IN THE INTEREST OF B.W., M.W., and G.O., Minor Children, A.W., Mother, Appellant, I.W., Father of B.W. and M.W., Appellant, J.O., Father of G.O., Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F.
appeal from the order terminating their parental rights.
AFFIRMED ON ALL APPEALS.
C. Abbott of Abbott Law Office, P.C., Waterloo, for appellant
A. Hall of Linda Hall Law Firm & Mediation Services,
P.L.L.C., Cedar Falls, for appellant father I.W.
G. Martin of Swisher & Cohrt, PLC, Waterloo, for
appellant father J.O.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and David M. Van Compernolle,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Michael J. Lanigan of Law Office of Michael Lanigan,
Waterloo, guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and McDonald, JJ.
parents of three children appeal from the order terminating
their respective parental rights. Joshua, father of G.O.
(born 2008), contends the State failed to prove the statutory
grounds authorizing termination of his parental rights. Ira,
father of B.W. (born 2005) and M.W. (born 2007), contends the
State failed to prove the statutory grounds authorizing
termination of his parental rights. He also argues the State
failed to make reasonable efforts to reunify the family,
termination of his rights is not in the children's best
interests, and he should be given another six months to work
toward reunification. April, mother to all three children,
contends the State failed to prove the statutory grounds
authorizing termination of her parental rights. She also
argues termination of her parental rights is not in the
children's best interests.
are three children at issue. April and Ira are the parents of
B.W. and M.W. April and Ira divorced in 2007. The decree
dissolving their marriage afforded Ira regular visitation
with the children, but Ira has not regularly exercised the
visitation. Indeed, as will be discussed below, he has been
largely absent from the children's lives. April and
Joshua have been in a long-term relationship beginning some
time before 2008, when G.O. was born. April and Joshua
currently reside together.
Iowa Department of Human Services (IDHS) has been involved
with the family-April, Joshua, and the three
children-since 2007. Between 2007 and the time of the
termination hearing in late 2016, IDHS conducted fifteen
separate investigations involving this family. One
investigation resulted in a confirmed report of abuse, and
six investigations resulted in founded reports. The primary
concerns noted in the reports and assessments were the
unsanitary condition of the family home, multiple instances
of physical abuse of B.W., and April's failure to
supervise the children. The three children were adjudicated
children in need of assistance in October 2012, pursuant to
Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(b) (addressing physical abuse of a
child by a guardian) and (c)(2) (addressing the failure of a
child's guardian to "exercise a reasonable degree of
care in supervising the child") (2011).
children were removed from the home for the first time in
April 2013. At that time, the parents were instructed the
home would have to be cleaned and made safe before the
children could be returned to their care. M.W. and G.O., but
not B.W., were returned to the parents' care. However,
the condition of the home began deteriorating almost
immediately upon the children's return. The two children
were removed from the parents' care in September 2015 due
to methamphetamine use in the home. They have been placed in
separate foster homes. IDHS required the parents to maintain
an adequately clean home ...