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In re D.W.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 15, 2019

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

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Daniel L. Block, Associate Juvenile Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child.

          Stephanie A. Sailer of Sailer Law, PLLC, Cedar Falls, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Timothy Baldwin, Waterloo, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Doyle, J., and Carr, S.J. [*]

          CARR, SENIOR JUDGE.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child. She contends the State failed to prove the grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence and termination is not in the child's best interests. She also argues the juvenile court erred in denying her request to continue placement of the child for an additional six months. We review her claims de novo. See In re A.S., 906 N.W.2d 467, 472 (Iowa 2018).

         The juvenile court removed the child from the mother's care and adjudicated the child to be in need of assistance (CINA) after law enforcement officers executing a search warrant in December 2017 found methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia in the bedroom the mother shared with the child. The mother pled guilty to child endangerment, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of marijuana, and the district court granted her a suspended sentence. The court revoked the mother's parole after her unsuccessful discharge from two substance-abuse programs due to noncompliance, continued use of methamphetamine and marijuana, and escape from a women's facility in November 2018.

         The State filed a petition to terminate the mother's parental rights in December 2018. At the time of the February 2019 termination hearing, the mother was incarcerated and serving a two-year sentence. Although the mother's probation officer informed the case manager that the mother would need to serve one year of the sentence, the mother believed she would be eligible for parole in May 2019.

         The juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e), (f), and (l) (2018). We may affirm if we find grounds to terminate under one of those sections. See In re S.R., 600 N.W.2d 63, 64 (Iowa Ct. App. 1999). Termination is appropriate under section 232.116(1)(f) if clear and convincing evidence establishes:

(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 ...

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