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In re R.O.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 20, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF R.O., Minor Child, M.C., Mother, Appellant, R.O., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Barbara H. Liesveld, District Associate Judge.

         The mother and father appeal separately the termination of their parental rights.

          Annette F. Martin, Cedar Rapids, for appellant mother.

          Craig Elliott, Anamosa, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Ryan P. Tang of Law Office of Ryan P. Tang, P.C., Marion, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and McDonald, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, JUDGE.

         The mother and biological father of R.O. appeal the termination of their parental rights to the child.[1] The mother maintains she should have been given additional time to work toward reunification. The father maintains the State failed to make reasonable efforts to reunify R.O. and claims this failure precludes the termination of his parental rights.

         I. Standard of Review.

         "We review termination of parental rights de novo." In re T.S., 868 N.W.2d 425, 431 (Iowa Ct. App. 2015). "We will uphold an order terminating parental rights where there is clear and convincing evidence of the statutory grounds for termination." Id. Evidence is clear and convincing when there is no serious or substantial doubt as to the correctness of the conclusions of law drawn from the evidence." Id.

         II. Mother's Appeal.

         A. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         At the time R.O. was born, in the spring of 2013, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) was already involved with the mother and her other children[2] due to the mother's ongoing issues with methamphetamine and her mental health. R.O. was born with marijuana in his system, and he was removed from the mother's care within a few days of his birth. He remained out of the mother's care until September 2013. Even after his return, the CINA proceedings continued until they were ultimately closed in October 2014.

         The present case began in September 2015, after the mother was arrested for possession of methamphetamine. R.O. remained in the mother's care until November, when she went to jail. The removal was short-lived, and R.O. was returned to the ...


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