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In re S.P.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 15, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF S.P., Minor Child, C.P, Guardian, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Colin J. Witt, District Associate Judge.

         The maternal grandmother and guardian of a child appeals the termination of the mother's parental rights and the termination of her guardianship.

          Randall L. Jackson of Law Office of Randall L. Jackson, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          John P. Jellineck, Juvenile Public Defender, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         The maternal grandmother and guardian of a child, C.P., appeals the termination of the mother's parental rights and the termination of her guardianship. We do not address C.P.'s claims regarding the permanency order. We affirm the juvenile court's order terminating the rights of the parents. We vacate the portion of the termination order addressing C.P.'s guardianship because the juvenile court did not have subject matter jurisdiction to address the issue.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         B.P. and W.D. are the parents of S.P., who was born in 2011. The child has spent most of her life in the care of the maternal grandmother, C.P., who stated she became the child's guardian after court proceedings in Illinois. While living in Iowa, the child was removed from C.P.'s care in February 2017 due to C.P.'s unresolved substance-abuse issues. The child was placed in foster care in Iowa. S.P. was adjudicated to be a child in need of assistance pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(b), (c)(2), and (n) (2017).

         On August 2, 2017, C.P. pleaded guilty to forgery. She received a suspended sentence and was placed on probation. C.P. violated her probation and was incarcerated. At a permanency hearing in December 2017, C.P. advocated to have S.P. placed with family friends in Illinois. The juvenile court determined S.P. should remain in the foster home in Iowa where she had been living since February 2017. The court denied C.P.'s rule 1.904(2) motion seeking to appoint an attorney for the child in addition to a guardian ad litem (GAL) and to consider new evidence.

         On January 9, 2018, the State filed a petition seeking to terminate the parental rights of B.P. and W.D. The petition noted C.P. was the legal guardian of S.P. but did not request termination of the guardianship or set forth any grounds for termination of the guardianship. The juvenile court terminated the parents' rights under section 232.116(1)(b) (2018). The court found termination was in the child's best interests. The court also ruled:

By operation of law and full faith and credit and this Court's exclusive jurisdiction, any guardianship that [C.P.] had via courts in Illinois shall be null and void or otherwise cease to have any legal effect or impact upon six year old ...

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