IN THE INTEREST OF G.R., Minor Child, J.R., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Angela A.
Doyle, District Associate Judge.
father appeals from the juvenile court's order
terminating his parental rights to his child. AFFIRMED.
Douglas E. Cook of Cook Law Firm, Jewell, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd (until
withdrawal) and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorneys General,
J. Johnson of Johnson & Bonzer, P.L.C., Fort Dodge,
attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
father appeals the juvenile court's order terminating his
parental rights to his child, G.R., born in August 2014. We
review termination-of-parental-rights proceedings de novo.
In re M.W., 876 N.W.2d 212, 219 (Iowa 2016).
"We are not bound by the juvenile court's findings
of fact, but we do give them weight, especially in assessing
the credibility of witnesses." Id. (quoting
In re A.M., 843 N.W.2d 100, 110 (Iowa 2014)). Our
primary consideration is the best interests of the child.
See In re J.E., 723 N.W.2d 793, 798 (Iowa 2006).
juvenile court terminated the father's parental rights
pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e), (h), and
(l) (2016). He does not challenge the statutory
grounds for termination on appeal; thus, we do not address
this issue and affirm the statutory grounds for termination.
See In re P.L., 778 N.W.2d 33, 40 (Iowa 2010)
(stating that when a parent does not challenge the existence
of statutory grounds, we need not address the issue).
Instead, the father contends termination is not in the
child's best interests because the child may be adopted
by her maternal grandmother, which he believes would create a
dangerous situation for the child given the child's
mother's serious substance-abuse issues. At trial, the
father requested that a guardianship be established with the
has lived with her maternal grandmother her entire life. The
grandmother wants to adopt G.R. She has sought professional
help on how to handle her daughter's substance-abuse
issues and protect G.R. In determining best interests, the
juvenile court noted:
Neither parent is in a position to assume custody of the
child at this time. [The mother] and [father] do not have
suitable homes for the child. Neither parent desires custody
of the child at this time. [The father] does not even want
custody after he is released from prison, but believes the
child should remain in [the grandmother]'s home. The
material, physical, mental and emotional condition and needs
of the child cannot be met by the parents, but have been met
and continue to be met by the maternal grandmother. In order
to further the long-term nurturing and growth of the child,
and to meet the physical, mental and emotional condition and
needs of the child, the best placement is in the custody of
the [Iowa] Department of Human Services [(DHS)] for eventual
not disagree with the juvenile court's conclusion
termination is in G.R.'s best interests so that she may
be available for adoption. We affirm this part of the
juvenile court's termination order.
father also argues the juvenile court should have granted his
request for an additional six months to work toward
reunification. Under Iowa Code section 232.104(2)(b), a court
may authorize a six-month extension if it determines
"the need for removal of the child from the child's
home will no longer exist at the end of the additional
father last had contact with his child in December 2014, when
she was four months old, even though DHS provided him other
opportunities to visit with the child. The father testified
at the combined permanency and termination hearing that he
has a significant history of substance abuse. At the time of
the hearing, he was incarcerated on charges of extortion and
possession of methamphetamine. He testified he continued to
use methamphetamine until his incarceration in January 2016.
The father has a tentative discharge date in February 2018
but hopes to be paroled before that time. The father admitted
at the termination hearing that he would not be able to
parent G.R. upon his release from prison but did not want his
parental rights terminated because he wanted the opportunity
to parent her at some point in the future. Based upon our de
novo review of the ...