IN THE INTEREST OF J.R., Minor Child, W.R., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Jasper County, Steven J.
Holwerda, District Associate Judge.
father appeals the adjudication of his child as a child in
need of assistance.
J. Pettigrew of Pettigrew Law Firm, P.C., Ankeny, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
L. Clements of Clements Law and Mediation, LLC, Newton,
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor,
father appeals the adjudication of his child, J.R., as a
child in need of assistance (CINA), arguing the State failed
to present clear and convincing evidence under Iowa Code
section 232.2(6)(b) and (c)(2) (2018).
Background Facts and Proceedings.
was born in December 2017. Shortly after his birth, it was
reported that the mother and father had difficulties
maintaining a clean and safe home. A worker from the Iowa
Department of Human Services (DHS) visited the home where the
mother, father, J.R., the mother's father, and the
mother's step-mother reside together. The DHS worker
found the home to be adequately clean, organized, and
appropriate for the family. The parents agreed to work with
family safety, risk, and permanency (FSRP) services, and a
worker came to their home every day for a thirty-day period
between December and January. The FSRP worker reported the
parents complied with requests, but the worker expressed
concerns about both parents' mental health and whether
the home would be adequately safe once J.R. becomes mobile.
The State requested the court to adjudicate J.R. as a child
in need of assistance.
adjudication hearing, the State presented evidence the
father's parental rights to other children had previously
been terminated. The father testified he has six children,
including J.R. The father testified his first child was
adopted by other parents. Three of his children are residing
with their mother, the father's ex-wife, and the father
is unsure of their whereabouts. His parental rights to his
fifth child, B.R., born to J.R.'s mother, were terminated
in Minnesota in the summer of 2017.
hearing, the State submitted a parental-capacity evaluation
and the termination order from the Minnesota termination
proceedings. The parental-capacity evaluation included
concerns the father was not able to follow medical
recommendations, was overfeeding the child, did not have
appropriate knowledge of developmental milestones,
inappropriately held the baby, and had a history of
mental-health and domestic-violence issues. In the Minnesota
termination order, the court found there were concerns about
the home being dirty, cluttered, and unsafe for a child, and
concerns about the father's understanding of child
development and ability to properly feed, dress, or bathe the
Minnesota parental-capacity evaluation reflects the father
has been admitted to inpatient mental-health services
multiple times for suicidal ideation, with the most recent
hospitalization in 2014. The Minnesota termination order
found the father had a history of untreated mental-health
issues, including bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety
disorder, and other personality disorders with antisocial
traits. The father was not taking his medications as
prescribed at that time and had not followed through after
multiple psychiatric evaluations. The evaluation found the
father to have cognitive limitations. The father admitted in
the Minnesota termination proceedings that he was unable to
properly parent the child or meet the child's needs and
would not be able to do so in the reasonable foreseeable
adjudication hearing in this matter, the father testified he
was planning to move to another apartment with the mother and
J.R. The mother testified they could better manage the
cleanliness of their home in a new apartment because it would
not be shared with the mother's father, step-mother, and
their multiple cats. The father testified he was not
currently taking any mental-health medication because his
last doctor discontinued his medication. The father has not
engaged in therapy as recommended by DHS. He also testified
he was on the waiting list for mental-health services; his
wife had made the appointment the day prior to the hearing.
The parents submitted a letter from J.R.'s doctor stating
J.R. is in good health, showing good growth, and is up ...