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In re C.S.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 19, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF C.S., Minor Child, J.S., Father, Appellant, C.S., Mother, Appellant.

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

         A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their minor child.

          Steven L. Cooper of Cooper, Goedicke, Reimer & Reese Law Firm, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellant father.

          Agnes G. Warutere of Warutere Law Firm, PLLC, Ankeny, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          John Jellineck of Juvenile Public Defender's office, Des Moines, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         A child was born in 2012 with cocaine in her system. The State initiated a child-in-need-of-assistance action. After a period of hospitalization, the juvenile court placed the child with her mother and closed the case.

         Four years later, the State intervened again based on allegations of active drug use by the child's parents and domestic abuse perpetrated by the father against the mother. The juvenile court ordered the child temporarily removed from the parents' care. The child remained out of their care throughout the child-in-need-of-assistance proceedings.

         In time, the State petitioned to terminate parental rights. The district court granted the petition following an evidentiary hearing.

         In separate appeals, the parents contend (1) the record lacks clear and convincing evidence to support the ground for termination cited by the juvenile court; (2) termination is not in the child's best interests; and (3) the juvenile court should have declined to terminate their parental rights based on the closeness of the parent-child bond.

         I . Statutory Ground for Termination

         Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2018) requires proof of several elements, including proof the child cannot be returned to the parents' custody. On our de novo review, we agree with the ...


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