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In re D.P.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 25, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF D.P., Minor Child, J.P., Father, Appellant, J.P., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Audubon County, Amy L. Zacharias, Judge.

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

          Christine Sand of Wild, Baxter & Sand, PC, Guthrie Center, for appellant father.

          Donna Bothwell of Bothwell Law Office, Logan, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler (until withdrawal) and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellee State.

          William Early, Harlan, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          Mahan, Senior Judge.

         A mother and father each appeal the juvenile court order terminating their parental rights. As to the mother, we find there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of her parental rights, the State made reasonable efforts to reunite her with the child, and termination is in the child's best interests. For the father, we find there is sufficient evidence to warrant termination of his parental rights and the juvenile court properly declined to apply any exceptions to termination. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         J.P., mother, and J.P., father, are the parents of D.P., who was born in 2017. The parents have a history of substance abuse, mental-health problems, domestic violence, and criminal behavior. The child was removed from their care on April 26, 2018, due to concerns the parents were using methamphetamine. The child was placed with the paternal grandparents. On June 23, 2018, the child was adjudicated to be in need of assistance (CINA), under Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(b), (c)(2), and (n) (2018).

         Both parents tested positive for methamphetamine in June 2018. Neither parent completed a substance-abuse treatment program. They also failed to participate in drug testing. The parents were not consistent in attending visitation. In a January 2019 permanency review order, the juvenile court noted, the parents "have struggled over this last review period. Neither parent has made any progress towards sobriety except that which has been forced because they were incarcerated." The court stated, "They continue to have an on again, off again relationship that is toxic."

         On February 8, 2019, the State filed a petition seeking to terminate the parents' rights. At the time of the termination hearing, held on April 12, 2019, the parents were not in a position to have the child returned to their care. The mother had just started a new substance-abuse treatment program and the father was in prison. The mother failed to come to the hearing, stating she did not have a means of transportation. The mother asked for more time to work on reunification. The father asked to have the child placed in a guardianship with his parents.

         The juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights pursuant to section 232.116(1)(e) and (h) (2019) and the father's parental rights pursuant to ...


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