Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Christine Dalton, District Associate Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Potterfield, P.J.
A father appeals the termination of his parental rights. AFFIRMED.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Danilson and Tabor, JJ.
A father appeals the termination of his parental rights. Because statutory grounds for termination exist and termination best provides for the children's long-term stability and safety, we affirm the termination of the father's parental rights.
I. Background Facts and Proceedings.
Brad is the father of S.F., born in 2001; A.F., born in 2004; and G.F., born in 2005. These children came to the attention of the department of human services (DHS) on this occasion because all three were being physically and sexually abused by the mother's paramour and, though she knew of the abuse, the mother did nothing to prevent further occurrences.*fn1 However, the children have been involved with DHS for many years.
In 2001, when S.F. was residing with the mother and Brad, a child protective assessment found the parents had failed to provide adequate shelter.
In 2006, Brad, the children, and the mother were living with Brad's mother and her paramour, Jay, a registered sex offender. DHS involvement ended when the family moved out of that home and reported they were not going to return. Brad and the mother separated.
However, in December 2007, Brad and the mother were again determined to be responsible for exposing their children to a registered sex offender. Brad, the mother, and the children were living with Brad's mother and Jay, and the children had been left alone with Jay. DHS had additional concerns because the mother had left the children alone without supervision on three separate occasions, and the children had witnessed on-going domestic violence perpetrated by Brad upon the mother. The children were removed from their parents' custody for almost two years during this prior juvenile court involvement and were placed in relative care with Brad's sister and her husband. Services were offered, but Brad did not believe that Jay posed a danger to his children, did not attend a batterer's education program (BEP) as required, and generally did not participate in services. The children were returned to the mother's home in October 2009 and to her custody in April 2010-she and Brad were not together at that time.
In August 2011, DHS again became involved when one of the children reported to school officials sexual abuse, physical abuse, and domestic violence by their mother's paramour. A child protective assessment was initiated on August 17. A September 2011 entry in that assessment noted "Brad's lack of participation in services in the past and failure to address domestic abuse issues." It also noted Brad was "currently homeless." The children were again placed, on a voluntary basis, in the home of their aunt and uncle. A December 19, 2011 report to the court noted Brad was not "in a position to care for the kids nor do[es he] recognize the emotional or basic safety needs of the children." Brad was again living with his mother and Jay.
In January 2012, the children were adjudicated children in need of assistance (CINA). The adjudication order noted Brad "has had very little contact with his children in recent years but he is participating in visitation and services."
The court found the children could not be placed with their father. The paternal aunt and uncle's motion to intervene was granted on February 13, 2012.
The February 13, 2012 dispositional order reads, in part:
[Brad] lives with his mother and her paramour, a convicted sex offender. He thinks the sex offender is no threat to his daughters' safety. He holds a good job but seems unable to live on his own. His is not currently supporting the children financially at this time. He did not see his children regularly in the past. He does want to assume custody of his daughters. He reports no current substance abuse issues or mental health issues. He has completed over half of the BEP classes. [DHS] is requesting a psychological evaluation and should immediately complete a parenting assessment on [Brad]. He is to attend all scheduled visitation, seek independent stable and safe housing, and complete ...