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In re G.D.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 5, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF G.D. and A.D., Minor Children, C.S., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Page County, Amy L. Zacharias, District Associate Judge.

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

          Justin R. Wyatt of Woods & Wyatt, PLLC, Glenwood, for appellant mother.

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

          Vicki R. Danley, Sidney, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and May, JJ.

          Doyle, Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her children. She contends the State failed to prove the grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence and termination is contrary to the children's best interests. We review her claims de novo. See In re L.T., 924 N.W.2d 521, 526 (Iowa 2019).

         The children have long been the subject of concern for the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) and the juvenile court. See In re G.D., No. 17-0874, 2017 WL 4050969, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Sept. 13, 2017) (noting the DHS's involvement in 2014 and 2015). The present case began with the children's removal in July 2016 due to concerns about the mother's methamphetamine use. In February 2017, this court reversed the juvenile court's dismissal the child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) petition after determining the State had proved the grounds for adjudication pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and 232.2(6)(n) (2016). See In re G.D., No. 16-1895, 2017 WL 512796, at *1-2 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 8, 2017).

         Following the CINA adjudication, the mother participated in mental-health counseling and substance-abuse treatment and she demonstrated her sobriety through drug testing. The juvenile court returned the children to her care in January 2018. Unfortunately, the mother tested positive for methamphetamine in April 2018. Although she denied using methamphetamine-first claiming she unknowingly ate a methamphetamine-laced brownie before claiming her doctor's office switched her urine sample with another- the court again ordered the children removed from her care in May 2018. She has not seen the children since June 2018 and tested positive for methamphetamine in August 2018. At the time of the termination hearing, she was living in Nebraska.

         The juvenile court entered an order terminating the mother's parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) and (g) (2018). We need only find clear and convincing evidence supports one of the grounds for termination to affirm. See In re T.S., 868 N.W.2d 425, 435 (Iowa Ct. App. 2015). The court may terminate parental rights pursuant to section 232.116(1)(f) on proof of the following:

(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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