IN THE INTEREST OF R.A., S.A., A.A., and K.A., Minor Children, L.A., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Romonda D.
Belcher, District Associate Judge.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights.
J. Gross of Community Lawyers of Iowa, P.L.C., Des Moines,
for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Charles K. Phillips,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
E. Mayfield of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, guardian ad
litem for minor children.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his
children A.A., born in November 2009, and K.A., born in
December 2010.  The father's rights were terminated
pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d), (f), and (i)
(2017). The father argues there is not clear and convincing
evidence to terminate his parental rights on any of the three
grounds for termination and termination is not in the
children's best interests.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
family has previously been involved with the Iowa Department
of Human Services (DHS). In July 2012, DHS filed a founded
report of denial of critical care and failure to provide
proper supervision. The father, a truck driver at the time,
left the children home alone with their mother for a period
of days. The mother in this case is physically and mentally
unable to care for the children-she is unable to speak or
walk without assistance-and is considered a dependent adult
by DHS. The mother was found wandering the neighborhood, and
the children-then ages one and two-were home with their
siblings, ages ten and twelve. DHS informed the father he
could not leave the children alone without another adult to
supervise, as their mother was not able to do so. In
September 2012, DHS filed another founded report of denial of
critical care when workers visited the home to find the
children alone with their mother. The father was again told
the children cannot be left home alone with their mother.
case started when the children were removed in May 2014 after
the father left the children alone with their mother for over
a month to look for work in his home country of El Salvador.
The house was unlivable; it was infested with cockroaches,
the plumbing was inoperable, and feces was present throughout
the house. The mother and the oldest child, R.A., had to be
hospitalized upon removal; R.A. had severe mental-health
issues resulting from the pressure of having to care for her
family. The children were placed with a foster family and
were adjudicated children in need of assistance in August.
children reported domestic violence in the home. R.A. and
S.A. reported their father severely beat and choked their
mother, and medical professionals have suggested this abuse
caused her mental and physical disabilities. R.A. and S.A.
reported their father perpetrating physical and emotional
abuse towards themselves and their siblings.
the father tested positive for cocaine use. He has not tested
positive for drugs since.
March 2015, the father had cleaned up the home and was
attending individual therapy. At the permanency review
hearing that month, the court was concerned with the
father's abilities to parent the children. The father
struggled with managing all of the children during
visitation-often expecting the older two children to take
care of the younger two-had ...