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In re J.D.-G.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 8, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF J.D.-G., Minor Children, J.D.-G., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Tama County, Nicholas L. Scott, District Associate Judge.

         A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his child.

          Deborah M. Skelton, Walford, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen Witte Kraemer, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Breanna Margaret Nelson of Grimes, Buck, Schoell, Beach & Hitchins, Marshalltown, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and McDonald, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his child born in 2016. He contends (1) the grounds for termination lack evidentiary support and (2) termination is not in the child's best interests.

         I.

         The district court terminated the father's parental rights pursuant to several statutory provisions. We may affirm the termination decision if we find clear and convincing evidence to support any of the grounds cited by the court. In re S.R., 600 N.W.2d 63, 64 (Iowa Ct. App. 1999).

         Our de novo review of the record reveals the following facts. The department of human services reported that the parents had "a history of substance abuse, domestic violence, and safety concerns, " and the mother's parental rights to another child were terminated. In light of that termination, the department intervened to ensure the safety of this child following her birth. The parents made a safety plan and initially participated in safety services. However, ongoing concerns about their ability to safely parent their child prompted the department to file a petition to have the child adjudicated in need of assistance.[1]

         Meanwhile, the department reported, "A [c]hild [a]buse assessment was initiated . . . due to concerns [the father] physically forced [the mother] to the ground and smashed his cell phone while [the child] was present in the home." The father was placed on the child-abuse registry for denial of critical care and failure to provide proper supervision, with the child listed as the victim.

         The parents stipulated to adjudication of the child as a child in need of assistance. The child remained with the mother under the protective supervision of the department.

         Within two weeks of the adjudicatory order, the department determined that the mother was absent, her whereabouts were unknown, and the father was prohibited from having any unsupervised contact with the child. The agency sought and obtained a temporary removal order. The child was ultimately ...


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