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In re C.P.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 21, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF C.P. and L.P., Minor Children, C.P., Mother, Appellant, L.P., Father, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Charles D. Fagan, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and father appeal the order terminating their parental rights in their two children. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.

          Amanda Heims, Council Bluffs, for appellant mother.

          Vanessa E. Strazdas, Council Bluffs, for appellant father.

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

          Roberta J. Megel of State Public Defender Office, Council Bluffs, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and McDonald, JJ.

          McDONALD, Judge.

         Cathy and Lester appeal from an order terminating their parental rights in their two children, L.P. and C.P., pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e) and (f) (2018). Cathy and Lester challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the statutory grounds authorizing termination of their respective parental rights. They also challenge the finding that termination of their respective rights is in the children's best interest. Cathy further argues the Iowa Department of Human Services (IDHS) failed to make reasonable efforts toward reunification when it did not conduct an IQ test on her to ensure she was provided services she could understand.

         The standard of review is de novo. See In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 706 (Iowa 2010). It is the State's burden to prove the grounds authorizing termination of a parent's rights by clear and convincing evidence. See In re J.E., 723 N.W.2d 793, 798 (Iowa 2006). "Where there is clear and convincing evidence, there is no serious or substantial doubt about the correctness of the conclusion drawn from the evidence." In re A.H., No. 18-0072, 2018 WL 1433849, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Mar. 21, 2018).

         We first address the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the statutory grounds authorizing termination of the parents' respective rights. Where, as here, the juvenile court terminates a parent's rights on more than one statutory ground, "we need only find termination appropriate under one of these sections to affirm." In re J.B.L., 844 N.W.2d 703, 704 (Iowa Ct. App. 2014). We focus on Code section 232.116(1)(f).

         Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) authorizes the juvenile court to terminate the parent-child relationship upon clear and convincing evidence showing:

(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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