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In re L.P.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 18, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF L.P. and L.P., Minor Children, M.S., Mother, Appellant, Q.P., Father, Appellant.

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

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

          Katherine M. Hartman Eastvold, Coralville, for appellant mother.

          John J. Bishop, Cedar Rapids, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Meredith L. Lamberti, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Melody J. Butz of Butz Law Offices, P.C., Center Point, guardian ad litem for minor children.

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

          VOGEL, Presiding Judge.

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

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         L.P. and L.P., twins born in September 2016, came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS), upon a denial of critical care for multiple injuries each girl sustained in December 2016. The children were removed in December 2016 and were placed with their great-grandmother for several months. The children were then placed in foster care in August 2017, where they remained at the time of the termination hearing. Since the removal, the mother and father sporadically participated in services. The mother consistently attended visitations, but she routinely disregarded the DHS's policy allowing only pre-approved visitors around the children. The DHS was adamant with its policy because the cause of the girls' initial injuries was not definitively known. The father completed a substance-abuse evaluation but did not consistently visit with the children or attend parenting classes.

         On October 12, 2017, due to the parents' lack of progress in attending to the circumstances that led to the DHS's involvement, the State filed a petition to terminate the parents' parental rights. The matter came on for hearing on January 18 and 19, 2018. The district court left the record open until March 22, 2018, when it received a final witness for the State who was not available on the prior hearing dates. On May 2, the district court ordered the parents' parental rights terminated under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) and (i) (2017). The mother and father separately appeal.

          II. Standard of Review

         We review termination proceedings de novo, giving weight to, but not being bound by, the district court's fact findings. In re M.W., 876 N.W.2d 212, 219 (Iowa 2016). There must be clear and ...


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