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Case No. 20-0654

In the Interest of A.H., E.S., D.A., B.A., and M.A., Minor Children

A.A., Father of D.A., B.A., and M.A.-Appellant

H.A., Mother of A.H., E.S., B.A., and M.A.-Appellant

Attorney for Appellant Father

Philip Leo Garland

Attorney for Appellant Mother

Theodore J. Hovda

Attorney for Appellee State

Ellen Ramsey-Kacena, Assistant Attorney General

Guardian ad Litem

Jane M. Wright

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Jul 22, 2020

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Winnebago County, Karen Kaufman Salic, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Greer, J., and Blane, S.J.  Opinion by Blane, S.J.  (25 pages)

            A mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their respective children.  They contend termination was not in the children’s best interests.  They also argue the juvenile court violated their due process rights and abused its discretion by denying their motion to continue and, instead, ordering a fully telephonic termination hearing, pursuant to recent supreme court supervisory orders on the provision of court services during the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.  The mother separately asserts termination would be detrimental to the children due to her bond with them.  OPINION HOLDS: Examining recent precedent and balancing the need for urgency in securing permanent homes for children consistent with statutory timelines and their best interests against the risk of error in a fully telephonic hearing, we conclude the procedures offered met the requirements of due process.  We find the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in denying the parents’ motion to continue.  We conclude it is in the children’s best interests to terminate the parents’ rights.  We further find termination is not detrimental to the children due to the parent-child bond with the mother.  We affirm. 

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