IN THE INTEREST OF K.A., Minor Child, B.M., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Angela L.
Doyle, District Associate Judge.
father appeals the juvenile court's termination of his
AFFIRMED. Sarah J. Livingston of Thatcher, Tofilon &
Livingston, P.L.C., Fort Dodge, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and John B. McCormally,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
J. Conrad of Baker, Johnsen, Sandblom & Lemmenes,
Humboldt, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.
father appeals a juvenile court order terminating his
parental rights to his minor child, K.A., born in December
2014. He contends the district court erred in finding clear
and convincing evidence supported the statutory grounds for
termination, concluding termination was in the child's
best interests, declining to apply a statutory exception to
termination, and failing to grant a six-month extension to
Background Facts and Proceedings
came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) in September 2016 upon allegations that his
mother was using methamphetamine while caring for him and
would leave him for days at a time with friends and family.
After a positive drug screen for methamphetamine and a
founded child-abuse assessment against the mother for denial
of critical care for failure to provide proper supervision,
K.A. was placed in foster care. At that time, the child's
father was not identified. On December 15, K.A. was
adjudicated to be a child in need of assistance (CINA), and
temporary custody was placed with DHS for placement in foster
care. At the time of the termination hearing, other than a
two-month trial period with the mother in May and June 2017,
K.A. had been removed from parental care for thirteen of the
last fifteen months and had been placed with the same foster
family during that time.
March 6, 2017, K.A.'s father was identified through
paternity testing. The father's first contact with K.A.
occurred on March 8. On April 5, he signed a contract of
expectations with DHS and was initially offered three
supervised visits per week. Attendance and engagement were
inconsistent until July, when regular interactions took place
and a more significant visitation plan was developed, which
included unsupervised visits. However, beginning in
September, the father began cancelling visits, and when he
did visit, DHS reported that he was not engaging with K.A. in
activities. The visitation plan reverted to supervised visits
due to the father's inconsistent visitation as well as
his failure to comply with mandated drug testing. He has not
visited K.A. since early December, and K.A. has never been
placed in his father's care.
May 2017, the father entered residential treatment. He was
asked to leave early due to rule violations after which he
transferred to intensive outpatient treatment in June. He
completed this treatment program and transferred to an
extended outpatient treatment plan. However, he stopped
attending and was discharged at the end of August with
substantial completion. He admitted to relapsing a week after
his discharge. The father was asked to submit to random drug
testing with DHS beginning in August but failed to appear on
numerous occasions from August 23, 2017 to January 4, 2018.
father completed a substance-abuse evaluation on November 28,
2017, and extensive outpatient treatment was recommended.
Although he attended the admittance appointment on December
1, he did not appear for additional services and was
unsuccessfully discharged on January 1, 2018.
father is homeless and unemployed. He was living with his
father and his other child in the family home. The other
child is the subject of CINA proceedings and, as such,
conditions were placed on the father to allow him to remain
in the home. Due to his noncompliance with those
expectations, including drug testing, he ...