IN THE INTEREST OF T.R., C.R., and K.R., Minor Children, J.R., Father, Appellant, S.H., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Colin J. Witt,
District Associate Judge.
father and mother appeal separately from the order
terminating their parental rights. AFFIRMED ON BOTH
Alexandra M. Nelissen of Taylor Law Office, Des Moines, for
J. Lundberg of Lundberg Law Firm, Indianola, for appellant
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
ConGarry Williams of the Juvenile Public Defender's
Office, Des Moines, for minor children.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
DANILSON, Chief Judge.
mother and a father separately appeal the order terminating
their parental rights to three children: K.H.R., born in May
2010; T.H.R., born in October 2008; and C.H.R., born in
September 2005. The children-all over the age of four-were
removed from the parents' home on December 22, 2015; were
adjudicated children in need of assistance (CINA) on February
1, 2016; have been out of the parents' custody for well
over a year; and could not be returned to either parent at
the time of the termination hearing on June 5, 2017. There is
therefore clear and convincing evidence to support the
termination of each parent's parental rights pursuant to
Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2017) (allowing termination
of parental rights where child four years or older has been
adjudicated CINA, has been out of the parents' custody
for the last twelve consecutive months, and cannot be
returned at present).
both the mother and father argue there was not clear evidence
the children could not be returned at present, which would
negate a finding under section 232.116(1)(f), we observe the
father conceded as much at the termination
hearing. And the mother, on appeal, notes she
"requested the court grant her additional time to
successfully transition the children back into her
care." This is also an acknowledgment the children could
not be returned at present.
family has a long history of involvement with the department
of human services and the juvenile court in relation to the
parents' inabilities to provide safe and secure care.
There are numerous founded child-abuse assessments against
these parents. An earlier CINA proceeding was opened in 2011
due to domestic violence and substance-abuse issues. The
previous case was closed in 2013, but a new CINA case was
opened in December 2015 due to the parents' failure to
care for the medical needs of their children. Their then
four-year-old child weighed 150 pounds and the other two
children were also obese. The children had not received necessary
medical care and had extensive medical needs. The parents
tested positive for methamphetamine.
allegations of physical and sexual abuse of the daughters by
the father later surfaced, visitation was suspended. The
parents never progressed past therapeutic visits. The father
ceased participating in services.
December 9, 2016, the juvenile court entered a permanency
order finding, in part:
[T]he children were subjected to a violent environment
[including] the display of weapons prior to their removal and
that such was perpetrated by the father . . ., and that this
is a changed and new finding from the hearing in August 2016.
[The father] is not sufficiently engaged and in therapy to
give significant hope at this time that reunification can
take place with him. He needs to move out or separate from