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In re I.D.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 24, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF I.D., Minor Child, M.K., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Susan Cox, District Associate Judge.

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

          Magdalena Reese of Cooper, Goedicke, Reimer & Reese, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          John Jellineck of State Public Defender's Office, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          DOYLE, JUDGE

         This appeal concerns the termination of a mother's parental rights to her child, I.D., who was born in 2018. This is not the first time the juvenile court has terminated the mother's parental rights to a child. Just six months before I.D. was born, the juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights to two older children based on concerns arising from her substance abuse, her mental health, and a relationship marred by domestic violence.

         In spite of the termination of her parental rights to those children, the mother continued to struggle with the issues that led to termination. She used drugs during her pregnancy with I.D. and tested positive for methamphetamine one month before I.D. was born. One week after his birth, the juvenile court removed I.D. from the mother's care and later adjudicated him to be a child in need of assistance (CINA).

         In the eight months following the CINA adjudication, the mother kept using drugs, was arrested on criminal charges, and appeared at visitation with unexplained injuries. At the time of the termination hearing, she remained on probation, unemployed, and in need of substance-abuse treatment. The State petitioned to terminate the mother's parental rights, which the juvenile court granted following a hearing.[1]

         On appeal, the mother challenges the juvenile court's findings in applying the analytical framework for termination. See In re P.L., 778 N.W.2d 33, 37-38 (discussing the three steps involved in this analytical framework). She also requests additional time to have I.D. returned to her care. We review her claims de novo. See In re A.S., 906 N.W.2d 467, 472 (Iowa 2018).

         I. Statutory Grounds for Termination.

         The juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(g) and (h) (2019). Although the juvenile court terminated parental rights on more than one ground, we need only find grounds to terminate under one of the sections cited by the juvenile court to affirm. See In re S.R., 600 N.W.2d 63, 64 (Iowa Ct. App. 1999). To terminate ...


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