IN THE INTEREST OF S.B., Minor Child, M.B., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Susan F.
Flaherty, Associate Juvenile Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.
Kristin L. Denniger, Cedar Rapids, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and John B. McCormally,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
M. Railsback of Railsback Law Office, Cedar Rapids, guardian
ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.
appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child
S.B., born in February 2017. She challenges the grounds for
termination found by the juvenile court, and she contends
termination of her parental rights is not in the child's
best interests. Upon our review, we affirm.
Standard of Review and Statutory Framework.
rights may be terminated under Iowa Code chapter 232 (2017)
if the following three conditions are true: (1) a
"ground for termination under section 232.116(1) has
been established" by clear and convincing evidence, (2)
"the best-interest framework as laid out in section
232.116(2) supports the termination of parental rights,"
and (3) none of the "exceptions in section 232.116(3)
apply to preclude termination of parental
rights." In re A.S., 906 N.W.2d 467,
472-73 (Iowa 2018). Our review is de novo, which means we
give the juvenile court's findings of fact weight,
especially the court's credibility assessments, but we
are not bound by those findings. See id. at 472.
"For evidence to be 'clear and convincing,' it
is merely necessary that there be no serious or substantial
doubt about the correctness of the conclusion drawn from
it." Raim v. Stancel, 339 N.W.2d 621, 624 (Iowa
Ct. App. 1983); see also In re M.W., 876 N.W.2d 212,
219 (Iowa 2016).
Grounds for Termination.
juvenile court found the State proved the grounds for
termination set forth in Iowa Code section 232.116(1)
paragraphs (h) and (l), which the mother contests on
appeal. When the juvenile court finds more than one ground
for termination under section 232.116(1), "we may affirm
. . . on any ground we find supported by the record."
In re A.B., 815 N.W.2d 764, 774 (Iowa 2012). We
focus our analysis on paragraph (h).
regard to section 232.116(1)(h), the mother challenges the
sufficiency of the evidence supporting the fourth element of
the paragraph-that the child could not be returned to her
custody at the time of the termination hearing. See
Iowa Code § 232.116(1)(h)(4) ("There is clear and
convincing evidence that the child cannot be returned to the
custody of the child's parents as provided in section
232.102 at the present time."). To satisfy its burden of
proof, the State must establish "[t]he child cannot be
protected from some harm which would justify the adjudication
of the child as a child in need of assistance."
Id. § 232.102(5)(a)(2); accord In re
A.M.S., 419 N.W.2d 723, 725 (Iowa 1988). "At the
present time" refers to the time of the termination
hearing. See In re A.M., 843 N.W.2d 100, 111 (Iowa
2014). The mother argues the State failed to prove that
element, explaining she "indicated at trial that her
wish for the case was to have [the ...