IN THE INTEREST OF X.L., Minor Child, D.L., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Gregg R.
father appeals the order terminating his parental rights to
his three-year-old son. AFFIRMED.
M. Wright, Forest City, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Crystal L. Ely of McGuire Law Firm, Mason City, guardian ad
litem for minor child.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor,
appeals the juvenile court's order terminating his
parental rights to three-year-old X.L. He contends the State
did not present clear and convincing evidence to support the
grounds for termination. He argues it was not in X.L.'s
best interests to terminate his rights, and termination would
be detrimental to X.L. due to the closeness of their
relationship. DeWayne complains the Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) did not make reasonable efforts to reunify him
with X.L. He also argues he should have been given an
additional six months to work toward reunification.
our de novo review of the record,  we conclude the
circumstances meet the statutory basis for termination under
Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2017), and termination was
proper under sections 232.116(2) and (3). DeWayne is not
prepared, due to his unresolved substance-abuse issues, to
assume custody despite reasonable efforts made on his behalf.
An additional six months would not have remedied the
situation. We affirm the juvenile court's order.
FACTS AND PRIOR PROCEEDINGS
birth, X.L. tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),
the active component of marijuana, but continued to live with
his older half-sister in the care of their mother. When X.L.
was just eight weeks old, the mother and DeWayne got into a
physical fight, and the mother stabbed DeWayne, while X.L.
was present. The DHS temporarily removed the children but
later returned them to the mother's care. When X.L. was
nine months old, law enforcement officials received reports
the mother was physically abusing X.L.'s sister. The
court approved removal of the children, then placed them back
with the mother. In the fall of 2016, DHS lost contact with
the family. They had become homeless, and the older child had
not been attending school. Upon relocating them late in 2016,
the DHS removed the children from the mother again and placed
them in the foster home where they have been living ever
this time, DeWayne got in touch with DHS about seeing X.L. At
the next review hearing, DeWayne was present, and the court
ordered DHS to begin providing services to him. The court
ordered DHS to investigate his home for possible placement,
set up drug testing, provide visitation, and assist with
housing and transportation. The court ordered DeWayne to
obtain substance-abuse and mental-health evaluations and
follow through with any recommendation for treatment.
early 2017, DeWayne's substance-abuse counselor informed
DHS DeWayne was not engaging in services and admitted to
substance abuse but was not interested in quitting. DeWayne
refused to take drug tests and missed appointments. He
declined to provide his address so DHS could set up
visitation. In April, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor
possession of marijuana. In May, the juvenile court
terminated the mother's parental rights. But the court
found DeWayne was entitled to more time to participate in
services because DHS had focused its services on the mother
and did not adequately respond to DeWayne's requests.
DeWayne had secured a job and housing, and DHS set up
supervised visits in his home.
months passed, DeWayne failed to address his substance abuse
or respond to services. He was discharged unsuccessfully from
a treatment program for not participating. Another
substance-abuse evaluation recommended extended outpatient
treatment which he declined. He failed several drug screens,
testing positive for marijuana. DeWayne allowed his marijuana
use to impact his interactions with X.L. On one occasion,
social workers came to his apartment for visitation but had
to cut the visit short due to the heavy smell of marijuana. A
few days later, DeWayne refused to ...