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In re K.T.-L.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 20, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF K.T.-L., K.T.-L., and K.L., Minor Children, L.L., Mother, Appellant, L.T., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Brian L. Michaelson, Judge.

         A mother and a father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their children. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.

          Amanda Van Wyhe of Van Wyhe Law Firm & Mediation Center, PLC, Sioux City, for appellant mother.

          Zachary S. Hindman of Mayne, Arneson, Hindman, Hisey & Daane, Sioux City, for appellant father.

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

          Michelle M. Hynes of Juvenile Law Center, Sioux City, guardian ad litem for minor children.

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

          DOYLE, Judge.

         This appeal concerns three children, two of whom are eligible for enrollment in the Yankton Sioux Tribe. The juvenile court terminated parental rights to the children pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 236 (2017) and the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), see generally Iowa Code ch. 232B. The mother of the three children and the father of the two youngest children have separately appealed the termination of their parental rights.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The family's involvement with the juvenile court began in 2012 when the oldest child was adjudicated a child in need of assistance (CINA) due to concerns about the mother's alcohol and substance abuse. The Iowa Department of Human Services offered the mother services to address those issues. In spite of those efforts, the mother continued abusing drugs and the middle child tested positive for methamphetamine at birth in 2014. In 2015, the juvenile court ordered both children be removed from the home and adjudicated the middle child to be a CINA. The youngest child was born in 2016. Shortly thereafter, the State petitioned to terminate parental rights to the two oldest children. About six weeks later, the parties agreed to suspend the termination proceedings and a trial placement began to transition the two oldest children back to the home. The petition for termination of parental rights was dismissed in November 2016. In January 2017, both the mother and the father tested positive for methamphetamine. The juvenile court ordered the removal of all three children and adjudicated the youngest child to be a CINA.

         In March 2017, the State again petitioned to terminate parental rights to the two oldest children. A petition to terminate parental rights to the youngest child followed in June 2017. During two days of hearing held in August and September 2017, the juvenile court heard testimony and received evidence concerning the petitions for termination of parental rights to all three children. The following month, the court entered an order terminating the mother's parental rights to her children pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d), (f), [1] (h), [2] and (l) and terminating the father's parental rights to the two younger children pursuant to section 232.116(1)(d), (h), and (l). Both the mother and the father appealed.

         II. Scope and Standard of Review.

         We review proceedings concerning the termination of parental rights de novo. See In re D.W., 79 ...


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