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In re O.N.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 16, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF O.N. and A.N., Minor Children, J.N., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Colin J. Witt, District Associate Judge.

         Mother appeals from an order terminating her parental rights in her children pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 232 (2016). AFFIRMED.

          Kevin E. Hobbs, West Des Moines, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State. Nicole Garbis Nolan of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.

          MCDONALD, Judge.

         The juvenile court terminated Jessau's parental rights in her two children pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2016). In this appeal, Jessau challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the statutory ground authorizing the termination of her parental rights, challenges the determination that 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.[1]

         I.

         Termination-of-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.

         II.

         A.

         Jessau challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the termination of her parental rights pursuant to section 232.116(1)(f). Under this provision, the State must prove by clear and convincing evidence for each child:

(1) The child is four years of age or older.
(2) The child has been adjudicated a child in need of assistance pursuant ...

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