C.W., In Interest of, No. 96-0041

CourtCourt of Appeals of Iowa
Writing for the CourtHeard by SACKETT; SACKETT
Citation554 N.W.2d 279
PartiesIn the INTEREST OF C.W., Minor Child, A.W., Mother, Appellant.
Decision Date27 June 1996
Docket NumberNo. 96-0041

Page 279

554 N.W.2d 279
In the INTEREST OF C.W., Minor Child, A.W., Mother, Appellant.
No. 96-0041.
Court of Appeals of Iowa.
June 27, 1996.

Page 280

Bruce J. Toenjes of Nelson & Toenjes, Shell Rock, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, and Martin M. Peterson, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Patrick G. Vickers of the Vickers Law Office, Greene, guardian ad litem for minor child.

Page 281

Heard by SACKETT, C.J., and HUITINK and VOGEL, JJ.

SACKETT, Chief Justice.

Appellant Ann, the mother of Christopher, born on August 10, 1994, appeals the juvenile court's termination of her parental rights to her son. Ann contends: (1) the juvenile court wrongly denied her motion for continuance; and (2) her parental rights should not have been terminated. Christopher's father is not a party to this appeal, and his parental rights have not been terminated. We affirm.

Ann is 24 years old. She abused controlled substances while pregnant with Christopher. During her pregnancy, a court order committed her to a substance abuse facility. Immediately following Christopher's birth, hospital officials concluded she lacked the skills required to care for an infant. Consequently, Christopher was removed from Ann's custody on August 12, 1994, and the State found Christopher to be a child in need of assistance on September 20, 1994. The State later filed a petition to terminate Ann's parental rights. The juvenile court granted the petition and this appeal follows.

I. Motion for Continuance. We review a motion for continuance under an abuse of discretion standard and will only reverse if injustice will result to the party desiring the continuance. In re Estate of Lovell, 344 N.W.2d 576, 578 (Iowa App.1983). Denial of a motion to continue must be unreasonable under the circumstances before we will reverse. Michael v. Harrison County Rural Elec. Coop., 292 N.W.2d 417, 419 (Iowa 1980) (citing State v. Cott, 283 N.W.2d 324, 329 (Iowa 1979)).

Ann advocates the motion should not have been denied because she could learn to care for Christopher. Ann claims she deserves the opportunity to show how Alcoholics Anonymous and individual therapy have helped her become a better parent.

The State argues Ann had fifteen months to demonstrate her parenting skills; Christopher was born on August 10, 1994, and was immediately placed in foster care, yet the motion for continuance was not filed until November 16, 1995. A sense of urgency exists in termination cases due to the importance of stability in a child's life. In re L.L., 459 N.W.2d 489, 495 (Iowa 1990). Due to this urgency, the trial court is not obligated to grant a parent's motion for continuance because "children simply cannot wait for responsible parenting." Id.

Although Ann has learned some parenting skills and has slightly improved the cleanliness of her apartment when linked to money rewards, the record supports a finding she cannot adequately care for Christopher. Ann underwent a psychological evaluation on May 20, 1995. The psychologist concluded Ann "lacks the mental ability, emotional stability and self-confidence to adequately care for [Christopher]." For example, during Ann's supervised visits with Christopher, the service worker had to constantly remind her to feed, change, and bathe Christopher.

Ann's appellate counsel also represented her before the termination, lessening the need for a continuance. Thus, we agree with the State that the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to grant the motion to continue.

II. Termination of Parental Rights. We review the termination de novo. In re W.G., 349 N.W.2d 487, 491 (Iowa 1984), cert. denied sub nom. J.G. v. Tauke, 469 U.S. 1222, 105 S.Ct. 1212, 84 L.Ed.2d 353 (1985); In re the Miller Children, 228 N.W.2d 60 (Iowa 1975). However, we give weight to the juvenile court's findings of fact, especially the credibility of the witnesses. W.G., 349 N.W.2d at 491-92; L.L., 459 N.W.2d at 493.

Ann contends the State failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence the fourth element of Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(g) (1995) which allows termination only if the child cannot be returned to the parents' custody at the present time. Ann concedes the first three requirements of...

To continue reading

Request your trial
148 practice notes
  • In the Interest of B.B. and a.B. Minor Children, 00-0120
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • September 27, 2000
    ...consider the physical, mental, and emotional condition and needs of the children in deciding to terminate parental rights. In re C.W., 554 N.W.2d 279, 282 (Iowa App. A good prediction of the future conduct of a parent is to look at the past conduct. In re N.F., 579 N.W.2d 338, 341 (Iowa App......
  • In Interest of D.B., No. 3-671 / 03-1274.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • September 24, 2003
    ...satisfied, the juvenile court must still make the determination that the termination would be in the child's best interest. In re C.W., 554 N.W.2d 279, 282 (Iowa Ct. App. 1996); In re T.Q., 519 N.W.2d 105 (Iowa Ct. App. 1994). We must consider a child's long-range and immediate best interes......
  • In re Interest of J.J., No. 9-887/09-1350 (Iowa App. 11/25/2009), No. 9-887/09-1350
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • November 25, 2009
    ...services. Past performance of a parent may be indicative of the quality of future care the parent is capable of providing. In re C.W., 554 N.W.2d 279, 283 (Iowa Ct. App. 1996). The legislature incorporated a six-month limitation for children in need of assistance aged three and below. Iowa ......
  • In re R.B., No. 12–2260.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • March 13, 2013
    ...is for an abuse of discretion, and we will reverse only “if injustice will result to the party desiring the continuance.” In re C.W., 554 N.W.2d 279, 281 (Iowa Ct.App.1996). The concept of justice incorporates a prejudice component, which must be viewed in a pragmatic fashion. Ragan v. Pete......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
148 cases
  • In the Interest of B.B. and a.B. Minor Children, 00-0120
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • September 27, 2000
    ...consider the physical, mental, and emotional condition and needs of the children in deciding to terminate parental rights. In re C.W., 554 N.W.2d 279, 282 (Iowa App. A good prediction of the future conduct of a parent is to look at the past conduct. In re N.F., 579 N.W.2d 338, 341 (Iowa App......
  • In Interest of D.B., No. 3-671 / 03-1274.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • September 24, 2003
    ...satisfied, the juvenile court must still make the determination that the termination would be in the child's best interest. In re C.W., 554 N.W.2d 279, 282 (Iowa Ct. App. 1996); In re T.Q., 519 N.W.2d 105 (Iowa Ct. App. 1994). We must consider a child's long-range and immediate best interes......
  • In re Interest of J.J., No. 9-887/09-1350 (Iowa App. 11/25/2009), No. 9-887/09-1350
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • November 25, 2009
    ...services. Past performance of a parent may be indicative of the quality of future care the parent is capable of providing. In re C.W., 554 N.W.2d 279, 283 (Iowa Ct. App. 1996). The legislature incorporated a six-month limitation for children in need of assistance aged three and below. Iowa ......
  • In re R.B., No. 12–2260.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • March 13, 2013
    ...is for an abuse of discretion, and we will reverse only “if injustice will result to the party desiring the continuance.” In re C.W., 554 N.W.2d 279, 281 (Iowa Ct.App.1996). The concept of justice incorporates a prejudice component, which must be viewed in a pragmatic fashion. Ragan v. Pete......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT