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In re N.S.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 5, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF N.S. and M.S., Minor Children, M.S., Father, Appellant, P.A., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Colin J. Witt, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to two children, and a father appeals the termination of his parental rights to the older child.

          Blake D. Lubinus of Lubinus Law Firm, Des Moines, for appellant father.

          Heidi Young of Parrish Kruidenier Dunn Boles Gribble Gentry Brown & Bergmann, LLP, Des Moines, for appellant mother.

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

          Yvonne C. Naanep, Des Moines, attorney for minor children.

          Teresa Pope of Branstad Law, PLLC, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         This appeal involves two children, born in 2009 and 2010. The juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights to both children and the father's parental rights to the older child. On appeal, both parents contend the State failed to prove the grounds for termination cited by the court and termination is not in the children's best interests.

         I. Mother

         The juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights under four statutory provisions. We may affirm if we find clear and convincing evidence to support any of the grounds. See In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 706 (Iowa 2010). On our de novo review, we focus on Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2019), which requires proof of several elements, including proof the child cannot be returned to the parent's custody.

         The family came to the attention of the department of human services in 2016 after the mother gave birth to a child with opiates in her system. That child is not a subject of this appeal. Nor is the third of the mother's four children. This appeal involves the first two children.

         The children were temporarily removed from the mother's custody with her consent. The juvenile court later adjudicated them in need of assistance. Although the mother obtained a substance-abuse evaluation and completed an extended outpatient drug-treatment program, she was unsuccessfully discharged from another treatment program, and the department reported that she ...


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