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In re A.H.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 3, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF A.H. and A.H., Minor Children, A.H.-W., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Nancy S. Tabor, Judge.

         A father appeals from the order terminating his parental rights.

          AFFIRMED. Matthew D. Hatch of Hatch Law Firm, P.C., Bettendorf, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen W. Kraemer, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Steven W. Stickle of Stickle Law Firm, P.L.C., Davenport, for minor children.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., Potterfield, J., and Mahan, S.J. [*] Tabor, J., takes no part.

          MAHAN, Senior Judge.

         A father appeals from the order terminating his parental rights to his two children. We affirm because a ground for termination exists, termination is in the best interests of the children, and no exception precludes termination.

         We review termination proceedings de novo. See In re M.W., 876 N.W.2d 212, 219 (Iowa 2016). Although we are not bound by the fact-findings of the juvenile court, we do give them weight, particularly when evaluating witness credibility. See id.

         With respect to the older child, born in April 2010, the court terminated the father's rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d) and (f) (2016), and with respect to the younger child, born in June 2015, pursuant to section 232.116(1)(d) and (h). The father asserts there is not clear and convincing evidence to support termination under subparagraphs "f" and "h, " arguing there is no finding the children have been "removed" from his custody as that term was interpreted in In re C.F.-H., 889 N.W.2d 201, 203-08 (Iowa 2016). We need not address this argument because there is clear and convincing evidence supporting termination under section 232.116(1)(d). See In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 707 (Iowa 2010) ("[W]e may affirm the juvenile court's termination order on any ground that we find supported by clear and convincing evidence.").

         Section 232.116(1)(d) allows the juvenile court to terminate parental rights if both of the following have occurred:

(1) The court has previously adjudicated the child to be a child in need of assistance [CINA] after finding the child to have been physically or sexually abused or neglected as the result of the acts or omissions of one or both parents, or the court has previously adjudicated a child who is a member of the same family to be a child in need of assistance after such a finding.
(2) Subsequent to the [CINA] adjudication, the parents were offered or received services to correct the circumstances which led to the adjudication, and the circumstance continues to exist despite the offer or receipt of services.

         Here, the children came to the attention of the department of human services (DHS) in June 2015, and a child abuse investigation was founded as to denial of critical care due to the father's use and sale of marijuana when the older child was present. When the youngest child was born in June 2015, the father was ousted from the hospital for threatening the maternal grandmother. During the child abuse investigation, it was learned the "father had perpetrated severe domestic abuse against the mother, and physically assaulted [the older child] during physically disciplining the child." The father reported ...


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