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In re Z.R.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 11, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF Z.R., Minor Child, F.D., Mother, Appellant, S.R., Father, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Buena Vista County, Mary L. Timko, Associate Juvenile Judge.

         A mother and father each appeal a juvenile court order terminating their parental rights.

          Lisa K. Mazurek of Miller, Miller, Miller, P.C., Cherokee, for appellant mother.

          Martha A. Sibbel of Law Office of Martha Sibbel, PLC, Carroll, for appellant father.

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

          T. Cody Farrens of Farrens Law Firm, Sioux City, guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          VOGEL, SENIOR JUDGE.

         A mother and father separately appeal a juvenile court's order terminating their parental rights. There is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of the mother's parental rights, and the court properly denied her request for an extension of time. Because the father waived all claims concerning the termination of his parental rights, we conclude his parental rights were properly terminated. We affirm on both appeals.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         F.D., mother, and S.R., father, are the parents of Z.R., born in 2018. The parents have long histories of substance abuse and domestic violence. The mother's parental rights to three older children have been terminated-one just weeks before Z.R. was born.[1] Z.R. was removed from the parents' care shortly after birth and placed with a family who had adopted one of the child's half-siblings and was the adoptive placement for another one of Z.R.'s half-siblings. The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) has been involved with the parents and continued providing services. The child was adjudicated to be in need of assistance (CINA), pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(b), (c)(2), and (n) (2018).

         After the child's removal, the parents continued using methamphetamine on a near daily basis. In September 2018, the father was arrested and jailed on drug charges. The mother entered a substance-abuse treatment program and began participating in supervised visitation. She continued her relationship with the father. At times she reported extensive domestic violence and at other times denied any violence in her relationship with the father. The father also denied domestic violence and did not participate in offered services. The father was incarcerated during much of the CINA proceedings and had only one visit with the child.

         On January 4, 2019, the State filed a petition seeking to terminate the parents' rights. The hearing was held over the course of five days: January 25, February 6, March 5 and 22, and May 13. After hearing the testimony and considering the extensive record, the juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights under section 232.116(1)(d), (g), (h), (i), and (l) (2019), and the father's rights under section 232.116(1)(a), (d), (e), (g), (h), and (i). The court denied the parents' request for an extension of time, stating, "The court cannot find that [the child] will be able to be returned to either parent's care within a six-month time frame, let alone within a reasonable amount of time." The court concluded termination of the parents' rights was in the child's best interests. The mother and father have separately appealed.

         II. ...


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