IN THE INTEREST OF C.H.-B., Minor Child, A.B., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Angela L.
Doyle, District Associate Judge.
father appeals from the termination of his parental rights.
Jessica L. Morton of Bruner, Bruner & Reinhart, LLP,
Carroll, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
J. Conrad of Baker, Johnsen, Sandblom & Lemmenes,
Humboldt, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Tabor, JJ.
DANILSON, CHIEF JUDGE.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his
child, C.H.-B., born in January 2017. The juvenile court
terminated the father's parental rights pursuant to Iowa
Code section 232.116(1)(b), (e), (h), and (l)
(2018). It also found termination was in the child's best
interests. When the juvenile court finds more than one ground
for termination under section 232.116(1), "we may affirm
. . . on any ground we find supported by the record."
In re A.B., 815 N.W.2d 764, 774 (Iowa 2012). Upon
our de novo review, see In re A.S., 906 N.W.2d 467,
472 (Iowa 2018), we find no basis to grant an extension, and
find clear and convincing evidence supports termination under
section 232.116(1)(h). Therefore, we affirm.
preliminary matter, we address the State's contention the
father has failed to preserve error. "[T]he general rule
that appellate arguments must first be raised in the trial
court applies to CINA and termination of parental rights
cases." A.B., 815 N.W.2d at 773. Error is not
preserved, as is repeatedly claimed in the father's
petition on appeal, by filing a timely notice of appeal.
See In re K.W., No. 15-0790, 2015 WL 4642786, at *1
(Iowa Ct. App. Aug. 5, 2015); see also Thomas A.
Mayes & Anuradha Vaitheswaran, Error Preservation in
Civil Appeals in Iowa: Perspectives on Present Practice,
55 Drake L. Rev. 39, 48 (2006) ("While this is a common
statement in briefs, it is erroneous, for the notice of
appeal has nothing to do with error preservation."
sufficiency of evidence sustaining any finding may be
challenged on appeal from judgment following a bench trial
even though the point was not raised in the trial court.
In re A.R., 316 N.W.2d 887, 888 (Iowa 1982). This is
mandated by Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.904(1). Thus,
error is preserved on the father's claims that there was
insufficient evidence to sustain the court's finding that
grounds for termination existed.
child came to the attention of the department of human
services (DHS) a week after he was born when the child's
umbilical-cord-blood drug screen was positive for THC.
Following his premature birth, the child remained
hospitalized for nearly four months, and at the time of trial
the child continued to receive medical care related to his
premature birth. The child was discharged to his parents'
care in May 2017. Roughly two weeks after the child was
discharged, DHS learned of domestic violence and
methamphetamine use in the home, and the parents signed a
voluntary placement agreement. The child was placed in foster
care, where he continues to reside. The child was adjudicated
a child in need of assistance (CINA) in June 2017, and the
juvenile court ordered temporary custody be placed with DHS.
The removal continued after the dispositional hearing held in
trial on the State's petition was held on June 7 and 13,
2018. On appeal the father argues there was not clear and
convincing evidence for any of the four grounds under which
the court terminated his parental rights. Under Iowa Code
section 232.116(1)(h), the court may terminate the rights of
a parent to a child if: (1) the child is three years old or
younger; (2) the child has been adjudicated a CINA under
section 232.96; (3) the child has been out of the
parent's custody for at least six of the last twelve
months, or the last six consecutive months and any trial
period at home has been less than thirty days; and (4)
"[t]here is clear and convincing evidence that the child
cannot be returned to the custody of the child's parents
as provided in section 232.102 at the present time."
is no question the child meets the first three requirements.
It is uncontested he was under the age of three at the time
of trial, had been adjudicated a CINA in June 2017, and had
been out of the custody of his parents since May 2017.
despite more than a year of services, the father was still
not in a position to care for the child without ongoing DHS
involvement. The evidence ...