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In re J.E.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 8, 2020

IN THE INTEREST OF J.E., Minor Child, A.E., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Keokuk County, Daniel Kitchen, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.

          Larry J. Brock of Brock Law Office, Washington, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen Witte Kraemer, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Katie E.M. Lujan of Lloyd, McConnell, Davis & Lujan, L.L.P., Washington, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Bower, C.J., and May and Greer, JJ.

          BOWER, CHIEF JUDGE.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. She claims she should have been granted an additional six months to achieve reunification with the child. We find an extension is not warranted and termination is in the best interests of the child. We affirm.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         T.E. is the mother of J.E., born in 2015. The mother's husband, C.S., is the legal father of J.E. A.M. is the child's biological father. Both fathers have consented to termination of their parental rights.

         The family came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in August 2016 due to the mother's use of methamphetamine while caring for the child. The mother began voluntary services with DHS. On October 6, 2017, the child was placed with C.S. on a voluntary basis after the mother tested positive for methamphetamine. The mother later contested the removal, and the court ordered the child's placement in C.S.'s care. In late 2017, the paternity of the child was called into question by the mother. On December 10, the child was adjudicated in need of assistance (CINA). Paternity testing was ordered.

         In January 2018, the parties stipulated to placing the child with the maternal grandmother.[1]

          In February, C.S. was eliminated as the biological father; in August, A.M. was confirmed as the biological father. C.S. eventually withdrew from the child's life.

         The mother struggled with her substance-abuse problems throughout the juvenile proceedings. She was arrested on drug charges in the summer of 2018. She participated in several substance-abuse evaluations but did not follow through with recommended treatment, at times claiming her chronic pain medication precluded her participation in treatment. She missed other ...


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