IN THE INTEREST OF C.L., Minor Child, A.M., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Stephanie
Forker Parry, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.
S. Moeller of John S. Moeller, P.C., Sioux City, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Thali of Juvenile Law Center, Sioux City, attorney and
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.
mother appeals the juvenile court decision terminating her
parental rights. The mother contends the State failed to show
the child could not be returned to her and termination of her
parental rights is not in the child's best interest. We
Background Facts & Proceedings
the mother of C.L., born in 2014. The child's father,
R.L., has never been an active part of the child's
January 2017, the mother was reported to the Iowa Department
of Human Services (DHS) due to concerns she could not care
for the child. The mother began voluntary services. The
mother suffers from kidney disease and has been on dialysis
since before the child was born. She is at the end stage of
renal failure and needs regular dialysis. The mother also has
mother receives social security disability payments (SSDI)
and is on Medicare and Medicaid for health benefits. She has
lived in her apartment for four years. The mother and child
moved in with the maternal grandparents temporarily in early
2017 but had moved back to the apartment by the summer of
2017. In July, the mother broke her hip and was unable to
parent the child effectively. The mother reported her family
members were not appropriate to take custody of the child.
She asked for services to help her care for the child and to
make a plan in case she passed away.
child was adjudicated in need of assistance (CINA) on October
6, 2017, pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (k)
(2017). The mother requested a foster placement, and the
child was removed on November 1 for placement with a foster
family. The child was placed with a foster family and moved
to another family at the end of March 2018 due to foster
certification issues. The child was diagnosed with
developmental and behavioral issues and attended speech and
occupational therapy. During and immediately after visits
with the mother, the child's behavior and communication
often reverted to that of a much younger child. The child
frequently exhibited escalated behaviors and tantrums at the
end of visits. The foster family has provided a consistent,
stable, and structured home environment, implementing
behavioral development techniques to help the child.
the case, the mother would be late to or need to cancel or
shorten multiple visits due to her health. The mother did not
always obtain approval from DHS for other persons to be
present at visitations. The mother's visits were extended
during the summer when the child did not have pre-school, but
shortened when school started. At some summer visits, the
mother needed to be woken up by the foster parents when she
did not answer the door for visitation. In December 2018, the