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In re C.S.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

June 12, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF C.S., C.B., and E.B., Minor Children, C.B., Father, Appellant,

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Virginia Cobb, District Associate Judge.

A father appeals from the termination of his parental rights to his children.

Laura J. Lockwood of Tagtow & Lockwood, P.L.L.C., Des Moines, for appellant-father.

Christine Sand of Wild, Baxter & Sand, P.C., Guthrie Center, for mother.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Janet L. Hoffman, Assistant Attorney General, Wayne Reisetter, County Attorney, and Sean Weiser, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Michelle Saveraid of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.

BOWER, J.

A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his children. He contends the State failed to prove the grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence. He also contends termination was not in the children's best interests and that he should be granted additional time to reunify with them.

Clear and convincing evidence supports terminating the father's parental rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2011). We also find termination to be in the children's best interest. There is no evidence that termination would be detrimental to the children due to a close relationship with the father. An extension of time to allow the father to prove himself a capable parent is not warranted. Accordingly, we affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

The children, born in 2010 and 2011, came to the attention of the Department of Human Services (DHS) in May of 2011 after it was discovered that their half-sibling had been sexually abused. The DHS determined that the mother and father had failed to adequately address that child's mental health needs. In addition, the parents were homeless and, as a result, roamed the streets with the children from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. when they had no place to sleep. Other times they stayed with family members who had open cases with the DHS, as well as criminal charges.

The children at issue were removed from the parents' care in July 2011 and were placed with a foster family near where their half-sibling was living. In October 2011, the children were adjudicated to be in need of assistance pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(f). The children have remained with the same pre-adoptive foster family since their removal and are reportedly doing well in this placement.

The father suffers from bipolar disorder and has anger issues that make him easily frustrated and make it difficult to control his emotions. His mental health issues prevent him from holding a job; as a result, the father applied for social security disability benefits. Following the DHS's involvement with the family, the father received services to address his mental health needs. The parents were also provided a Family Safety, Risk, and Permanency service ...


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