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In re N.G.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 5, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF N.G., Minor Child, B.S., 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 Polk County, Louise Jacobs, District Associate Judge. B.S. appeals the district court order terminating her parental rights.

Steven L. Cooper of Burdette Law Firm, P.C., Clive, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, John P. Sarcone, County Attorney, and Annette Taylor and Kevin B. Patrick, Assistant County Attorneys, for appellee.

Kimberly Ayotte of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

OPINION

BOWER, J.

B.S. appeals the district court order terminating her parental rights. She argues there was insufficient evidence to justify termination, termination is not in the best interests of the child, and statutory exceptions apply that do not require termination. We find sufficient evidence to justify termination and termination is in the best interests of the child. We affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

This case is the result of a second child in need of assistance (CINA) petition filed for the benefit of B.S.'s child, who was two and a half years of age at the time of the termination hearing. The first CINA case, filed in July 2011, was closed in March 2012 after B.S. successfully participated in services. The child was removed for a second time on January 25, 2013, after B.S. left the child with relatives following a drug relapse. B.S. failed to participate in any offered services but continued to use methamphetamine until her arrest for several criminal charges in June 2013.[1] On October 13, 2013, the date of the termination hearing, B.S. was still in jail as her criminal charges remained unresolved. B.S. last had contact with the child on February 23, 2013.

The district court terminated B.S.'s parental rights based upon five separate statutory provisions. The court determined the child has been abandoned; the child has been abused and the circumstances continue despite the offer of services; the parent has failed to maintain meaningful contact with the child despite being given the opportunity to do so; the child is under three years of age and has been removed from the parent's custody for at least six of the past twelve months with no possibility of return; and the parent has a serious substance abuse problem preventing the child from being returned in a reasonable period of time. Iowa Code § 232.116(1)(b), (d), (e), (h), and ( l ) (2013).

II. Standard of Review

Our review of termination proceedings is de novo. In re A.B., 815 N.W.2d 764, 773 (Iowa 2012). We give weight to the factual findings of the district court, particularly on matters ...


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