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In re Z.Y.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 2, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF Z.Y., G.Y., K.Y., and G.Y., Minor Children H.Y., Mother, Appellant G.Y., Father of G.Y., K.Y., and G.Y, Appellant S.Y, Father of Z.Y., Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Nancy S. Tabor, Judge.

         Parents appeal the termination of their parental rights. AFFIRMED ON ALL APPEALS.

          Patrick J. Kelly, Bettendorf, for appellant mother.

          Michael A. Woods of Zamora, Taylor, Woods & Frederick, Davenport, for appellant father G.Y.

          Barbara E. Maness, Davenport, for appellant father S.Y.

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

          Neill A. Kroeger, LeClaire, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ. Tabor, J., takes no part.

          DOYLE, JUDGE.

         H.Y. is the mother of four children; her eldest was born in 2009 and her youngest in 2015. S.Y. is the father of the oldest child, and G.Y. is the father of the three younger children. In May 2017, the juvenile court terminated the parents' parental rights to their children, [1] finding grounds for termination under several paragraphs of Iowa Code section 232.116(1) (2017), including paragraph (f) as to the children aged four and older, and paragraph (h) as to the child under four.

         Each parent appeals the court's order. The mother challenges the grounds for termination found by the court and the court's determination that termination of parental rights was in the children's best interests, arguing she should have been given additional time for reunification. G.Y. similarly challenges the court's grounds-for-termination and best-interests findings, but he also claims he was not provided reasonable reunification services. S.Y. likewise maintains he was not provided reasonable services for reunification and argues termination of his parental rights was not in his child's best interests, but he only challenges an element of one of the four grounds for termination found by the juvenile court.

         Parental rights may be terminated under Iowa Code chapter 232 if the following three conditions are true: (1) a "ground for termination under section 232.116(1) has been established" by clear and convincing evidence, (2) "the best-interest framework as laid out in section 232.116(2) supports the termination of parental rights, " and (3) none of the "exceptions in section 232.116(3) apply to preclude termination of parental rights." In re M.W., 876 N.W.2d 212, 219-20 (Iowa 2016). However, prior to termination of a parent's parental rights, the State must make reasonable efforts "to make it possible for the child to safely return to the family's home." Iowa Code § 232.102(6)(b); In re C.H., 652 N.W.2d 144, 147 (Iowa 2002). Our review is de novo, and, where the juvenile court had found several statutory grounds for termination, "we may affirm the juvenile court's termination order on any ground that we find supported by clear and convincing evidence." In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 707 (Iowa 2010).

         Grounds for Termination and Reasonable Efforts.

         Each parent argues the State failed to prove the children could not be returned to that parent's care at the time of the termination-of-parental-rights hearing, an element the State must prove in paragraphs (f) and (h) of section 232.116(1) to support termination under those grounds. Additionally, S.Y. and G.Y. each argue he should have been permitted to have a trial placement of the children in his home as part of providing him reasonable services. Upon our de novo review of the record, we find that reasonable efforts were provided to each parent by the State and the Iowa Department of Human Services (Department) for reunification ...


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