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TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS IN IOWA

Termination of Parental Rights in Iowa

March 3rd, 2010

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS IN IOWA

The Supreme Court of Iowa, in a decision dated January 29, 2010, upheld a juvenile court's termination of the parental rights of a father. In doing so, the Court clarified the process that must be followed in such a case in the state of Iowa.

Three steps exist in making the determination if parental rights should be terminated in Iowa. The first of those steps examines whether one of the grounds for termination outlined in Section 232.116(1) of the Iowa Code applies. ( http://coolice.legis.state.ia.us/Cool-ICE/default.asp?category=billinfo&service=IowaCode&ga=83)

When at least one of these enumerated grounds for termination has been proved, the second step is the determination of whether the termination is in the best interest of the child. Iowa Code Section 232.116(2) states: "the court shall give primary consideration to the child's safety, to the best placement for furthering the long-term nurturing and growth of the child, and to the physical, mental, and emotional condition and needs of the child".

The final step in adjudicating a termination is to determine if any of the exceptions outlined in section 232.116(3) apply.

In this case the court determined that an enumerated grounds for termination existed, that termination was in the best interest of the child, and that none of the exceptions applied. Further, the Supreme Court stated that "We cannot deprive a child of permanency. . . by hoping someday a parent will learn to be a parent and be able to provide a stable home for the child."

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