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In re Z.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 20, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF Z.C., Minor Child, G.C., Father, Appellant, H.S., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Phillip J. Tabor, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their child.

          J. David Zimmerman, Clinton, for appellant father. Jennifer M. Triner Olsen of Olsen Law Office, Davenport, for appellant mother.

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

          Brian P. Donnelly of Mayer, Lonergan & Rolfes, Clinton, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ. Tabor, J., takes no part.

          VOGEL, Presiding Judge.

         The mother and father separately appeal the district court's termination of their parental rights to their child, Z.C. Both parents contend the State failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence the grounds to terminate their parental rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d), (g), (h), and (i) (2018). The mother also asserts termination is not in the child's best interests and that she has a strong bond with Z.C, which should preclude termination. The father asserts he should have been given additional time to work towards reunification. Because the district court properly terminated both parents' rights under paragraph (h), the parents have unresolved substance-abuse and mental-health issues resulting in Z.C. being unable to be placed in either parent's care, termination is in Z.C.'s best interests, and no factors preclude termination, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         The family came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in May 2017 after Z.C. was born prematurely and tested positive for THC.[1]Z.C. remained in the hospital until July 10 due to complications from his premature birth, including eating "spells" where he would lose oxygen during feedings. Upon Z.C.'s discharge, he was removed from the parents' care and placed with a biological sibling in a foster home where he remained during these proceedings.

         On July 25, Z.C. was adjudicated CINA under Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(b), (c)(1), (c)(2), (g), (l), (n), and (o) (2017).

         Following Z.C.'s removal, the DHS offered services to both parents. The mother and father were required to obtain mental-health and substance-abuse evaluations. They then sporadically attended treatment for their mental-health and substance-abuse issues. Further, the parents participated in some parenting services until the end of November when they stopped attending and ceased visitation with Z.C. After neither parent exhibited sustained progress toward reunification, January 18, 2018, the State petitioned to have both parents' parental rights to Z.C. terminated. The matter was heard on March 15, 2018, after which the mother's and father's parental rights were terminated under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d), (g), (h), and (i) (2018).

         The mother and father separately appeal.

         II. ...


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