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In re J.R.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 3, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF J.R., Minor Child, J.R., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Phillip J. Tabor, District Associate Judge.

         A father appeals from the order terminating his parental rights.

          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.

          Marsha J. Arnold, Davenport, for minor child.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ. Tabor, J., takes no part.

          BOWER, Judge.

         A father appeals a juvenile court order terminating his parental rights. We find there is sufficient evidence in the record to support the termination and termination is in the child's best interests. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         J.R., father, and E.B., mother, are the parents of J.R., who was born in 2013. Both parents have a history of substance abuse. The child was voluntarily removed from the mother's care in August 2015 after he was injured by the mother to the extent he required three surgeries.[1] The mother admitted slamming the child into a table, which caused injury to his intestines. The child developed gangrene and a portion of his intestines was removed. A hair test of the child was positive for marijuana; a hair test of another child in the household was positive for methamphetamine. The father was in prison at this time, but shortly thereafter was released on parole.

         On January 14, 2016, the juvenile court adjudicated the child as being in need of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(b), (c), (g), (n), and (o) (2015). The father was sporadic in attending parenting sessions. He was not amenable to receiving suggestions on improving his parenting skills.

         The father participated in supervised visits.[2] On September 14, 2016, the child's therapist wrote a letter stating visits with his parents was emotionally damaging to the child and caused behavioral problems. The therapist stated the child's "behaviors can be attributed to his visits with his parents as well as past emotional trauma caused by his parents. At this time, I am recommending to cease any visits between [the child] and his biological parents."

         The father had a history of mental health problems and had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He had a new psychological evaluation in December 2016 and was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. The report noted the father "evidences numerous discrete episodes of failure to resist aggressive impulses which have resulted in serious assaultive acts and destruction of property." He met with a therapist for anger management but continued to engage in angry outbursts.

         The State filed a petition for termination of the parents' rights on September 19, 2016. After a hearing, the juvenile court terminated the father's rights under ...


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