IN THE INTEREST OF J.R. and E.W., Minor Children, K.P., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Benton County, Susan F.
Flaherty, Associate Juvenile Judge.
mother appeals from the order terminating her parental
Patricia J. Meier of Nidey Erdahl Tindal & Fisher,
P.L.C., Cedar Rapids, for appellant mother. Thomas J. Miller,
Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant Attorney General,
for appellee State.
W. Davison, Cedar Rapids, for minor children.
B. Fischer of Robert B. Fischer Law Firm, Vinton, for father
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.
DANILSON, Chief Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights,
arguing termination is not in the children's best
interests due to the closeness of the parent-child bond and
the fact that the children are in a relative placement.
review termination proceedings de novo. In re A.M.,
843 N.W.2d 100, 110 (Iowa 2014).
of parental rights under chapter 232 follows a three-step
analysis." In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 706
(Iowa 2010). First, we determine if a ground for termination
under section 232.116(1) has been established. Id.
at 706-07. We then apply the statutory best-interest
framework set out in section 232.116(2) to decide if the
grounds for termination should result in a termination of
parental rights. Id. at 707. Finally, we consider if
any statutory exceptions set out in section 232.116(3) should
serve to preclude termination of parental rights.
mother does not contest that grounds for termination exist,
we need not discuss this step. See In re P.L., 778
N.W.2d 33, 40 (Iowa 2010).
statute informs us that in determining whether termination is
in the children's best interests, we are to "give
primary consideration to the child[ren]'s safety, to the
best placement for furthering the long-term nurturing and
growth of the child[ren], and to the physical, mental, and
emotional condition and needs of the child[ren]." Iowa
Code § 232.116(2). Determining the best interests of the
children "requires considering what the future holds for
the child[ren] if returned to the parents." In re
C.K., 558 N.W.2d 170, 172 (Iowa 1997). "When making
this decision, we look to the parent['s] past performance
because it may indicate the quality of care the parent is
capable of providing in the future." Id.
the mother continues to struggle with a long history of
unresolved mental-health and substance-abuse issues, which
struggle places the children at risk of inadequate
supervision. The mother contends: "Given the closeness
of the relationship between [the mother] and the children,
and the fact that [the mother] has only just begun to
seriously address her mental health, it would be in the
children's best interests to afford [the mother] several
more months to make progress." We disagree.
children have been waiting longer than the statutory time
frame, and the mother has only "just begun" to
address her issues. "[O]ur legislature has carefully
constructed a time frame to provide a balance between the
parent's efforts and the child[ren]'s long-term best
interests." D.W., 791 N.W.2d at 707. Waiting
for fourteen ...