July 2018
termination order was entered and termination of her rights
is not in the children's best interests. She also asks
for additional time to work toward reunification with the
Background Facts and Proceedings.
mother has a history of involvement with DHS and the juvenile
court; her parental rights to two other children were
terminated in 2011. The mother's substance abuse,
mental-health issues, and instability were at the heart of
became involved with the mother in the present case in May
2015, when D.T. was born testing positive for amphetamines.
At that time, L.T. was two years old and A.T. was one year
the mother and father tested positive for methamphetamine,
and all three children were placed in foster care. By
Thanksgiving 2015, all three were in the care of their foster
mother, Samantha, who has remained their caretaker at all
mother's use of methamphetamine continued, and a hearing
on the petition for termination of the parental rights took
place in November 2016. At that hearing, the mother
acknowledged using methamphetamine one week earlier and
stated she "absolutely" needed treatment for her
abuse of substances. The juvenile court deemed the matter
submitted in late November.
State sought to reopen the record, and its request was
granted. At the May 23, 2017 hearing for that purpose, the
State admitted additional exhibits. The mother testified she
received notice she was approved for subsidized housing. The
mother was unemployed and, though she was attending
substance-abuse treatment, admitted to relapsing on
methamphetamine in February and April 2017 and not attending
a drug screen one week earlier. At the close of the hearing,
the court stated from the bench that it was going to grant
the State's petition to terminate ...