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In re N.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 22, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF N.C. and D.C., Minor children, D.C., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Colin J. Witt, District Associate Judge.

         A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his children. AFFIRMED.

          Seth J. Harrington of Harrington Law Office, Clive, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tabitha J. Gardner, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Erin M. Hardisty of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor children.

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

          DOYLE, Judge.

         A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his children. He claims the State failed to prove the grounds for termination and termination is contrary to the children's best interests. Upon our de novo review, see In re A.M., 843 N.W.2d 100, 110 (Iowa 2014), we affirm the order terminating the father's parental rights.

          N.C. and D.C. were removed from their parents' care and placed with a relative after it was discovered that the parents had been caring for the children while under the influence of methamphetamine. Both parents had a long history of methamphetamine use, which they continued to use for many months after the children's adjudication as in need of assistance despite being recommended and offered services to diminish their drug dependency. The father entered in-patient substance abuse treatment in October 2016. He was successfully discharged in December 2016, but he failed to participate in aftercare treatment after his discharge and only visited the children a handful of times in November and December 2016, following a six-month absence from their lives.

         In a January 2017 order, the juvenile court terminated the father's parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d) and (h) (2016).[1] We need only find termination proper on one ground to affirm. See In re P.L., 778 N.W.2d 33, 39 (Iowa 2010). Parental rights may be terminated under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) where:

(1) The child[ren are] three years of age or younger.
(2) The child[ren have] been adjudicated [children] in need of assistance pursuant to section 232.96.
(3) The child[ren have] been removed from the physical custody of the child[ren]'s parents for at least six months of the last twelve months, or for the last six consecutive months and any trial period at home has been less than thirty days.
(4) There is clear and convincing evidence that the child[ren] cannot be returned to the custody of the child[ren]'s parents as provided in ...

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