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In re A.J.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 7, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF A.J. and C.J., Minor Children, A.S., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jones County, Jason A. Burns, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her children.

          Annette F. Martin, Cedar Rapids, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Deborah Skelton, Walford, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Greer, J., and Mahan, S.J. [*]

          MAHAN, SENIOR JUDGE.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her children, born in 2007 and 2010.[1] She challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the statutory grounds for termination. We affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         This family most recently came to the attention of the department of human services in March 2017, [2] following reports of the mother using methamphetamine in the presence of the children. The mother showed up at the children's school acting erratically and looking for her daughters, [3] and she did not recognize the children when she saw them. A search warrant executed on the mother's home revealed evidence of methamphetamine and paraphernalia. One of the children tested positive for methamphetamine. The children were removed from the mother's care and placed with their paternal grandparents.[4] In April, the children were adjudicated to be in need of assistance (CINA).

         The mother received an array of rehabilitative services, including supervised visitation, family team meetings, substance-abuse treatment, and a psychological evaluation. She did not follow through with consistent drug testing, and she tested positive in October (marijuana, amphetamine, and methamphetamine) and December 2018 (amphetamine and methamphetamine). Caseworkers observed the mother is "often late" for visitation and her "level of engagement is dependent on her mood."

         The State filed a petition to terminate the mother's parental rights in November 2018. The termination hearing was held in March 2019. The record before the juvenile court indicated the children had been removed from the mother's home for nearly two years, her visits with the children remained supervised, and she had recently tested positive for methamphetamine (after completing extended outpatient treatment). The department caseworker and guardian ad litem recommended termination of the mother's parental rights.

         Following the termination hearing, the court entered its order terminating the mother's parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2018). The mother appeals.

         II. ...


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