IN THE INTEREST OF J.M., Minor Child, J.M., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Christine
Dalton Ploof, District Associate Judge.
father appeals from the juvenile court order terminating his
parental rights to his biological child. AFFIRMED.
Timothy J. Tupper of Tupper Law Firm, Davenport, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Michael A. Woods of Zamora, Taylor, Woods & Frederick,
Davenport, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.
father appeals from the juvenile court's order
terminating his parental rights to his biological child, J.M.
The father does not dispute whether the statutory grounds for
termination have been met. Rather, he maintains he should be
given additional time to work toward reunification with J.M.
and claims termination of his parental rights is not in
J.M.'s best interests.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) first became involved
with this family in September 2015, before J.M.'s birth.
At the time, the family was comprised of J.M.'s mother,
father, and J.M.'s three half-siblings. The
department's involvement began after J.M.'s mother
took the eight-month-old half-sibling, K.F., to the emergency
room because K.F. had limited movement on one-half of her
body and her feet were bluish in color. While there, doctors
determined K.F. had differently aged rib fractures and was
malnourished. The two older children were examined and were
found to have bed bug bites and marks indicating frequent
blunt-force impacts. The oldest child, A.H., was five years
old at the time; she reported the father had been hitting her
and the other two children with his hands and with
objects-including a coat hanger and a belt. A.H. also
reported her mother had been present some of the times the
father beat them. J.M.'s three half-siblings were then
removed from the parents' care.
November 2015, the father was jailed for multiple counts of
felony child endangerment. The father was unable to post
bond, and he remained in jail on the pending charges.
was born in February 2016 and was removed from the
parents' care by court order the day after his birth. He
was immediately placed in the home of his maternal
relatives-the same home in which his half-siblings were
father ultimately pled guilty to two counts of felony child
endangerment. He received two five-year sentences to be
served concurrently. He was able to have two visits with J.M.
while he remained in the local jail, but he had no visits
after he was transferred to prison in July 2016.
termination hearing took place on March 15, 2017. The father
appeared telephonically from prison. He testified he had
taken a number of courses while incarcerated, including
classes geared toward parenting skills and cognitive
restructuring. He also testified he was scheduled for parole
release in May 2017. His testimony was in conflict with a
report to the court filed by the DHS caseworker, which
indicated the ...