IN THE INTEREST OF E.G., Minor Child, M.B., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Craig
M. Dreismeier, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.
Heims, Council Bluffs, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit and John
McCormally (until withdrawal), Assistant Attorneys General,
for appellee State.
Roberta J. Megel of State Public Defender's Office,
Council Bluffs, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vogel, C.J., and Potterfield and Doyle, JJ.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her
child, E.G., who was born in 2006. The juvenile court
terminated the mother's parental rights pursuant to Iowa
Code section 232.116(1)(e) and (f) (2018). The mother
maintains the statutory grounds for termination have not been
met as the State failed to make reasonable efforts to reunify
her with her child and the close bond she shares with E.G.
review termination proceedings de novo. In re A.B.,
815 N.W.2d 764, 773 (Iowa 2012). We begin by considering the
statutory grounds. "When the juvenile court terminates
parental rights on more than one statutory ground, we may
affirm the juvenile court's order on any ground we find
supported by the record." Id. at 774. We
consider the grounds of section 232.116(1)(f), which allows
the court to terminate parental rights if all of the
following are met:
(1) The child is four years of age or older.
(2) The child has been adjudicated a child in need of
assistance pursuant to section 232.96.
(3) The child has been removed from the physical custody of
the child's parents for at least twelve of the last
eighteen months, or for the last twelve consecutive months
and any trial period at home has been less than thirty days.
(4) There is clear and convincing evidence that at the
present time the child cannot be returned to the custody of
the child's parents as provided in section 232.102.
mother challenges the fourth element-whether E.G. could be
returned to her care at the time of the termination hearing.
See In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 707 (Iowa 2010)
(interpreting the term "at the present time" to
mean "at the time of the termination hearing"). She
asserts the State failed to make reasonable efforts to
reunify her with E.G. See In re C.B., 611 N.W.2d
489, 493 (Iowa 2000) ("[T]he reasonable efforts
requirement is not viewed as a strict substantive requirement
of termination. Instead, the scope of the efforts by the
[department of human services] to ...