IN THE INTEREST OF S.B., A.B., Z.B., A.B., and D.B., Minor Children, J.S., Mother, Appellant, M.B., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Cass County, Amy Zacharias,
District Associate Judge.
mother and father of five children separately appeal the
termination of their parental rights. AFFIRMED ON BOTH
K. Emerson Peters of Karen K. Emerson Peters Law Office,
Atlantic, for appellant mother. Justin R. Wyatt of Woods
& Wyatt, P.L.L.C., Glenwood, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary K. Wickman, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
L. Mailander of Mailander Law Office, Anita, guardian ad
litem for minor children.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
child-welfare appeal involves five siblings, now ranging in
age from seven to twelve years. They were removed from the
care of their parents, Josie and Matthew, in August 2015
because the parents were using methamphetamine and the family
was homeless. The juvenile court terminated parental rights
in February 2017. In challenging the termination ruling, both
parents raise the same three claims: (1) the State offered
insufficient evidence the children could not be returned to
their care, (2) the State failed to make reasonable efforts
to facilitate reunification, and (3) termination was not in
the best interests of the children.
reviewing the record, we reach the same conclusions as the
juvenile court. The parents struggle with substance-abuse
and mental-health diagnoses that they have not adequately
addressed while their children have been out of their care.
According to an experienced social worker assigned to the
case, the parents have made only minimal progress toward
stability over the course of the case. We find clear and
convincing evidence supports terminating the rights of both
parents; the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) has made
reasonable efforts to reunify the family, but the parents
have been inconsistent with visitation. The best interests of
these school-aged children will be served by moving toward
adoption. Accordingly, we affirm the termination order.
Statutory Grounds for Termination
juvenile court terminated Matthew's parental rights under
Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) and (l) (2016). When
the juvenile court relies on more than one statutory ground,
we may affirm the order on any ground supported by clear and
convincing evidence. See D.W., 791 N.W.2d at 707. In
his petition on appeal, Matthew challenges only paragraph
(f). Matthew's failure to advance an argument concerning
subsection (l) waives any claim of error related to
that ground. See Hyler v. Garner, 548 N.W.2d 864,
870 (Iowa 1996) ("[O]ur review is confined to those
propositions relied upon by the appellant for reversal on
appeal."). Therefore, we affirm the termination of his
parental rights under paragraph (l).
juvenile court terminated Josie's parental rights under
section 232.116(1)(f). To terminate under that section, the
court must find all of the following have occurred:
(1) The child is four years of age or older.
(2) The child has been adjudicated a child in need of
assistance pursuant ...