IN THE INTEREST OF C.H. and F.H., Minor Children, C.H., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Colin J. Witt,
District Associate Judge.
father appeals the order terminating his parental rights to
his five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter. AFFIRMED.
C. Poschner of Borseth Law Office, Altoona, for appellant
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Charles K. Phillips,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Kimberly S. Ayotte of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, guardian
ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.
father, Chad, appeals the juvenile court's order
terminating his parental rights to his son, C.H., who was
born in July 2011, and his daughter, F.H., who was born in
October 2013. On appeal, Chad argues the State failed to
prove the statutory grounds for termination under Iowa Code
section 232.116(1) (2016), termination was not in the
children's best interests under section 232.116(2), and
the juvenile court should have found a reason to preserve his
parental rights under section 232.116(3)(a) or (c). After
examining the matter anew,  we find clear and convincing
evidence to support the juvenile court's findings.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
and Ashley had a volatile relationship, fraught with domestic
violence and substance abuse. Together they had two children:
C.H. and F.H. In April 2015, the Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) removed C.H. and F.H. from Ashley's care
after receiving reports she had been abusing methamphetamine.
At the time of removal, a civil protective order prevented
Chad from having contact with Ashley. Ashley had obtained the
2015. Chad, who had an extensive criminal history, violated
the order later that month by trying to pry open the door of
Ashley's house after she changed the locks. But by the time
the juvenile court adjudicated the children in need of
assistance (CINA) on May 26, 2015, the protective order had
been lifted, and Chad and Ashley had gotten married.
initially placed the children with their maternal great-aunt,
but after she reported concerns about the arrangement, the
DHS modified the placement to the children's paternal
grandmother, Leann. Chad had daily visits with his children
that Leann supervised. Upon DHS recommendation, Chad began
attending individual therapy. Although he was initially
consistent with therapy, in September 2015, Chad started
missing appointments. Chad's therapist cautioned that
Chad would be unable to meet his goals without more reliable
domestic-violence issues between Ashley and Chad persisted.
In October 2015, Ashley moved out of the home she shared with
Chad and began living at a domestic-violence shelter. At the
review hearing that month, the juvenile court opined
"any romantic relationship between [Chad and Ashley] is
a clear impediment to reunification." But as evidenced
by their regular reports of the abusive and harassing
behavior of the other to the DHS, Chad and Ashley continued
to have contact. More than once, each applied for no-contact
orders against the other and then failed to attend the
scheduled court hearing in the matter. In December 2015,
Ashley was arrested for domestic-abuse assault after Chad
reported that she had run him over with her vehicle.
faced legal difficulties of his own. From January to July
2016, he was incarcerated at the Polk County jail for driving
while his license was barred. While Chad was incarcerated,
concerns regarding Chad's history of domestic abuse and
controlling behavior began to mount. Chad placed more than
300 calls to Leann and Ashley while he was in jail. After
Chad's release to the Fort Des Moines Men's Facility
in July, he called a former paramour repeatedly until she