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In re C.H.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 25, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF C.H., Minor Child, K.H., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Korie Shippee, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals the order terminating her parental rights.

          Timothy J. Tupper of Tupper Law Firm, Davenport, for appellant mother.

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

          Angela M. Fritz-Reyes, Davenport, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          Bower, Judge.

         A mother appeals the order terminating her parental rights to C.H.[1] We affirm.

         "We review proceedings terminating parental rights de novo." In re A.M., 843 N.W.2d 100, 110 (Iowa 2014). "We are not bound by the juvenile court's findings of fact, but we do give them weight, especially in assessing the credibility of witnesses." Id. (quoting In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 706 (Iowa 2010)).

         C.H.'s older half-sibling, G.H., was born in 2015 with methamphetamine in his system, and the mother and G.H. were involved in child-in-need-of assistance (CINA) proceedings. G.H. is placed in the care of the maternal grandmother under a guardianship.

         C.H. came to the attention of the department of human services (DHS) at birth in December 2016 due to the mother's long history of illegal drug use. The mother is able to maintain her sobriety while in a structured environment for a few months. The mother had entered a residential substance-abuse treatment program in November 2016. C.H. did not have any illegal substances in his system at birth but the mother admitted that she used methamphetamine early in her pregnancy. The mother relapsed in August 2017 but self-reported and reengaged in treatment. However, she struggled with maintaining sobriety.

         C.H. was removed from his mother's custody in February 2018 and was adjudicated a CINA in April. The mother relapsed in the summer of 2018 and did not engage in substance-abuse or mental-health treatment after November 2018.

         In a November 16, 2018 report to the court, DHS social worker Brandi Durant stated:

[K.H.] has had DHS services in her life since February 2015. She has attended treatment multiple times, and has completed substance abuse treatment successfully in the past. [K.H.] knows what her recovery plan is, and what she needs to do to become and remain clean and sober. She has been unable to do so for more than a few months at a time for the last [three and one-half] years. It is clear her addiction is so great ...

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