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In re P.M.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 7, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF P.M., Minor Child, A.C., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Daniel L. Block, Associate Juvenile Judge.

          Andrew C. Abbott of Abbott Law Office, P.C., Waterloo, for appellant mother.

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

          Melissa Anderson-Seeber, Waterloo, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          DANILSON, Senior Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. AFFIRMED.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child. We find there is sufficient evidence in the record to support the termination, termination is in the child's best interests, and the mother has not shown termination would be detrimental to the child due to the closeness of the parent-child relationship. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         The mother in this case, A.C., and her paramour, R.M., came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in February 2017, when the mother's child, K.C., born in 2016, was diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome. The child was in R.M.'s care when the child received extensive brain injuries. A founded child abuse report named R.M. as the person responsible for physically abusing K.C. The mother did not believe R.M. caused K.C.'s injuries and continued in a relationship with him. The mother and R.M. had a child, S.M., later in 2017. The mother's parental rights to K.C. and S.M. and the father's rights to S.M. were terminated. The termination was affirmed on appeal. In re K.C., No. 18-1249, 2019 WL 325863, at *5 (Iowa Ct. App. Jan. 23, 2019).

         The mother and R.M. are the parents of P.M., born in 2018. The child was removed from the parents' care shortly after birth due to the safety concerns arising from the injuries to K.C. and placed in the home of a relative. The child was adjudicated to be in need of assistance (CINA), pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(b) and (c)(2) (2018).

         The mother participated in services, including individual therapy and supervised visitation. The mother continued in a relationship with R.M. and resided at the same residence. She does not believe R.M. caused K.C.'s injuries or that he poses a risk to her children. The parents' failure to acknowledge the nature and causation of K.C.'s injuries created a barrier to the effectiveness of services.

         On March 4, 2019, the State filed a petition seeking termination of the parents' rights. The juvenile court terminated the mother's rights under section 232.116(1)(d), (g), and (h) (2019).[1] The court found the parents "have not utilized the services offered or been able to demonstrate that they are capable of providing a safe home for the child." The court stated, "Parent education services, individual therapy and couples counseling are all futile efforts until both parents acknowledge a problem exists and a need for treatment." The court concluded termination of the mother's parental rights was in the child's best interests. The mother appeals.

         II. ...


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