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In re C.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 17, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF C.C., R.C., and L.C., T.W., Mother, Appellant, J.C., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Phillip J. Tabor, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and a father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their children.

          Judd J. Parker of Parker Law Office, Clinton, for appellant mother.

          Barbara E. Maness, Davenport, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and David M. Van Compernolle, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Brian P. Donnelly of Mayer, Lonergan & Rolfes, Clinton, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and McDonald, JJ. Tabor, J., takes no part.

          DOYLE, Judge.

         A mother and a father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their three children. Each challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting termination. We review these claims de novo, giving weight to the juvenile court's fact findings though we are not bound by them. See In re A.B., 815 N.W.2d 764, 773 (Iowa 2012).

         The children came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in August 2015. In September 2015, after both parents tested positive for methamphetamine, the children were placed in foster care. The juvenile court adjudicated the children to be in need of assistance (CINA) in October 2015.

         The DHS provided the parents with services designed to reunite the family, but neither was able to progress as needed to have the children returned to their care. The mother did successfully complete substance abuse treatment, but she relapsed and was under the influence of methamphetamine while caring for the children in October 2016. The father never completed substance abuse treatment, and he reportedly attended visits with the children while under the influence. Neither parent submitted to drug testing in the months leading up to the termination hearing. Both missed visits with the children. Neither adequately followed through with recommended mental health treatment.

         Due to the parents' lack of progress by the end of 2016, the State filed a petition seeking to terminate both the mother's and the father's parental rights to the children. Following a February 2017 hearing, the juvenile court entered its order terminating the father's parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d) and (f) (2016). It terminated the mother's parental rights to the children pursuant to section 232.116(1)(d), (f), and (l). Both parents separately appeal.

         Before a court may terminate parental rights, the State must prove by clear and convincing evidence the existence of one ground for termination listed under section 232.116(1). See In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 706 (Iowa 2010). When the juvenile court terminates parental rights on multiple statutory grounds, we may affirm so long as the evidence supports termination on one of the grounds. See id. at 707. The court here terminated the mother's and the father's parental rights to all three children under ...


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