IN THE INTEREST OF P.K., Minor Child, J.K., Father, Appellant, J.T., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Clayton County, Linnea M.N.
Nicol, District Associate Judge.
mother and father separately appeal the termination of their
parental rights to their five-year-old daughter.
R. Gonzales of Law Office of Cory R. Gonzales PLLC,
Strawberry Point, for appellant father.
J. Sullivan of Sullivan Law Office, P.C., Oelwein, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Meredith L. Lamberti,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Beth A. Fleming, Dubuque, attorney and guardian ad litem for
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.
and John separately appeal the termination of their parental
rights to five-year-old P.K. They contend the State did not
offer clear and convincing evidence of the statutory grounds
for termination; termination is not in P.K.'s best
interests; and termination would be detrimental to P.K.
because of the parent-child bond. After an independent review
of the record,  we affirm.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
assaulted Jennifer in the presence of their children, P.K.,
and her younger sister, A.K. The Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) also received reports the parents were using
methamphetamine while caring for the children. In a
child-abuse assessment, the DHS determined both parents were
responsible for a failure to properly supervise the children
and for the presence of illegal drugs when A.K.'s hair
sample tested positive for methamphetamine. During the
assessment, Jennifer admitted using methamphetamine
"once in a while" and within thirty days of the
assault. Afterward, Jennifer denied both that she ever used
drugs and that she ever admitted to using drugs. For his
part, John has a long history of abusing drugs, especially
methamphetamine. The DHS removed the children and placed them
in the same foster home, where they have remained throughout
juvenile court adjudicated then three-year-old P.K. and
five-month-old A.K. as children in need of assistance (CINA).
The adjudication rested on the parents' failure to
exercise a reasonable degree of supervision and because the
parents' drug abuse resulted in the children not
receiving adequate care. See Iowa Code §
232.2(6)(c)(2), (n) (2017). The case permanency plan required
both parents to (1) obtain substance-abuse evaluations and
follow treatment recommendations; (2) obtain mental-health
evaluations and follow treatment recommendations; (3) submit
to random drug testing; and (4) attend Family Safety, Risk,
and Permanency (FSRP) sessions focusing on parenting skills,
budgeting, and relapse prevention.
the outset, Jennifer had trouble cooperating with the DHS and
service providers. She was routinely combative, hostile, and
verbally abusive to the FSRP worker assigned to her case. She
lashed out both in person and over phone, email, and text,
including while in the presence of the children. At times she
was aggressive and threatening. For instance, during one
visitation, the FSRP worker called law enforcement because
Jennifer was yelling swear words and threatening to kill
herself-in front of the children. Visitation remained fully
supervised, and Jennifer missed or was late to many
interactions, especially toward the end of the case.
of the recommended services, Jennifer attended a joint
mental-health and substance-abuse evaluation. The therapist
diagnosed her with adjustment disorder with anxiety and
depressed mood and recommended individual mental-health
counselling. But the therapist found Jennifer had no drug or
alcohol-abuse problem, thus offering no recommendations for