IN THE INTEREST OF A.S. and M.S., Minor Children, A.B., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Stephen A.
Owen, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to two
of her minor children.
W. Thornton of Thornton & Coy, PLLC, Ankeny, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Shannon M. Leighty of Public Defender's Office, Nevada,
guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Mullins and Greer, JJ.
mother appeals the juvenile court's termination of her
parental rights to two minor children. She argues the
court should have granted her motion to continue the
termination hearing, and she challenges the statutory grounds
for termination. On our review, we affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
the mother of A.S., born in 2016, and M.S., born in 2015. The
children's father, C.S., has not been involved in their
lives. Currently, A.B. is married to J.B. and they are the
parents of Jo.B., born in 2017, who is the subject of a
separate termination proceeding. A.B. has had her parental
rights terminated to four other children.
and M.S. were removed from their mother's care on
November 9, 2017, because of concerns that Jo.B. was not
being adequately fed and accusations that someone had
physically abused M.S. During an initial assessment, the Iowa
Department of Human Services (DHS) noted additional concerns
of unsanitary living conditions, mental-health issues, the
children's medical issues, housing instability, income
instability, and transportation issues. Since that initial
removal, the children have not returned to A.B.'s care.
24, 2018, the juvenile court adjudicated A.S. and M.S.
children in need of assistance (CINA). Disposition followed
almost one month later, and the court adopted the
recommendations in a June 2018 case plan. After the November
8 permanency hearing, the district court noted that A.B. was
not participating in services or addressing the issues the
DHS had identified, and it concluded that the State should
proceed with termination.
the State petitioned to terminate A.B.'s parental rights
on December 21. The court scheduled a single termination
hearing for May 2, 2019, to address parental rights as to
M.S., A.S., and Jo.B. together. However, the court later
scheduled another hearing as to Jo.B. when J.B.'s
attorney became unavailable because of a scheduling conflict.
The State also notified A.B. that the family's original
DHS caseworker would not be available to testify at the May 2
hearing. On April 30, A.B. filed a motion to continue the
hearing as to M.S. and A.S. to prevent duplicative testimony,
to allow J.B. to have his attorney present, and to allow the
original caseworker to testify. The juvenile court denied the
motion after receiving oral arguments, and the case proceeded
to the termination hearing.
the hearing, the court took judicial notice of the exhibits
in the CINA case; received exhibits from the State and A.B.;
and heard testimony from the current DHS caseworker, A.B.,
and J.B. After the close of evidence, A.B. requested an
additional six months to attempt to regain custody of her