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Case No. 20-0979

For summaries from opinions prior to August, 2018, view PDF versions here

In the Interest of K.A., Minor Child

D.A., Father-Appellant

A.A., Mother-Appellant

Attorney for Appellant Father

Ryan J. Mitchell

Attorney for Appellant Mother

Mary Baird Krafka

Attorney for Appellee State

Ellen Ramsey-Kacena, Assistant Attorney General

Guardian ad Litem

Patricia Lipski

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Oct 07, 2020

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jefferson County, William S. Owens, Associate Juvenile Judge.  AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.  Considered by May, P.J., and Greer and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Ahlers, J.  (11 pages)

            The mother and father separately appeal the termination of their parental rights to their child, K.A.  The juvenile court terminated both parents’ parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e) and (f) (2020).  Both parents assert on appeal (1) additional time should have been granted to work toward reunification pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.104(2)(b) and (2) termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best interests.  The mother also asserts (1) the statutory grounds for termination were not met because the child could have been returned to her care at the time of the termination hearing and (2) the juvenile court erred by denying the mother’s request to continue the termination hearing to a time when the hearing could be held in person rather than by videoconference.  Finally, the father asserts a guardianship for the child should have been established as a less-restrictive alternative to termination of parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: Because there is no persuasive indication that the need for K.A.’s removal will no longer exist following the requested extension and because K.A. needs permanency now, additional time for reunification is not warranted.  Because the mother does not dispute the juvenile court’s finding that the State has met its burden pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e), she has waived any challenge to the statutory grounds and we need not address this issue on appeal.  We agree with the juvenile court that termination is in K.A.’s best interest and that guardianship is not in K.A.’s best interest.  Given the present circumstances and record before us, the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion by denying the motions to continue and holding the termination hearing by videoconference.

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