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In re Q.S.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

September 18, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF Q.S. and D.S., Minor Children, H.S., Mother, Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jackson County, Phillip J. Tabor, District Associate Judge.

A mother appeals from the juvenile court's order terminating her parental rights to two children.

Stuart G. Hoover and Leslie Blair of Blair & Fitzsimmons, P.C., Dubuque, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, Chris Raker, County Attorney, and Sara Davenport, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Bradley Boffeli of Kurt Law Office, P.C., Dubuque, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Mullins, J., and Miller, S.J. [*]

MILLER, S.J.

Heather is the mother of Q.S., who was born in August 2007, and D.S., who was born in December 2009. Q.S. and D.S. have different fathers. Heather appeals from a June 24, 2013 juvenile court order terminating her parental rights to Q.S. and D.S. ("the children"). The order also terminated the fathers' respective parental rights, and neither has appealed. We affirm.

The children came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in March 2012 when Heather and both children tested positive for methamphetamine. In mid-March the juvenile court issued an ex parte order removing the children from Heather's physical custody and placing them in the temporary custody of the DHS for placement in family foster care.

The State filed a child in need of assistance (CINA) petition. In April 2012 the juvenile court adjudicated the children to be in need of assistance pursuant to Iowa Code sections 232.2(6)(b), (c)(2), (n), and (o) (2011). It continued the children in DHS's temporary custody for continued placement in family foster care.

In a June 12, 2012 dispositional order the juvenile court confirmed the children to be in need of assistance and placed them in the custody of the DHS for continued placement in family foster care. At all times following the children's mid-March 2012 removal they have remained in the custody of the DHS, placed in the same foster family home.

On April 3, 2013 the State filed a petition seeking termination of parental rights. Following a contested hearing the juvenile court entered its order terminating parental rights. Its order terminated Heather's rights to Q.S. pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2013) (child four or older, adjudicated CINA, removed last twelve consecutive months, cannot be returned at present time). The order terminated Heather's parental rights to D.S. pursuant to section 232.116(1)(h) (child three or younger, adjudicated CINA, removed last six consecutive months, cannot be returned at present time). Heather appeals.

We review termination proceedings de novo. Although we are not bound by them, we give weight to the trial court's findings of fact, especially when considering credibility of witnesses. The primary interest in termination proceedings is the best interests of the child. To support the termination of parental rights, the State must establish the ...

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