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In re L.R.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 25, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF L.R., Minor Child, L.R., Father, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Daniel L. Block, Associate Juvenile Judge.

         The father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his child.

          Andrew C. Abbott of Abbott Law Office, P.C., Waterloo, for appellant father.

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

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

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

          POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         The father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his nine-year-old son.[1] The juvenile court terminated the father's rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d), (e), and (f) (2018). The father challenges the statutory grounds for termination, maintains the juvenile court should have applied a permissive factor to avoid termination, and argues an extension of time to work toward reunification is in the child's best interests.[2]

         We review termination proceedings de novo. In re A.B., 815 N.W.2d 764, 773 (Iowa 2012). When the juvenile court terminates parental rights on more than one statutory ground, we may affirm on any ground we find supported by the record. Id. at 774. Here, we review the evidence supporting section 232.116(1)(f), which allows for termination when:

(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 trial period at home has been less than thirty days.
(4) There is clear and convincing evidence that at the present time the child cannot be returned to the custody of the child's parents as provided in section 232.102.

         The father contests only the fourth element-whether the child could be returned to his care at the time of the termination hearing. See Iowa Code § 232.116(1)(f)(4); In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 707 (Iowa 2010) (interpreting "at the present time" to mean at the time of the termination hearing). He argues the only reason L.R. could not come home at the time of the termination hearing was ...


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