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Case No. 22-0535

In the Interest of E.M., Minor Child

S.M., Mother-Appellant

A.G.-C., Father-Appellant

Attorney for Appellant Mother

Rebecca G. Ruggero

Attorney for Appellant Father

Timothy Tupper

Attorney for Appellee State

Ellen Ramsey-Kacena, Assistant Attorney General

Guardian ad Litem

Christine D. Frederick

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Jun 15, 2022

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Cheryl Traum, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by May, P.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  (9 pages)

            The mother and father of E.M., born in 2016, separately appeal the termination of their parental rights.  The mother argues she was denied due process, the State failed to make reasonable efforts to reunify her with E.M., and termination is not in the child’s best interests.  The father argues the juvenile court should have applied a permissive exception to save his parent-child relationship with E.M., claiming his bond with the child is so strong that termination of his rights will be to the child’s detriment.  OPINION HOLDS: The mother does not contest termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(b) (2021), and her reasonable-efforts challenge does not implicate this statutory ground.  She did not preserve a due process challenge, and termination of her rights is in E.M.’s best interests.  The father did not meet his burden to establish a permissive exception is warranted here.  Therefore, we affirm the termination of each parent’s rights.

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