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In re R.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 6, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF R.C., Minor Child, A.C., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Romonda D. Belcher, District Associate Judge.

         A father appeals the juvenile court order terminating his parental rights.

          Thomas A. Hurd of Glazebrook & Hurd, L.L.P., Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Meredith L. Lamberti, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          ConGarry D. Williams, State Public Defender's Office, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         A father appeals the juvenile court order terminating his parental rights. We find there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of the father's rights. We also find termination is in the child's best interests. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         A.C., father, and M.C., mother, are the parents of a child, R.C., born in 2014. The parents have a history of substance abuse. The child was removed from the parents' care on July 28, 2016, after the mother became intoxicated and abandoned the child near an intersection. The mother was charged with public intoxication, child endangerment, and assault on a police officer. The father stated he had recently used methamphetamine and was not in a position to safely parent the child. On removal, a hair test of the child was positive for methamphetamine and marijuana. The child was placed in the care of a maternal great-aunt.

         The child was adjudicated to be in need of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n) (2016). Until January 2017 the father had very limited contact with employees of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). The child was hospitalized in February 2017 and restraints were necessary to keep the child from removing a tube in her nose. The parents removed one of the restraints, the young child removed the tubing, and medical personnel had to reinsert the tube, causing the child additional pain. In April 2017, DHS requested the father wear a drug patch and he refused. He did not participate in substance abuse treatment or mental health counseling. The father was inconsistent in exercising visitation with the child.

         On May 8, 2017, the State filed a petition seeking termination of the parents' rights. At the termination hearing, held on July 6, 2017, the juvenile court ordered the father to submit to a drug test that day. The test was positive for marijuana, amphetamine, and methamphetamine. The court terminated the father's parental rights under section 232.116(1)(h) (2017).[1] The court found termination was in the child's best interests, noting "ongoing concerns about the safety of the child if returned to the care of either parent." The father now appeals the termination of his parental rights.

         II. Standard of Review

         The scope of review in termination cases is de novo. In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 706 (Iowa 2010). Clear and convincing evidence is needed to establish the grounds for termination. In re J.E., 723 N.W.2d 793, 798 (Iowa 2006). Where there is clear and convincing evidence, there is no serious or substantial doubt about the correctness of the conclusions drawn from the evidence. In re D.D., 653 N.W.2d 359, 361 (Iowa 2002). The paramount ...


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