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In re T.C.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

June 26, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF T.C., Minor Child, S.R., Father, Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Susan F. Flaherty, Associate Juvenile Judge.

A father appeals from the order terminating his parental rights.

John Bishop, Cedar Rapids, for appellant biological father S.R.

Zachary Crowdes, Cedar Rapids, for mother.

Henry Keyes, Cedar Rapids, for legal father J.C.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, Jerry Vander Sanden, County Attorney, and Rebecca Belcher, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Kimberly Opatz of Linn County Advocate, Cedar Rapids, for minor child.

Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.

EISENHAUER, C.J.

A biological father[1] appeals from the order terminating his parental rights to his child. He contends termination is not in the child's best interests. We affirm.

The child was born in 2011. During the first seven months of the child's life, Steven, the child's biological father, had some visitation with the child, although the visits were kept secret from the legal father. Then Steven spent nearly three months in jail on a conviction of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. He resumed visitation for about four months, then was returned to jail for violating his probation. The same day, the child was removed from the parents' home because the parents were using illegal drugs. Throughout these proceedings, the child has been in the care of the legal father's brother. That uncle adopted the child's older half-brother after termination of the parents' parental rights.

In April 2013 the court terminated the parental rights of all the parents under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) and (l) (2013). The court noted Steven was incarcerated at the time and "will continue to be incarcerated into the foreseeable future."[2] The court concluded termination was in the child's best interests, considering the child's "need for permanency, security, safety, [and] physical and intellectual health." The court noted Steven's unavailability because of his incarceration and his "history of significant substance abuse and criminal activity which would prevent him from being able to immediately become the sole caretaker for his son upon his release from prison."

We review terminations de novo. In re H.S., 805 N.W.2d 737, 745 (Iowa 2011). We examine both the facts and law and adjudicate anew those issues properly preserved and presented. In re L.G., 532 N.W.2d 478, 480-81 (Iowa Ct. App. 1995).

Steven does not challenge the statutory grounds for termination. Because he was incarcerated at the time of the termination, clear and convincing evidence supports termination under section 232.116(1)(h) (requiring a finding the child could not ...


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