IN THE INTEREST OF J.C. and J.S., Minor Children, J.S., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Louise M.
Jacobs, District Associate Judge.
appeals from an order terminating her parental rights issued
pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 232 (2016).
Magdalena Reese of Cooper, Goedicke, Reimer, & Reese,
P.C., West Des Moines, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
M. Hardisty of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, guardian ad
litem for minor children.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and McDonald, JJ.
juvenile court terminated Julie's parental rights in her
two children pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h)
(2016). In this appeal, Julie challenges the sufficiency of
the evidence supporting the termination of her parental
rights, contends she should be given more time to reunify
with her children, challenges whether termination of her
parental rights was in the best interest of the children, and
contends permissive considerations should preclude the
termination of her parental rights.
proceedings are reviewed de novo. In re A.M., 843
N.W.2d 100, 110 (Iowa 2014). The statutory framework is well
established. Pursuant to section 232.116(1), the State must
prove a statutory ground authorizing the termination of a
parent's rights. See In re P.L., 778 N.W.2d 33,
39 (Iowa 2010). Second, pursuant to section 232.116(2), the
State must prove termination of parental rights is in the
best interest of the child. See id. Third, if the
State has proved both the existence of statutory harm and
termination of a parent's rights is in the best interest
of the child, the juvenile court must consider whether any
countervailing considerations set forth in section 232.116(3)
should nonetheless preclude termination of parental rights.
See id. These countervailing considerations are
permissive, not mandatory. See A.M., 843 N.W.2d at
113. "The court has discretion, based on the unique
circumstances of each case and the best interests of the
child, whether to apply the factors in this section to save
the parent-child relationship." In re D.S., 806
N.W.2d 458, 475 (Iowa Ct. App. 2011) (citing In re
C.L.H., 500 N.W.2d 449, 454 (Iowa Ct. App. 1993)).
challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the
termination of her parental rights pursuant to section
232.116(1)(h). Under this provision, the State must ...