January 9, 2013
IN THE INTEREST OF J.B. AND W.B. JR., MINOR CHILDREN, S.B., MOTHER. APPELLANT.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Constance Cohen, Associate Juvenile Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Vogel, J.
A mother appeals the district court's order terminating her parental rights. AFFIRMED.
Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Vogel and Vaitheswaran, JJ.
A mother, Sarah, appeals the district court's order terminating her parental rights to her children, J.B., born 2010, and W.B. Jr, born 2009.*fn1 She argues the State failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence the statutory reasons for termination and two of the considerations found in Iowa Code section 232.116(3) (2011) should prevent termination. We review of parental rights cases de novo. In re C.W., 554 N.W.2d 279, 281 (Iowa Ct. App. 1996).
Sarah's parental rights were terminated pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d) (adjudicated child in need of assistance (CINA) for neglect, circumstances continue despite services) and (h) (child three or younger, adjudicated CINA, removed from home for six of last twelve months, and child cannot be returned home). Prior to the children's third removal from the home in July 2012, Sarah had been offered and received services to prevent the removal for approximately seventeen months.
Sarah was not in the courtroom on the day of the termination hearing though she had proper notice of the proceeding.*fn2 Her attorney requested a continuance to allow Sarah to attend. The State, the father, and the children's guardian ad litem and attorney all opposed the continuance. It was denied and Sarah does not appeal the denial.
Sarah claims there was not clear and convincing evidence as to the statutory requirements for termination and the considerations in Iowa Code section 232.116(3)(a) and (c) should have been applied to prevent termination. Because she was not at the hearing, Sarah did not raise any issue before the district court.*fn3 As a general rule, an issue not presented in the juvenile court may not be raised for the first time on appeal. In re T.J.O., 527 N.W.2d 417, 420 (Iowa Ct. App. 1994). Because Sarah did not present any evidence or lodge any objection alerting the juvenile court to her complaints, she has not preserved error for our review.
Our primary concern is the child's best interests. In re J.W., 723 N.W.2d 793, 798 (Iowa 2006). The children have been shuttled in and out of foster care for a large portion of their lives: nine placement disruptions in twenty-months. The children have been residing with a family member and, she is willing and able to adopt them. The children have special medical needs, and the family member is meeting those needs; they feel safe and secure in her home. We agree with the district court's well reasoned opinion and that termination of Sarah's parental rights is in the children's best interests.