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In re P.P.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 12, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF P.P. AND G.P., Minor Children, M.M., Mother, Appellant

Editorial Note:

This decision is published in table format in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Annette L. Boehlje, District Associate Judge. A mother appeals from the juvenile court's order terminating her parental rights.

Joseph R. Lapointe, Mason City, for appellant mother.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, and Carlyle D. Dalen, County Attorney, for appellee State.

Mark Young, Mason City, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

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

OPINION

DOYLE, J.

A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to two of her children, P.P. and G.P., both born in 2006. She contends the State failed to prove the grounds for termination of her parental rights and termination of her parental rights was not in the children's best interest. She also argues the juvenile court abused its discretion in not applying Iowa Code section 232.116(3)(a) and (c) (2013) to avoid termination of her parental rights. We review her claims de novo. See In re A.B., 815 N.W.2d 764, 773 (Iowa 2012).

The mother's parental rights were terminated pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1) paragraphs (f) and ( l ). We need only find termination proper under one ground to affirm. In re R.R.K., 544 N.W.2d 274, 276 (Iowa Ct. App. 1995). We choose to focus our attention on section 232.116(1) paragraph (f), which provides termination is appropriate where:

(1) The child is four years of age or older.

(2) The child has been adjudicated a child in need of assistance [(CINA)] pursuant to section 232.96.

(3) The child has been removed from the physical custody of the child's parents for at least twelve of the last eighteen months, or for the last twelve consecutive months and any trial period at home has been less than thirty days.
(4) There is clear and convincing evidence that at the present time the child cannot be returned to the custody of the child's parents as provided in section 232.102.

There is no question that the children meet the first three requirements. Both were over four years old at the time of trial, had been adjudicated CINA in November of 2012, and had been out of the mother's custody since October 2012. The only debatable issue is whether they could be returned to the mother's custody under section 232.102 at the time of the hearing. Iowa Code ยง 232.116(1)(f)(4). Upon our de novo review, we agree with the juvenile court's determination ...


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