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In re S.M.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

April 4, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF S.M., Minor Child, R.N., Father, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Deborah Farmer Minot, District Associate Judge.

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

          Kristin L. Denniger, Cedar Rapids, for appellant father.

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

          Anthony A. Haughton of Linn County Advocate, Inc., Cedar Rapids, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran 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 parental rights and termination is in the child's best interests. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         R.N. is the father of S.M., who was born in 2016. The child was removed from the mother's care on March 9, 2016, because she left the child in the care of a registered sex offender and she had a history of drug use. The father was not involved in the child's life at the time. The child was adjudicated to be in need of assistance (CINA), pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (o) (2016).

         R.N. participated in paternity testing in August 2016, which showed he was the child's biological father. He then began to participate in services with the Iowa Department of Human Services. The State filed a petition seeking to terminate the parents' rights.[1] On November 6, 2016, the juvenile court found, "the father continues to make progress on his goals as established by the Case Permanency Plan, " and granted the father's motion for a continuance.

         R.N. progressed to semi-supervised visits but had problems communicating with service providers. The State filed a petition seeking to terminate his parental rights. The guardian ad litem (GAL) recommended R.N. have an additional six months to work on reunification. After a hearing, the juvenile court entered an order on May 1, 2017, giving R.N. an additional six months to work on reunification. The court stated:

[R.N.] needs to secure child care during his long working hours, increase his knowledge and understanding of [the child's] current and future developmental needs, improve his supervision of [the child], show that he can rise to the challenge of [the child's] changing developmental needs, ...

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