IN THE INTEREST OF B.S. and T.S., Minor Children, S.S., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Mahaska County, Rose Ann
Mefford, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to two
Michael S. Fisher of Fisher Law Office, Oskaloosa, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Crookham-Johnson of Crookham-Johnson Law Office PLLC,
Oskaloosa, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Tabor, J., and Blane, S.J.
mother, Sarah, appeals the termination of her parental rights
to eight-year-old B.S. and ten-year-old T.S. The juvenile
court terminated her rights pursuant to Iowa Code section
232.116(1)(d) and (f) (2018). Sarah maintains the State
failed to prove the grounds for termination by clear and
convincing evidence and termination is not in the
children's best interests.
review termination proceedings de novo. In re A.B.,
815 N.W.2d 764, 773 (Iowa 2012). "Our primary concern .
. . has always been the best interests of the
child[ren]." In re L.T., 924 N.W.2d 521, 529
(Iowa 2019). 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." A.B., 815 N.W.2d 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 factors
(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.
challenges the fourth factor-whether B.S. and T.S. could be
returned to her care at the time of the termination hearing.
See Iowa Code § 232.116(1)(f)(4); In re
D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 707 (Iowa 2010) (interpreting the
term "at the present ...