January 11, 2017
IN THE INTEREST OF B.D., Minor child, T.D., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Susan Cox,
District Associate Judge.
father appeals from an order terminating his parental rights
pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 232 (2015). AFFIRMED.
C. Heinicke of Kragnes & Associates, P.C., Des Moines,
for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathrine S. Miller-Todd
(until withdrawal) and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorneys
General, for appellee State.
P. Jellineck of Public Defender's Office, Des Moines,
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Doyle and McDonald, JJ.
appeals from an order terminating his parental rights in his
child, B.D., pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f)
(2015). The standard of review and controlling framework are
well-established and need not be repeated herein. See In
re M.W., 876 N.W.2d 212, 219-20 (Iowa 2016) (stating
review is de novo and setting forth the applicable
"three-step analysis"); In re A.M., 843
N.W.2d 100, 110-11 (Iowa 2014) (same).
concedes the statutory ground authorizing termination of his
parental rights has been met. We nonetheless seek to satisfy
ourselves the State has met its burden on this point. See
Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 759 (1982) ("A
parent's interest in the accuracy and justice of the
decision to terminate his or her parental status is . . . a
commanding one."). As relevant here, to terminate a
parent's rights pursuant to section 232.116(1)(f), the
State was required to prove "the child cannot be
returned to the custody of the child's parents as
provided in section 232.102" at the time of the
termination hearing. Iowa Code § 232.116(1)(f)(4). Our
cases had interpreted this provision to mean the child at
issue was removed from at least one of the parents and could
not be returned to the parent at issue at the time of the
termination hearing without regard to whether the child had
been removed from the parent at issue. See In re
C.L., No. 14-1973, 2015 WL 408392, at *2 (Iowa Ct. App.
Jan. 28, 2015) (explaining the supreme court had rejected the
argument the State was required to prove the child was
removed from the custody of the parent at issue as a
prerequisite to termination of parental rights pursuant to
section 232.116(1)(f)); In re J.B.L., 844 N.W.2d
703, 705 (Iowa Ct. App. 2014). Recently, the supreme court
held section 232.116(1)(f) provides a basis for termination
only where there the child at issue was also removed pursuant
to chapter 232 from the parent at issue. See In re
C.F.-H., __ N.W.2d__, __, 2016 WL 7321713, at *13 (Iowa
2016). On de novo review, we conclude the condition was met
in this case. The juvenile court issued a removal order on
May 4, 2015, removing the child at issue from the father.
See id. at *5-7 (discussing relevant statutory
provisions related to removal). We also conclude, as will be
set forth below, the State has proved the child could not be
returned to the father's custody at the time of the
contends the State failed to prove termination of his
parental rights is in the best interests of the child. He
also contends the juvenile court should not have terminated
of his parental rights due to the strength of the
parent-child-bond. The record does not support the
child was born in 2011. Terry has not played a significant
role in the child's life due to Terry's substance
abuse and criminal behavior. Since the time of the
child's birth, Terry has been convicted of theft in the
fifth degree, domestic abuse assault, and assault causing
bodily injury. At the time of the termination hearing, the
father was incarcerated after being convicted of possession
of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and failure to
affix a drug tax stamp. His discharge date is in the year
2021. Terry testified he would be eligible for parole in
November 2016 and placed in a halfway house. He conceded he
could not have physical custody of the child in a halfway
house. Prior to the time of his incarceration, the father did
not exercise any regular visitation with the child and spent
little time with her. He did not provide financial support on
any regular basis. The child does not recognize the father as
her father. Terry testified he had not seen the child in over
two years and admitted, "I probably never done my
the juvenile court, we find there is no parent-child bond and
termination of the father's rights is in the best
interest of the child. While the father would like to make
amends for his past once paroled, "[i]t is well-settled
law that we cannot deprive a child of permanency after the
State has proved a ground for termination under section
232.116(1) by hoping someday a parent will learn to be a
parent and be able to provide a stable home for the
child." A.M., 843 N.W.2d at 112.
"What's past is prologue." In re K.F.,
No. 14-0892, 2014 WL 4635463, at *4 (Iowa Ct. App. Sept. 17,
2014); see also In re A.B., 815 N.W.2d 764, 778
(Iowa 2012) (noting a parent's past conduct is
instructive in determining future behavior).