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In re A.S.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 15, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF A.S., K.S., K.S., and K.S., Minor Children, N.M., Father, Appellant, D.P., Father, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Page County, Amy L. Zacharias, District Associate Judge.

         Two fathers appeal the juvenile court order terminating their parental rights.

          Jonathan J. Mailander of Mailander Law, Atlantic, for appellant father of A.S.

          C. Kenneth Whitacre of C. Kenneth Whitacre Law Office, Glenwood, for appellant father of K.S., K.S., and K.S.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Vicki R. Danley, Sidney, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         Two fathers appeal the juvenile court order terminating their parental rights. We find there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of each father's parental rights and termination is in the best interests of the children. We affirm the juvenile court's decision terminating the fathers' parental rights.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         A.S. is the mother of A.S., born in 2009, M.S., born in 2010, K.S., born in 2012, K.S., born in 2013, and K.S., born in 2015.[1] N.M. is the father of A.S. R.T. is the father of M.S. D.P. is the father of K.S., K.S., and K.S. The children were removed from the mother's care on January 13, 2017, because she had been using methamphetamine while caring for the children. A.S. and M.S. were placed with M.S.'s father, R.T. K.S., K.S., and K.S. were placed in foster care. At the time of the removal, N.M. was in prison in Texas and D.P. was in an Iowa jail.

         On May 10, 2017, the juvenile court entered an order adjudicating the children to be in need of assistance (CINA) under Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2), (g), and (n) (2017). On February 8, 2018, the State filed a petition seeking to terminate the parents' rights.

         During the CINA proceedings, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) sent information about the case to N.M., but did not hear back from him. After the termination petition was filed, N.M. was released from prison. He first lived in a half-way house in Sioux City, then an apartment in Omaha. He had four supervised visits with A.S., which were his first interactions with the child in five years. N.M. testified if he was given more time, A.S. could be placed with him.

         D.P. participated in one family team meeting by telephone during the CINA proceedings. He was released from jail on May 24, 2017, but did not thereafter participate in services. D.P.'s last contact with his children was in June 2017. He later told social workers he was using methamphetamine while he was out of jail. In July, D.P. was arrested in Omaha and served time in jail. About a week before the termination hearing, held in April 2018, he contacted a social worker to set up visitation, but no visits had ...


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