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In re J.N.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 5, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF J.N., S.N., E.N., C.N., B.N., and H.N., Minor Children, M.N., Father, Appellant, A.N., Mother, Appellant

Editorial Note:

This decision has been referenced in a "Decisions Without Published Opinions" table in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Mary Timko, Associate Juvenile Judge. A mother and father appeal separately from the order terminating their parental rights.

Patrick H. Tott, Sioux City, for appellant father.

Angela Kayl of Kayl Law Office, Sioux City, for appellant mother.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, Patrick Jennings, County Attorney, and J. Aaron Kirsch, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Joseph Kertels of Juvenile Law Center, Sioux City, for minor children.

Considered by Mullins, P.J., McDonald, J., and Mahan, S.J.[*]

OPINION

MAHAN, S.J.

A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their six children. They each contend the State failed to prove the grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence, termination is not in the children's best interests, and the State failed to make reasonable efforts to reunite them with the children. We review these claims de novo. See In re A.B., 815 N.W.2d 764, 773 (Iowa 2012).

The family came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in August 2011 following allegations the father sexually abused one of the children. The children were placed in foster care that same month.[1] The court adjudicated the children to be children in need of assistance (CINA) in October 2011 based on " a significant pattern of lack of supervision for the children, especially those with the most special needs" and the house being " unclean to the point of being an unsafe home in which to reside."

Despite numerous reports of possible abuse and neglect, the parents denied the allegations made against them. Extensive services were offered to the parents, who did not request additional services. In spite of these services, the DHS found the parents failed to demonstrate they had made the changes necessary to return the children to their custody. The State filed a petition to terminate the parents' rights in February 2013, and following a hearing in July 2013, the juvenile court terminated both the mother's and the father's parental rights to all six children.

I. Grounds for Termination.

Both parents challenge the evidence supporting the termination of their respective parental rights. The juvenile court terminated each parent's rights to each of the children pursuant to Iowa Code sections 232.116(1)(d), (f), and (i) (2013). We need only find grounds to terminate under one of the subsections cited by the juvenile court to affirm. In re S.R., 600 N.W.2d 63, 64 (Iowa Ct. App. 1999). ...


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