IN THE INTEREST OF A.B., Minor Child, D.B., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Virginia
Cobb, District Associate Judge.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his
J. Tingle of Tingle Law Office, Des Moines, for appellant
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
A. Stratton of Juvenile Public Defender Office, Des Moines,
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.
father appeals a juvenile court order terminating his
parental rights to his minor child, born in 2009. The father
contends the juvenile court erred in (1) finding clear and
convincing evidence supported the statutory grounds for
termination, (2) concluding termination is in the child's
best interests, and (3) declining to apply a statutory
exception to termination.
Background Facts and Proceedings
child and his parents came to the attention of the Iowa
Department of Human Services (DHS) in December 2015 upon
information that the mother stabbed the father with a knife
while in the presence of the child. This altercation stemmed
from an argument concerning the father's contact with an
ex-girlfriend, V.B., who was pregnant with the father's
child at the time. The stabbing allegation was confirmed, and
further investigation revealed a history of domestic violence
between the parents. The State filed a
child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) petition in February 2016,
alleging the child had been exposed to domestic violence in
the home. In April, the juvenile court adjudicated the child
a CINA pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) (2016).
The juvenile court placed the child with the father and
ordered the father to not allow contact between the child and
V.B. The mother was allowed visitation at the discretion of
July, the State filed an application to change the
child's placement, alleging the father violated the
court's previous order by allowing V.B. "to
supervise and otherwise be around the child." On July
11, following an evidentiary hearing, the juvenile court
removed the child from the father's care and placed him
with his paternal aunt. In its July 19
modification-of-placement order, the court noted:
Placement outside the parental home is necessary because
continued placement in or a return to the home would be
contrary to the child['s] welfare due to father
disobeying the no contact order of the court, and the parents
causing mental stress on the child by putting him in the
middle of their adult issues.
father appealed this order. A panel of this court affirmed
the juvenile court's modification of placement,
concluding "the transfer of custody to his aunt was
necessary to protect A.B. from further harm." In re
A.B., No. 16-1267, 2016 WL 5408263, at *3 (Iowa Ct. App.
Sept. 28, 2016).
December, the State again moved to modify placement of the
child, alleging the child's aunt had not taken the child
to discovery therapy, had not been consistent with giving the
child his medication, and engaged in inappropriate
conversations with the child. The juvenile court granted ...