IN THE INTEREST OF N.J., N.J., and M.J., Minor Children, M.J., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Susan C. Cox,
District Associate Judge.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights.
A. Macro Jr. of Macro & Kozlowski, L.L.P., West Des
Moines, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
E. Mayfield of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, guardian ad
litem for minor children.
M. Pattison of Drake Legal Clinic, Des Moines, attorney for
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his
children Ne.J., born in November 2004; Na.J., born in March
2007; and M.J., born in May 2011. The father's rights were
terminated pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d), (f),
and (i) (2017). The father contends termination is not in the
best interests of the children and placement with paternal
family members was not properly considered.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
August 2016, Ne.J. and Na.J. disclosed the father's
sexual abuse. Ne.J. reported repeated sexual abuse starting
at age eight or nine. Na.J. reported repeated sexual abuse
during the past two years. Both sisters report witnessing the
other sister being sexually abused and their brother
witnessing their sexual abuse. M.J. reported being physically
abused on a regular basis and witnessing his two sisters
being physically abused. The mother reported witnessing the
father forcing Ne.J. to perform oral sex in 2011.
three children were removed and adjudicated children in need
of assistance (CINA) in September. They were placed with a
paternal aunt until January 2017, when the aunt violated a
court order by allowing the father's sister to talk to
Ne.J. about the abuse. The children were then placed in their
maternal grandparents' custody.
April, the court ordered M.J. to be placed in a shelter. The
maternal grandparents were unable to safely care for M.J. due
to his mental-health issues, and his therapist recommended
placement in a shelter. Later, M.J. was hospitalized and then
placed in foster care. M.J. was placed at various shelters
and foster homes until July 10, when he was placed at Four
Oaks, a psychiatric medical institution for children.
May to August, Ne.J. and Na.J. were placed with a foster
family to allow time for their maternal grandparents to learn
skills to be able to better meet their needs. The sisters
were returned to their maternal grandparents in August, and