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In re D.W.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 13, 2017

IN THE INTERST OF D.W., D.W., and D.W., Minor Children, D.W., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, DeDra L. Schroeder, Judge.

         A father appeals from the order terminating his parental rights.

          Michael J. Moeller of Sorensen Law Office, Clear Lake, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Crystal L. Ely, of North Iowa Youth Law Center, Mason City, for minor children.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         A father appeals the juvenile court decision terminating his parental rights to three children.[1] We find the State offered the father reasonable efforts, there was sufficient evidence to terminate the father's rights, no exception to termination applies, and termination is in the best interests of the children. We affirm the district court.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) first became involved with the father in 2013 after a number of child abuse assessments. In 2015, DHS was notified the father was using methamphetamine while caring for the children. The two older children were adjudicated children in need of assistance (CINA), though they remained in the father's care. Substance-abuse counseling, drug testing, mental-health treatment, and protective child care were all recommended by DHS. In April 2016, the father contacted DHS and informed the department he and the mother had relapsed and were using illegal drugs. The younger child was then adjudicated CINA and all three children were removed from the father's care.

         The father did not consistently attend visitation even when the visitation was conducted in his home. Visitation was moved from the father's home to another city. The father filed a motion for lack of reasonable efforts, requesting increased visitation and assistance with transportation to the visits. The district court found DHS made reasonable efforts.

         During the case the father continued to struggle with substance, alcohol, and domestic-abuse issues. During one incident the father lit the mother's clothes on fire along with some of the children's belongings, for which he was jailed. The father failed to complete substance-abuse treatment, has not consistently passed or taken drug tests, and has even shaved his body hair in an attempt to thwart further testing.

         The father's parental rights were terminated on June 27, 2017. He now appeals.

         II. ...


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