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In re J.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 18, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF J.C., Minor Child, K.B., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Cynthia S. Finley, District Associate Judge.

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

          Kristin L. Denniger, Cedar Rapids, for appellant mother.

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

          Julie F. Trachta of Linn County Advocate, Inc., Cedar Rapids, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and Schumacher, JJ.

          DOYLE, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         A mother appeals the termination of parental rights to her child.[1] She argues the State did not prove the grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence. She also argues termination is not in the child's best interest. We review these claims de novo. See In re A.S., 906 N.W.2d 467, 472 (Iowa 2018).

         The Iowa Department of Human Services became involved with this family in October 2016 when J.C. was born drug-affected. This is not the first time children have been removed from the mother's care. The mother has three older sons who each live with their respective fathers. The mother has a long history of substance use, including alcohol, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs. She also struggles with mental-health issues.

         The juvenile court removed the child from the mother's care upon his discharge from the hospital. Efforts made to preserve the family were ultimately unsuccessful. The mother went through many forms of treatment for her substance use, both before and after the child's birth. Although she made progress, the mother continued to relapse, using methamphetamine, alcohol, and Xanax.

         The mother argues the State failed to prove the grounds for termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2019). To terminate parental rights under this section, the State must prove the following by clear and convincing evidence:

(1) The child is three years of age or younger.
(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 six months of the last twelve months, or for the last six consecutive months and any ...

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