IN THE INTEREST OF J.E., Minor Child, C.H., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Boone County, James B.
Malloy, District Associate Judge.
incarcerated father appeals the termination of his parental
rights to his one-year-old daughter.
Matthew A. Mauk of Mauk Law Office, Ames, for appellant
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen Witte Kraemer,
Special Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Michelle Sparks of Cooper, Goedicke, Reimer and Reese, P.C.,
West Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
father, Caleb, appeals the termination of his parental rights
in his one-year-old daughter, J.E. The Iowa Department of
Human Services (DHS) took custody of J.E. based on her
mother's methamphetamine use. On appeal, Caleb challenges
the statutory grounds for termination, arguing J.E. was never
removed from his care because he was incarcerated for her
independently reviewing the record, we reach the same
conclusion as the juvenile court regarding the termination of
Caleb's parental rights. The State satisfied the removal
element of the statute. Moreover, Caleb cannot parent his
child from prison and has not met the DHS expectations for
establishing a relationship with J.E.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
came to the attention of the DHS in May 2016 after the
mother's parole officer reported the mother tested
positive for methamphetamine and admitted to caring for J.E.
while under the influence of the illicit drug. The DHS
contacted the mother, and she consented to the removal of
J.E. The juvenile court entered an order temporarily removing
J.E. from the mother's custody.
was in prison when J.E. was born and remained in prison
throughout these proceedings. Once the DHS confirmed
paternity, social worker Tammy Miller tried to set up
visitation between Caleb and J.E. But Miller was unable to
schedule father-daughter interactions because the prison
required Caleb to complete a domestic-abuse class first and
he failed to do so. After a second inquiry, Caleb's prison
counselor, Doug Fliehe, informed Miller that Caleb could not
have visitors under the age of eighteen. While in prison,
Caleb provided no financial support for J.E. and did not try
to connect with J.E. in any way.
State filed a petition to terminate parental rights in
December 2016. At the termination hearing, Miller testified
about her efforts to involve Caleb in J.E.'s life. Fliehe
testified about Caleb's progress in prison. He noted the
prison considered Caleb a security risk due to his poor
conduct. Because of his poor conduct, Caleb could be
transferred to a more restrictive setting-making any
potential visitation more difficult. According to Fliehe,
Caleb's misdeeds and potential transfer also reduced
Caleb's chances for parole.
August 2017, the juvenile court terminated Caleb's
parental rights in J.E. under Iowa Code section ...