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In re C.S.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 19, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF C.S., Minor Child, B.M., Mother, Appellant

Editorial Note:

This opinion is subject to modification or correction by the court and is not final until the time for rehearing or further review has passed.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachel Seymour, District Associate Judge. A mother appeals from an order terminating the parental rights between her and her child.

Bryan J. Tingle, Des Moines, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, John P. Sarcone, County Attorney, and Jennifer Galloway, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

James Mayer of Law Offices of Michael H. Said, P.C., Des Moines, for father.

Michael Bandstra, Des Moines, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

OPINION

MCDONALD, J.

A mother, Brooke, appeals an order terminating the parental rights between her and her child, C.S., pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d), (e), and (h) (2011). At the termination hearing, the father, Seth, consented to termination of his parental rights, and he has not appealed. We review de novo an order terminating parental rights. See In re L.G., 532 N.W.2d 478, 480 (Iowa Ct. App. 1995). We examine both the facts and law, and we adjudicate anew those issues properly preserved and presented. See id .

Termination of parental rights under chapter 232 follows a three-step analysis. See In re P.L., 778 N.W.2d 33, 39 (Iowa 2010). First, the court must determine if a ground for termination under section 232.116(1) has been established. See id . Second, if a ground for termination is established, the court must apply the framework set out in section 232.116(2) to decide if proceeding with termination is in the best interests of the child. See id . Third, if the statutory best-interests framework supports termination of parental rights, the court must consider if any statutory exceptions set forth in section 232.116(3) should serve to preclude the termination of parental rights. See id . In this case, Brooke does not challenge the evidence supporting the grounds for termination of her parental rights. Instead, she contends that termination of her parental rights is not in the child's best interests and that a statutory exception should preclude termination.

We begin our analysis with the first issue raised--whether termination of Brooke's parental rights is in C.S.'s best interests. In making the determination of whether termination of parental rights is in the best interests of the child, the court must consider the relevant statutory factors. See Iowa Code § 232.116(2). Further:

In seeking out those best interests, we look to the child's long range as well as immediate interests. This requires considering what the future holds for the child if returned to the parents. When making this decision, we look to the parents' past performance because it may ...

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