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In re C.M.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 11, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF C.M. and D.M., Minor Children, D.W., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Deborah Farmer Minot, District Associate Judge.

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

          Joseph C. Pavelich of Spies, Pavelich & Foley, Iowa City, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          John D. Jacobsen, Cedar Rapids, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.

          MAY, JUDGE.

         The juvenile court terminated a mother's parental rights to her children, C.M. and D.M. On appeal, the mother argues (1) the State failed to prove grounds for termination exist under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2019) and (2) the mother's strong bond with the children precludes termination. We affirm the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         C.M. was born in 2016. In September 2017, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) first became involved with C.M.'s family. At that time, the father was on probation for multiple burglaries. During a home visit, probation officers discovered cocaine and marijuana. The mother claimed the drugs were hers. Both parents were arrested. DHS removed C.M. from the parents' custody. Later, the mother renounced ownership of the drugs. Even so, she pled guilty to multiple charges, including possession of cocaine with intent to deliver. She received a deferred judgment and probation.

         In the months that followed, the mother complied with some services. In late December, the juvenile court returned C.M. to the mother's custody. The court ordered the father's visits be fully supervised. The mother was expressly "not authorized" to supervise contact between the father and C.M.

         In March 2018, D.M. was born. In July, both parents ceased contact with providers and missed a scheduled hearing. Moreover, DHS learned that-despite the juvenile court's December order-the mother and children were residing with the father. DHS removed the children. A sample of C.M.'s hair came back positive for methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana. D.M. did not have enough hair to test.

         Following the children's removal in July, the mother failed to keep consistent contact with DHS, ceased drug testing, missed visits, and failed to progress from fully-supervised visits. She was also arrested for operating while intoxicated.

         The State petitioned for termination as to both parents. The juvenile court heard evidence on April 3 and 29, 2019. The juvenile court terminated both ...


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