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In re A.R.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 10, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF A.R. and M.R., Minor Children, J.R., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Guthrie County, Virginia Cobb, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her two minor children.

          Steven L. Cooper of Cooper, Goedicke, Reimer & Reese, Law Firm, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Christine L. Sand of Wild, Baxter & Sand, PC, Guthrie Center, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.

          DOYLE, JUDGE.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her two minor children. She contends the State failed to prove the grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence. She also contends termination is not in the children's best interests and asks us to preserve her parental rights under one of the exceptions to the termination statute. We disagree and affirm the termination of the mother's parental rights.

         The facts in this case do not need to be repeated in detail. After a report of domestic violence, the mother's two children were adjudicated to be in need of assistance (CINA) and were placed in the legal custody of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). The DHS attempted to provide the mother with reasonable services, but the mother refused or did not follow through with them. When the concerns that led to the CINA adjudication continued to exist more than a year later, the juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights.

         We review termination proceedings de novo. See In re A.M., 843 N.W.2d 100, 110 (Iowa 2014). We are not bound by the juvenile court's findings of fact, although we give them weight, especially those concerning witness credibility. See id.

         Before terminating parental rights, the juvenile court must find clear and convincing evidence supporting one of the grounds for termination listed under section 232.116(1) (2018). See In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 706 (Iowa 2010). The juvenile court found the State met its burden of proving the grounds for termination set forth in section 232.116(1)(d), (e), and (f). We need only find grounds to terminate parental rights under one of the sections cited by the juvenile court to affirm. See In re S.R., 600 N.W.2d 63, 64 (Iowa Ct. App. 1999).

         To terminate parental rights under section 232.116(1)(f), the State must prove:

(1) The child is four years of age or older.
(2) The child has been adjudicated a child in need of assistance pursuant ...

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