IN THE INTEREST OF W.G. and T.G., Minor Children, C.R., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Hancock County, Karen
Kaufman Salic, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her
Theodore J. Hovda of Ted Hovda Law Office, Garner, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
L. Garland and Carrie J. Rodriguez of Garland &
Rodriguez, Garner, guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and McDonald, JJ.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to
W.G., born January 2004, and T.G., born March 2002. She
argues the State failed to prove by clear and convincing
evidence that grounds for termination exist under Iowa Code
section 232.116(1)(f) (2018), termination is not in the best
interests of the children, and there is a strong bond between
her and the children that precludes termination under Iowa
Code section 232.116(3)(c). With years of services provided
but little, if any, progress by the mother, we agree with the
district court: the State proved the grounds for termination
by clear and convincing evidence, termination is in the best
interests of the children, and there is nothing precluding
Background Facts and Proceedings
family first came to the attention of Iowa Department of
Human Services (DHS) in June 2015, upon concerns about drug
usage by the parents leading to inadequate care of the
children. On July 24, 2015, W.G. and T.G. were adjudicated as
children in need of assistance (CINA). For the next
three years, the mother was provided a host of services, most
of which she either refused or with which she failed to
cooperate. The State filed a petition to terminate parental
rights for each child in March 2018. On June 5, 2018, the
district court found the State had proved by clear and
convincing evidence the grounds for termination under Iowa
Code section 232.116(1)(f). The mother appeals.
Standard of Review
review termination-of-parental-rights proceedings de novo.
In re M.W., 876 N.W.2d 212, 219 (Iowa 2016).
"We are not bound by the juvenile court's findings
of fact, but we do give them weight, especially in assessing
the credibility of witnesses." In re D.W., 791
N.W.2d 703, 706 (Iowa 2010). "We will uphold an order
terminating parental rights if there is clear and convincing
evidence of grounds for termination under Iowa Code section
232.116." Id.; accord Iowa Code §
232.117(3) ("If the court concludes that facts
sufficient to sustain the petition have been established by
clear and convincing evidence, the court may order parental
rights terminated."). "'Clear and convincing
evidence' means there are no serious or substantial
doubts as to the correctness [of] conclusions of law drawn
from the evidence." In re C.B., 611 N.W.2d 489,
492 (Iowa 2000).
Grounds for Termination
mother argues the district court erred in finding the State
proved by clear and convincing evidence that her parental
rights should be terminated under Iowa Code section
232.116(1)(f). Specifically, she challenges the State's
establishment of paragraph (4), that the children could not
be returned to the mother's custody at the present
time. Moreover, she requests the ...