IN THE INTEREST OF R.L., D.S., B.S., and K.S., Minor Children, S.S., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Keokuk County, Daniel
Kitchen, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals from the termination of her parental rights.
Michael S. Fisher of Fisher Law Office, Oskaloosa, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Meredith L. Lamberti,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
White, Sigourney, guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Greer, J., and Gamble, S.J.
GAMBLE, SENIOR JUDGE.
mother appeals from an order terminating her parental rights
to four of her children pursuant to Iowa Code section
232.116(1)(b) and (e) (2019).
review termination proceedings de novo. In re P.L.,
778 N.W.2d 33, 40 (Iowa 2010). We use a three-step process to
review the termination of a parent's rights. In re
A.S., 906 N.W.2d 467, 472 (Iowa 2018). First, we
determine whether a ground for termination under section
232.116(1) has been established. See id. at 472-73.
If a ground for termination has been established, then we
consider "whether the best-interest framework as laid
out in section 232.116(2) supports the termination of
parental rights." Id. at 473 (citation
omitted). Finally, we consider "whether any exceptions
in section 232.116(3) apply to preclude termination of
parental rights." Id. (quoting In re
M.W., 876 N.W.2d 212, 220 (Iowa 2016)).
juvenile court found multiple statutory grounds authorized
termination of the mother's parental rights. The mother
claims there is insufficient evidence to terminate her
parental rights under section 232.116(1)(b). However, she
does not challenge the court's determination that section
232.116(1)(e) also authorized termination. When, as here, the
juvenile court terminates on multiple statutory grounds, we
may affirm on any ground. See In re A.B., 815 N.W.2d
764, 774 (Iowa 2012). Because the mother does not challenge
the juvenile court's determination that section
232.116(1)(e) authorized termination, we find the first step
in our review satisfied. See P.L., 778 N.W.2d at 40;
In re D.R., No. 18-1116, 2018 WL 4361087, at *1
(Iowa Ct. App. Sept. 12, 2018); In re S.F., No.
15-0490, 2015 WL 3626439, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. June 10,
2015); In re D.H., No. 13-1693, 2014 WL 250256, at
*1 (Iowa Ct. Ap. Jan. 23, 2014).
we consider whether termination is in the children's best
interests. The mother contends termination is not in the
children's best interests. In considering the best interests
of children, we "give primary consideration to the
child[ren]'s safety, to the best placement for furthering
the long-term nurturing and growth of the child[ren], and to
the physical, mental, and emotional condition and needs of
the child[ren]." P.L., 778 N.W.2d at 40
(quoting Iowa Code § 232.116(2)). "It is
well-settled law that we cannot deprive a child of permanency
after the State has proved a ground for termination under
section 232.116(1) by hoping someday a parent will learn to
be a parent and be able to provide a stable home for the
child." Id. at 41.
is in the children's best interests. We defer to the
juvenile court's factual findings and need not repeat
them here. See In re C.B., 611 N.W.2d 489, 492 (Iowa
2000) (noting we give weight to the juvenile court's
factual findings). Those findings indicate the mother's
life is characterized by unrehabilitated drug addiction,
chronic mental illness, inability to seek necessary medical
care, periodic incarceration, and unproductive visitation
with the children. Cf. In re J.E., 723 N.W.2d 793,
798 (Iowa 2006) ("When making this decision, we look to
the parents' past performance because it may indicate the
quality of care the parent is capable of providing in the
future." (quoting In re C.K., 558 N.W.2d 170,
172 (Iowa 1997))). She has taken no steps to address these
issues and has refused social services aimed at family
reunification. Moreover, their grandmother is interested in
adopting them and has taken steps to do so. See Iowa
Code § 232.116(2)(b) (noting the juvenile court may
consider a placement's willingness to permanently
integrate the children into the family). Termination would
free the children for adoption by their grandmother and
provide them with a critical sense of permanency and
our review by noting the mother does not allege any of the
exceptions in section 232.116(3) apply. See A.S.,
906 N.W.2d at 476 ("[O]nce the State has proven a ground
for termination, the parent resisting termination bears the
burden to establish an exception to termination under Iowa
Code section ...