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In re A.F.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 8, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF A.F., Minor Child, D.F., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marion County, Steven W. Guiter, District Associate Judge.

         A father appeals the juvenile court decision terminating his parental rights. AFFIRMED.

          Kevin E. Hobbs of Kevin Hobbs, Attorney at Law, West Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Dawn M. Bowman of Bowman Law Office, Pleasantville, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Mullins, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.

          BOWER, Judge.

         A father appeals the juvenile court decision terminating his parental rights. We find the father's parental rights were properly terminated under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2016). There was clear and convincing evidence the child had been removed from the parents' care for at least six months and the child could not be safely returned to the father's care. We also find termination of the father's parental rights is in the child's best interests. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         D.F., father, and N.R., mother, are the parents of a child born in 2014. The father participated in caring for the child for about one year after she was born. The child was removed from the parents' care on September 14, 2015, after the mother tested positive for methamphetamine. The father was in the Newton Correctional Facility at the time.[1] The child was placed in the care of the maternal grandmother.

         The parties stipulated the child was in need of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) (2015), which provides for CINA adjudication when a child has suffered or is imminently likely to suffer harmful effects due to the parents failure "to exercise a reasonable degree of care in supervising the child." On May 4, 2016, the juvenile court modified the dispositional order to place the child in "another suitable placement, " along with one of the child's half-siblings.

         On April 22, 2016, the father was placed in a half-way house in Burlington. He obtained employment. He participated in a substance abuse evaluation and completed an extended outpatient treatment program. The father was released from the half-way house on September 6, 2016. He was currently living with a woman who had some prior involvement with the Iowa Department of Human Services. The father participated in two authorized visits with the child and had one unauthorized interaction. He had telephone contact with the child both while he was in prison and the half-way house.

         On September 8, 2016, the State filed a petition seeking termination of the parents' rights. After the hearing, the juvenile court entered an order on December 2, 2016, terminating the father's parental rights under section 232.116(1)(d) and (h) (2016). The court found services had been offered to the father and he did not participate in the services. The court also found the child could not be safely returned to the father's care at the current time. The father now appeals the juvenile court order terminating his parental rights.[2]

         II. ...


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