Termination of Parental Rights in CINA cases
In Iowa, if a child three years old or younger has been in foster care for six months or more, the state may file a petition to terminate the parent’s parental rights. If a child is four years old or older, the state may seek a termination of parental rights after the child has been in foster care for 12 months or more.
The state can try to terminate parental rights much sooner in certain circumstances such as when a parent has abandoned the child; when the abuse has been so severe that there is no hope to return the child to the parent; when the parent is facing long term incarceration; as well as other grounds. However, generally children wait much longer than 12 months to have permanency and a termination occur.
Only if the judge finds that a termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best interests or the State has not made reasonable efforts to reunify the family, will parental rights not be terminated.