IN THE INTEREST OF M.M. and C.M., Minor Children, I.M., Mother, Appellant, C.M., Father of M.M., Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Buena Vista County, Mary L.
Timko, Associate Juvenile Judge.
mother and father separately appeal the termination of their
parental rights to their respective children.
J. Kolpin of Kolpin Law Firm, P.C., Aurelia, for appellant
Cody Farrens of Fankhauser, Farrens & Rachel, P.C., Sioux
City, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
K. Mazurek of Miller, Miller, Miller, P.C., Cherokee,
attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Greer, J., and Blane, S.J.
mother of C.M. and M.M. and the father of M.M. separately
appeal the termination of their parental rights to their
respective children. The mother challenges the statutory
grounds relied upon by the juvenile court for termination,
argues the State failed to make reasonable efforts to reunify
her and the children, and maintains we should forgo
termination because of the closeness of the parent-child
bond. The father challenges the statutory grounds relied upon
by the juvenile court and maintains termination of his rights
is not in M.M.'s best interests. In the alternative, both
parents request additional time to work toward reunification
with their respective children.
of our ruling on de novo review, laid out below, we find it
necessary to address only the final issue. See In re
K.R., No. 19-0090, 2019 WL 1486612, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App.
Apr. 3, 2019) (declining to consider the three-step analysis
of Iowa Code section 232.116 for termination of parental
rights when the court deemed an extension of time was
Background Facts and Proceedings.
family came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) in August 2018 after the mother, while at the
hospital giving birth to M.M., admitted using methamphetamine
within the previous twenty-four hours. DHS learned the mother
had also tested positive for methamphetamine at a prenatal
visit in March 2018 and that the father has a history of
drug-related criminal convictions. The mother had been living
with the maternal grandparents off and on, while C.M. had
generally lived with them since her birth in early 2016. The
grandparents were able and willing to begin caring for M.M.
as well, and both children were placed in their care.
week later, the father was arrested and charged with domestic
abuse assault. It was alleged he spit at and struck the
mother in the face. A no-contact order was entered, and the
mother moved into a shelter for those escaping domestic
violence. The parents' separation was short-lived. Each
was charged with violating the no-contact order before
mid-September, when the mother sent a letter to the court
asking that both the no-contact order and the domestic abuse
assault charge be dismissed.
the father was arrested and charged with operating while
intoxicated (OWI) on ...