IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF IOWA
No. 2-1019 / 02-1796
Filed December 30, 2002
IN THE INTEREST OF P.C., Minor Child,
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Allen D.
Allbee, Associate Juvenile Judge.
Mother appeals from the order terminating her parental rights to her
Dennis M. Guernsey, Waterloo, for appellant.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Katherine Miller-Todd, Assistant
Attorney General, and Steven Halbach, Assistant County Attorney, for
Kellyann M. Lekar of Roberts, Cohrt, Stevens & Lekar, P.C., Waterloo,
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Zimmer and Hecht, JJ.
Shannon R. is the mother of Poet C., born September 13, 1999. Poet
was removed from his mother's care in May of 2001. On June 29, 2001, he
was adjudicated to be in need of assistance pursuant to Iowa Code section
232.2(6)(b) (2001). The State filed a petition to terminate the mother's
parental rights on July 2, 2002. Following a subsequent hearing on the
State's petition, the court terminated Shannon's parental rights to her
child pursuant to section 232.116(1)(h) (Supp. 2001). The court also
terminated the parental rights of Poet's father, J.C. The father is
presently serving a lengthy prison term for burglary and assault. The
father's parental rights are not at issue in this appeal.
We review termination of parental rights orders de novo. In re R.F.,
471 N.W.2d 821, 824 (Iowa 1991). Our primary concern is the best interests
of the child. In re C.B., 611 N.W.2d 489, 492 (Iowa 2000).
In order to terminate Shannon's parental rights under section
232.116(1)(h), the State was required to prove (1) the child was three or
younger, (2) he had been adjudicated in need of assistance, (3) he had been
removed from the parent's physical custody for at least six of the last
twelve months, or for the last six months, and (4) there is clear and
convincing evidence he cannot be returned to his parent's custody. Shannon
does not contest the first three grounds for termination required by
section 232.116(1)(h). However, she contends there was not clear and
convincing evidence that Poet could not be returned to her custody. On our
de novo review of the record, we agree the court properly terminated
Shannon's parental rights under this section.
Poet was removed from his mother's care in May 2001 because his
mother had been leaving the infant with relatives for extended periods of
time without providing them with information as to her whereabouts. There
were also concerns about drug abuse. During the time Poet was in foster
care, Shannon lived in five residences. When the termination hearing was
held, she was temporarily living with her mother because her new boyfriend
was incarcerated. The record makes clear that Shannon fails to understand
the negative impact her relationship with criminals has on her child. She
also shows little appreciation for the negative impact her use of drugs has
on Poet. She continues to believe that if controlled substances are not
used in the child's presence, the child is not harmed. She has not shown
the ability to provide her son with necessary food, clothing, and shelter.
Poet's maternal grandmother has been his caretaker for most of his life.
Shannon apparently sees no need to improve her parenting skills because her
child is accessible through her mother. We agree with the juvenile court
that the child cannot safely be returned to his mother's custody. We
therefore affirm the termination order.
 Formerly, Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(g) (2001).