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In re J.H.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

July 24, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF J.H. and J.H., Minor Children, J.H., Mother, Appellant, J.H., Father, Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Cheryl Traum, District Associate Judge.

A mother and father appeal the termination of their parental rights to their children.

Angela Fritz-Reyes, Davenport, for appellant-mother.

Martha L. Cox, Bettendorf, for appellant-father.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Janet L. Hoffman, Assistant Attorney General, Michael J. Walton, County Attorney, and Julie A. Walton, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Barbara Maness, Davenport, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.

BOWER, J.

A mother and father appeal the termination of their parental rights to their children. They each contend the State failed to prove the grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence. They also contend that termination is not in the children's best interests.

Upon our de novo review, we find clear and convincing evidence supports termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2013). We further find termination is in the children's best interests. Accordingly, we affirm on both appeals.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

The children at issue came to the attention of the Department of Human Services (DHS) in May 2012 following allegations of domestic violence between the mother and father. At the time, the older child was two years old and the younger child was a newborn. The report of physical abuse was not confirmed, but a child protective assessment against the mother for denial of critical care for failing to properly supervise the children was founded.[1] Citing the concerns about the parents' mental health issues and their lack of stable housing, the children were removed from the home in June 2012.

The children were adjudicated to be children in need of assistance (CINA) in September 2012 because of concerns regarding the parents' mental health issues, lack of housing, and domestic violence.[2] However, this was not the parents' first experience in a CINA proceeding. The older child had been removed from the home in November 2010 and adjudicated CINA in December 2010 due to safety concerns stemming from the parents' history of domestic violence, substance abuse, and mental health issues. That CINA case was dismissed in March 2012, just months before the events that led to the current proceedings.

In November 2012, the parents obtained safe and appropriate housing through a program in Illinois. Following the move to Illinois, the father lost access to the mental health services he was receiving in Iowa. He is ...


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