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In re E.M.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 22, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF E.M., Minor Child, A.O., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Charles D. Fagan, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. AFFIRMED.

          Vanessa E. Strazdas of Strazdas Law, Council Bluffs, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and John McCormally, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Roberta J. P. Megel of the State Public Defender's Office, Council Bluffs, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.

          DOYLE, JUDGE.

         E.M. was born in August 2015. Almost two years later, the juvenile court terminated his mother's parental rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) and (l) (2017).[1] The mother now appeals, challenging both grounds for termination found by the juvenile court. Insofar as our review requires statutory construction, our review is for correction of errors at law. See In re C.F.-H., 889 N.W.2d 201, 203 (Iowa 2016). Otherwise, our review is de novo. See In re M.W., 876 N.W.2d 212, 219 (Iowa 2016).

         I. Discussion.

         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).[2] See id. "On appeal, we may affirm the . . . 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). After reviewing the record in this case de novo, we conclude grounds for termination exist under section 232.116(1)(h). Paragraph (h) of section 232.116(1) requires the State to prove each of the following four elements:

(1)The child is three years of age or younger.
(2)The child has been adjudicated a child in need of assistance [(CINA)] pursuant to section 232.96.
(3)The child has been removed from the physical custody of the child's parents for at least six months of the last twelve months, or for the last six consecutive months and any trial period at home has been less than thirty days.
(4) There is clear and convincing evidence that the child cannot be returned to the custody of the child's parents as provided in ...

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