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In re N.M.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 19, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF N.M. and J.B., Minor Children, B.B., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F. Staudt, Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her children.

          Joshua M. Moon of Dutton, Braun, Staack & Hellman, P.L.C., Waterloo, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Timothy M. Baldwin of Juvenile Public Defender's Office, Waterloo, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and McDonald, JJ.

          DOYLE, JUDGE.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her children. She contends the State failed to prove the grounds for termination. She seeks additional time to prove she can safely parent the children. Upon our de novo review, see In re J.S., 846 N.W.2d 36, 40 (Iowa 2014), we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) became involved with this family due in part to the mother's history of relationships with men who engage in domestic violence. Before J.B. and N.M. were born, the juvenile court removed two older children from the mother's care as a result of that history, the unsafe condition of her home, and failure to supervise the children. The juvenile court has since terminated the mother's parental rights to the older children.

         In spite of the services the mother had already been receiving from the DHS, when J.B. was two weeks old, the mother left the child in her apartment unsupervised. The mother also exposed J.B. to domestic violence in the home. The mother consented to J.B.'s removal from her care and adjudication as a child in need of assistance (CINA). N.M. was removed from the mother's care at birth due to ongoing concerns about the mother's ability to provide safe parenting. The mother later stipulated to N.M.'s CINA adjudication and placement with the DHS.

         The State filed petitions to terminate the mother's parental rights to J.B. and N.M. After a hearing, the juvenile court entered its order terminating the mother's parental rights to both children pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(g) and (h) (2016). The mother appeals.

         II. Analysis.

         Before the court may terminate parental rights, it must find clear and convincing evidence supporting one of the grounds for termination listed under section 232.116(1). See In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 706 (Iowa 2010). The district court terminated the mother's parental rights under section 232.116(1)(g) and (h). We may affirm the ...


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