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In re D.E.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 20, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF D.E., Minor Child, M.E., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Craig M. Dreismeier, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.

          J. Joseph Narmi, Council Bluffs, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and John McCormally (until withdrawal) and Anagha Dixit, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellee State.

          Roberta J. Megel, Council Bluffs, guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          DOYLE, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         The mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child D.E., born in May 2017.[1] She argues the State did not establish termination was appropriate under Iowa Code section 232.116 (2018). She also asserts she was not provided reasonable services for reunification. We affirm.

         I. Statutory Framework and Standard of Review.

         Parental rights may be terminated under Iowa Code chapter 232 if the following three conditions are true: (1) a "ground for termination under section 232.116(1) has been established" by clear and convincing evidence, (2) "the best-interest framework as laid out in section 232.116(2) supports the termination of parental rights," and (3) none of the "exceptions in section 232.116(3) apply to preclude termination of parental rights." In re A.S., 906 N.W.2d 467, 472-73 (Iowa 2018). Our review is de novo, which means we give the juvenile court's findings of fact weight, especially the court's credibility assessments, but we are not bound by those findings. See M.D. v. K.A., 921 N.W.2d 229, 232 (Iowa 2018). "For evidence to be 'clear and convincing,' it is merely necessary that there be no serious or substantial doubt about the correctness of the conclusion drawn from it." Raim v. Stancel, 339 N.W.2d 621, 624 (Iowa Ct. App. 1983); see also In re M.W., 876 N.W.2d 212, 219 (Iowa 2016).

         II. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         D.E. came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) shortly after the child's birth. It was reported:

The hospital has held the baby a couple of extra days to provide the mother with some supervision and additional education in dealing with new born care and feeding issues. The mother has some mental health issues of her own and also is in an on again off again relationship with the child's alleged father . . . . He tried to run over the mother 2 weeks before the child's birth and also said he was going to kill the child when . . . it was born. The mother continues to have contact with him. She is living with her parents and her sister and both the grandmother and the sister have mental health issues so there is concern regarding the stability of the environment this child is in.

         The child was subsequently removed from the mother's care and placed in foster care, where he has since remained. In July 2017, the child was ...


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