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In re P.H.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 6, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF P.H., Minor Child, T.H., Father, Appellant, S.H., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Chickasaw County, Linnea M.N. Nicol, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and father both appeal the termination of their parental rights to their one-year-old daughter.

          Ann M. Troge, Charles City, for appellant father.

          Becky Wilson of Elwood, O'Donohoe, Braun, White, LLP, Charles City, for appellant mother.

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

          Andrew Thalacker of the Juvenile Public Defender Office, Waterloo, guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          TABOR, Presiding Judge.

         This appeal arises from the termination of parental rights of Samantha and Travis to their one-year-old daughter, P.H. Each parent appeals separately. Samantha contends the State did not prove the statutory grounds for termination. Additionally she contends the court erred in finding an additional period of rehabilitation would not remedy the situation. Travis appeals on similar grounds. The juvenile court found P.H. could not be returned to her parents now or in the foreseeable future and their rights should be terminated. After reviewing the record and legal arguments presented, [1] we reach the same result as the juvenile court.

         I. Facts and Prior Proceedings

         P.H. was born in May 2018. Her family came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in December 2017 when Samantha was pregnant with P.H. Because Samantha tested positive for methamphetamine during her pregnancy and Travis was uncooperative, the court granted the DHS's request for a temporary removal of P.H. following her birth. The DHS returned the child to her parents in mid-June 2018. But the next month, the DHS requested the temporary removal of P.H. again after both parents missed multiple drug screenings. Travis tested positive during a screening, and Samantha provided a contaminated test. In late July, the DHS placed P.H. with Samantha's sister and her husband.[2] Samantha and Travis maintained contact with P.H. through supervised visits.

         In mid-August 2018 the court adjudicated P.H. as a child in need of assistance (CINA), as defined in Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) (2018), because both parents tested positive for methamphetamine and Travis had been violent toward Samantha.

         In early October 2018, the court adopted a permanency plan listing changes that Samantha and Travis had to make for P.H. to return to their custody safely. The plan directed Samantha to participate in a substance-abuse evaluation and follow through with the recommendations, individual therapy, medication management, and random drug testing. The plan also required Samantha to meet with the DHS worker monthly; meet with the family safety, risk, and permanency (FSRP) provider weekly; follow recommendations of the child's early access evaluation; attend and participate in visitation; and maintain safe and stable housing. The plan included the same requirements for Travis-minus individual therapy and medication management. Also if the couple planned to remain together they needed to participate in couples counseling and address their domestic-violence issue.

         Neither parent followed through with the plan. They attended only four of thirteen requested drug tests. One time Samantha went to the testing facility but she refused to submit to testing when the monitor requested a hair sample. The parents also failed to address the issue of ...


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