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In re Q.A.S.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

September 18, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF Q.A.S., Minor Child, A.S., Mother, Appellant, K.S., Father, Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Stephen C. Clarke, Judge.

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

Tammy L. Banning of Tammy L. Banning, P.L.C., Waterloo, for appellant-mother.

Mark A. Milder, Waverly, for appellant-father.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, Thomas J. Ferguson, County Attorney, and Kathleen A. Hahn, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Linnea Nicole of Juvenile Public Defender's Office, Waterloo, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Danilson and Tabor, JJ.

DANILSON, J.

The mother and father of Q.A.S. separately appeal from the termination of their parental rights. We find no error in the waiver of reasonable efforts, nor do we find an abuse of discretion in the court's denial of the father's motion to recuse. The child was born testing positive for drugs, the parents have a history of substance abuse, and they have had their parental rights terminated to three other children.[1] Because there is clear and convincing evidence to support termination pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(g) (2013), we affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

In a 2012 appeal, we upheld the termination of these parents' rights to Q.A.S.'s sibling, stating in part:

The parents ask for six more months to reunify with B.S. The father argues that in the closing months of the case, they have started making progress. He claims both parents have completed psychological evaluations and their financial situation is improving. The mother notes in recent months she has voluntarily checked herself into in-patient substance abuse treatment and has engaged in mental health counseling.
The parents' eleventh hour attempts to prevent termination by engaging in services do not overcome their years of addiction and instability. See In re D.M., 516 N.W.2d 888, 891 (Iowa 1994) (rejecting efforts of "recent origin" to accept parenting responsibilities). We reject their claims that "additional time could make all of the difference" and B.S. would not be harmed by the delay. These parents have been involved with the DHS for two years and have not addressed the problems that led to the termination of their [rights to] older children in September 2011. Meanwhile, B.S. has been removed from parental custody for half of his life. His foster parents stand ready to adopt him, and the juvenile court acted reasonably in moving him toward that resolution.
. . . The State points out that neither parent argues B.S. could be returned to his or her care at the present time.
We find that omission to be telling. Where the juvenile court terminates on more than one ground, we need only find sufficient evidence to affirm based on one of the statutory provisions cited. In re S.R., 600 N.W.2d 63, 64 (Iowa Ct. App. 1999). Here, we affirm under section 232.116(1)(h). Because an imminent reunion is not a realistic possibility on this record, the State has proved the necessary elements for termination by clear and convincing evidence. B.S. cannot be returned to his parents at this time ...

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