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In re I.T.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 11, 2019

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

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F. Staudt, Judge.

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

          Jamie L. Schroeder of The Sayer Law Group, P.C., Waterloo, for appellant mother.

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

          Melissa Anderson-Seeber of Waterloo Juvenile Public Defender's Office, Waterloo, guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          CARR, SENIOR JUDGE.

         This appeal concerns the termination of a mother's parental rights to her child. The juvenile court removed the child from the mother's care shortly after birth in June 2018 and adjudicated the child in need of assistance (CINA) the month after. The court based the removal and CINA adjudication in part on the mother's history of substance use, which extends more than a decade. Although the mother has maintained sobriety in supervised settings, she returns to using controlled substances when that supervision ends. History repeated in April 2018 when the mother used methamphetamine while pregnant with the child. She admitted using methamphetamine two days before delivery.

         The mother kept using methamphetamine and was largely absent during the first six months of the child's life. After her arrest and placement in a residential facility in December 2018, the mother stated that she wanted to terminate her parental rights to the child. By the end of the month, the mother changed her mind and began to participate in some of the services offered to her. Yet her participation was sporadic, and her progress was limited.

         The State petitioned to terminate the mother's parental rights. After a hearing in April 2019, the juvenile court ordered termination of the mother's parental rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e) and (h) (2018).

         I. Grounds for Termination.

         We may affirm the termination of the mother's parental rights if the evidence supports termination on one of the grounds cited by the juvenile court. See In re S.R., 600 N.W.2d 63, 64 (Iowa Ct. App. 1999). Termination is appropriate under section 232.116(1)(h) if the record shows:

(1)The child is three years of age or younger.
(2)The child has been adjudicated [CINA] pursuant to section ...

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