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In re G.S.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

September 5, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF G.S., Minor Child, B.S. Jr., Father, Appellant G.S., Minor Child, Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Buchanan County, Alan D. Allbee, Associate Juvenile Judge.

A father and his child appeal from the order terminating the father's parental rights.

Kevin Schoeberl of Story & Schoeberl, Cresco, for appellant father.

Linnea Nicol, Assistant Public Defender, Waterloo, for appellant child.

Steven Ristvedt, Independence, for mother.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, Shawn M. Harden, County Attorney, and Jennalee A. Zapitul and Michael Hudson, Assistant County Attorneys, for appellee State.

Kelly Smith of Banning & Smith, Waterloo, guardian ad litem for child.

Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Doyle, JJ.

EISENHAUER, C.J.

A father and his child appeal from the order terminating the father's parental rights.[1] The father contends the State failed to prove the child could not be returned to his care or termination was in the best interests of the child. He also argues our expedited appeal process is unconstitutional. The child contends the State failed to prove he could not be returned to his father's care. The child, who is eleven years old, objects to the termination. See Iowa Code § 232.116(3)(b) (2013).[2] We affirm on both appeals.

When the child first came to the attention of the department of human services, he was living with his mother and had visitation with his father on weekends. Because of the unsafe and unsanitary condition of the home, the child and his younger half-siblings were adjudicated children in need of assistance under Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) in August 2011. The two younger children were removed from the home and placed in foster care in November.

In February 2012 the dispositional order was modified, and the child was placed in foster care. The court did not consider the father as an appropriate fulltime placement for the child but was willing to consider him as a concurrent placement if the child could not be returned to the mother within a reasonable time and the father was able to improve the deficits in his parenting. The court noted the father has a full-scale IQ of sixty-one, was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (combined type), had alcohol and cannabis dependence, and borderline intelligence. The father had a strict, rigid, and authoritarian style of parenting; he lacked an understanding of child development and had unrealistic expectations of children; and was non-empathetic. The father participated in supervised visitation.

In an October 2012 dispositional review order, the court denied the father's request the child be placed with him. At the time, the father was homeless. The court also denied the father's request for unsupervised visitation. The court noted the father's visitation with the child remained supervised because of his lack of progress in improving his parenting skills and his inability to manage his anger. Because of incidents at family team meetings and parenting skill sessions, the father's visitation was moved to a public library in the hope the father would control his temper. We upheld the order on appeal. In re G.S., No. 12-1843, 2013 WL 100186, at *2-3 (Iowa Ct. App. Jan. 9, 2013).

A permanency hearing was held in February 2013. The court found the father was "totally unable to demonstrate nurturance, " frequently exhibited anger and used an angry tone in discipline of the child, and was unwilling to try to make changes. The child consistently expressed anxiety about visitation for fear of the father's anger and angry tone in discipline. The court directed the county attorney to file a ...


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