IN THE INTEREST OF M.C., Minor Child, K.S., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, DeDra L.
mother appeals from an order terminating her parental rights
pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 232 (2017).
M. Wright, Forest City, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Crystal L. Ely of North Iowa Youth Law Center, Mason City,
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
juvenile court terminated Kelly's parental rights in her
child, M.C., pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e) and
(h) (2017). On appeal, Kelly argues: (1) there was not clear
and convincing evidence to terminate her rights pursuant to
section 232.116(1)(e); (2) the Iowa Department of Human
Services (IDHS) failed to make reasonable efforts towards
reunification; (3) the juvenile court should have granted a
six-month extension of time to work toward reunification; (4)
termination of Kelly's parental rights was not in the
best interest of M.C.; and (5) the juvenile court should have
preserved the parent-child relationship pursuant to section
review de novo proceedings terminating parental rights.
See In re A.M., 843 N.W.2d 100, 110 (Iowa 2014). The
legal framework for termination appeals is well established
and need not be repeated in full herein. See id.;
In re M.W., 876 N.W.2d 212, 219-20 (Iowa 2016)
(stating review is de novo and setting forth the applicable
first challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting
termination of her parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code
section 232.116(1)(e). But she does not challenge the
sufficiency of the evidence authorizing termination of her
parental rights pursuant to section 232.116(1)(h). "When
the juvenile court terminates parental rights on more than
one statutory ground, we may affirm the juvenile court's
order on any ground we find supported by the record."
In re A.B., 815 N.W.2d 764, 774 (Iowa 2012).
conclude there is clear and convincing evidence supporting
the termination of Kelly's rights pursuant to section
232.116(1)(h). As relevant here, the State must prove the
child cannot be returned to the custody of the child's
parent at the time of the termination. See Iowa Code
232.116(1)(h)(4). To make this determination, we ask if the
child would remain a child in need of assistance or would be
exposed to harm amounting to a new
child-in-need-of-assistance adjudication. See id.;
In re M.M., 483 N.W.2d 812, 814 (Iowa 1992).
"We have interpreted this to require clear and
convincing evidence the children would be exposed to an
appreciable risk of adjudicatory harm if returned to the
parent's custody at the time of the termination
hearing." In re E.H., No. 17-0615, 2017 WL
2684420, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. June 21, 2017).
has been involved with this family for some period of time
with little success in resolving the issues giving rise to
State intervention. Kelly is the biological mother of A.C.
and M.C. A.C. was removed from Kelly's care in October
2015, shortly after A.C. tested positive for controlled
substances. M.C. was born in July 2016. Like A.C., M.C.
tested positive for controlled substances. M.C. was removed
from Kelly's care two days after birth and placed in the
same foster home as A.C. and has resided there since birth.
Despite the receipt of numerous services, Kelly failed to
show the ability to provide care for her children, and her
rights in ...