IN THE INTEREST OF D.B., Minor Child, N.B., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Barbara H.
Liesveld, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her
Patrick Bigsby of State Public Defender, Cedar Rapids, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Meredith L. Lamberti,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Katherine Eastvold, North Liberty, attorney and guardian ad
litem for minor child.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and Schumacher, JJ.
was born in September 2018. She was removed from parental
custody when she was approximately ten days old and placed in
foster care, where she has remained throughout the life of
this case. There has not been a trial period at home. The
initial removal occurred when the mother's boyfriend was
arrested for domestic violence in the presence of baby D.B.
after he struck the mother, pulled her hair, knocked her to
the ground, and stabbed her in the forearm. At the time of
this removal, concerns existed regarding the presence of
rats, cockroaches, and black mold in the home where the
mother was staying with the baby. The mother admitted to
relapsing on cocaine and alcohol.
mother, age thirty-one years at the time of the termination
hearing, has an extensive history of substance-abuse and
mental-health issues. In her appeal, the mother argues that
the trial court erred by (1) finding that reasonable efforts
were made to reunify D.B. with her mother, and (2) failing to
grant the mother a six-month extension to work toward
district court terminated the mother's parental rights
pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) and (l)
(2019). On our independent review of the record,
we affirm termination of the mother's parental
rights. We find the record reflects that the Iowa
Department of Human Services (DHS) made reasonable efforts to
reunify D.B. with her mother during the nearly one-year
period from the child's removal to the date of the
termination hearing. We further find that an additional six
months' time would be insufficient to resolve the
mother's substance-abuse and mental-health issues.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
birth, D.B. has been the subject of three separate founded
child-abuse reports completed by DHS. The first founded
child-abuse report concerned the events that led to the
initial removal of D.B. from parental custody. A second
founded child-abuse report was completed when the mother was
arrested for assault while displaying a deadly weapon
thirteen days after her daughter's birth. At the time of
the assault, the mother was brandishing a switchblade. The
third founded child-abuse report was due to the purchase of
crack cocaine by the mother, providing the baby with
inadequate shelter, and the mother assaulting her boyfriend
in D.B.'s presence.
mother has been unable to stay sober. When not incarcerated,
she drinks daily, approximately seven alcoholic drinks per
day. The mother admits that she is a danger to herself and
others when intoxicated. We first recognize that, while the
mother is of relatively young age, the record reflects
sixty-two alcohol or drug related convictions since 2006,
including three separate convictions for public intoxication
while she was pregnant with D.B. The mother tested positive
for cocaine twice during her pregnancy with D.B., in June and
August 2018. D.B., however, did not test positive at birth.
The mother also suffers from mental-health issues, including
schizoaffective disorder, depression, and anxiety. The mother
was a victim of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse as a
was adjudicated to be a child in need of assistance on
September 26, 2018. The mother failed to complete a
mental-health evaluation. After the removal and while on
probation for domestic violence, she was court ordered to a
halfway house as part of her criminal proceedings. She
absconded from that court-ordered facility and was arrested
two days later on a new theft charge for stealing alcohol. At
the time of the termination hearing, her probation for the