IN THE INTEREST OF T.C., Minor Child, J.C., Father, Appellant.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E. Seymour, District Associate Judge.
A father appeals from the termination of his parental rights.
Jessica Maffitt of Benzoni Law Office, P.L.C., Des Moines, for appellant Father.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Janet L. Hoffman, Assistant Attorney General, John Sarcone, County Attorney, and Christina Gonzalez, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.
Karl Wolle of the Polk County Juvenile Public Defender, Des Moines, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
A father appeals from the termination of his parental rights. He argues the department of human services (DHS) did not make reasonable efforts to reunify him with his child, the court erred in denying his motion to continue the termination hearing, his counsel was ineffective, the evidence does not support termination of his parental rights, and the district court should have applied one of the grounds under Iowa Code 232.116(3) (2013) to deny termination. We affirm the termination of his parental rights.
I. Facts and Proceedings
Six-year-old T.C. was removed from his parents' care on September 30, 2011, and adjudicated a child in need of assistance (CINA) the following November, after DHS was notified of drug use and incidents of domestic violence in the family residence. The family also had no electricity at the time.
T.C.'s father has an extended history of drug abuse and domestic violence. During a substance abuse evaluation in October 2011, the father reported use of methamphetamine for a period of over twenty years, with his longest period of sobriety lasted six to seven months. He reported having attended substance abuse treatment eight times.
Both parents stipulated to the CINA adjudication and disposition. Both parents were referred to drug treatment; the father failed to attend the scheduled drug screening. The father was arrested at court at the November adjudication for a violation of a no-contact order in place between the parents. The court continued placement of T.C. with relatives. The father struggled to behave appropriately when visiting T.C. He told the DHS worker during a visit about "beating up" a friend over a conflict with the mother and that he could not afford substance abuse treatment services at the time but would be able to later that week. Ultimately, that visit ended when the father slept instead of interacting with T.C. After the October 2011 substance abuse evaluation, the father was referred to continuing care for at least six months. He did not follow through or provide drug tests.
At the December 2011 review hearing, the court confirmed the CINA disposition and continued T.C.'s placement with relatives. The court noted the father had not participated in services, was not in treatment, and had failed to provide drug screens. When asked whether further or different services should be provided, the mother requested concurrent jurisdiction for dissolution proceedings from the father. The father did not request further or different services. The father received three supervised visits a week at this time. In January 2012, a stabbing took place at his home. He missed one visit with T.C. because he was in jail. In February, DHS noted the father was interacting more with T.C. and was attending T.C.'s therapy. On March 1, 2012, he was arrested again for violating the no-contact order between him and the mother.
A review hearing was held April 12, 2012. The court found the father had not complied with any recommended substance abuse services, and both parties were violating the no-contact order. The court inquired as to the need for additional or different services. Neither parent made such a request. In May 2012 DHS noted the ongoing risk that the ...