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In re A.G.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 6, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF A.G. and R.G., Minor Children, M.G., Mother, Appellant, D.A., Father of R.G., Appellant, T.P., Father of A.G., Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Page County, Amy L. Zacharias, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and two fathers separately appeal the termination of their parental rights.

          Justin R. Wyatt of Woods & Wyatt, P.L.L.C., Glenwood, for appellant mother.

          Sarah M. Hart of Reisinger Booth and Associations, P.C., L.L.O., Omaha, Nebraska, for appellant father D.A.

          C. Kenneth Whitacre of C. Kenneth Whitacre Law Office, Glenwood, for appellant father T.P.

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

          Vicki R. Danley, Sidney, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          VOGEL, Presiding Judge.

         The mother of R.G., born in 2014, and A.G., born in 2016, appeals the termination of her parental rights. R.G.'s father appeals the termination of his parental rights to R.G., and A.G.'s father appeals the termination of his parental rights to A.G.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         The family came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) most recently in April 2017 due to allegations the mother was using methamphetamine while taking care of the children. Previously, R.G. was adjudicated a child in need of assistance (CINA) in February 2016 in Montgomery County upon concerns the mother was using methamphetamine. The DHS offered the mother services including substance-abuse treatment, mental-health evaluations, and family programs. A.G. was born in May 2016, and for approximately one year, the mother attended services sporadically, but sufficiently enough to have the CINA case closed in February 2017. The mother's success was short-lived as the DHS removed the children from their mother's care in April 2017 upon allegations the mother was again using methamphetamine while caring for the children. The DHS placed R.G. with the maternal cousins with whom she had previously stayed during the DHS's first involvement. A.G. was initially placed with the maternal grandmother but later transitioned to placement with the maternal cousins and R.G.

         On July 8, 2017, the children were adjudicated CINA under Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n) (2017). Reunification services were offered to all three parents.

         The State filed a petition for termination of all three parents' parental rights on December 28, 2017, after no parent demonstrated sufficient compliance or progress to be able to care for the children. After a February 15, 2018 hearing, at which all three parents testified, the district court entered an order terminating the parental rights of the mother, R.G.'s father, and A.G.'s father pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e) and (h) (2017).

         The mother and both fathers appeal.[1]

         II. Standard of Review

         We review termination of parental rights proceedings de novo, giving deference to the district court's findings but not being bound by them. ...


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