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In re T.T.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 23, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF T.T. and D.T., Minor Children, M.T., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Webster County, Angela L. Doyle, District Associate Judge.

         A father appeals the juvenile court order terminating his parental rights.

          Douglas Cook of Cook Law Office, Jewell, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit and John McCormally (until withdrawal), Assistant Attorneys General, for appellee State.

          Joseph L. Tofilon of Thatcher, Tofilon & Livingston, P.L.C., Fort Dodge, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         A father appeals the juvenile court order terminating his parental rights. We find there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of his rights, it would be contrary to the children's interests to give him additional time to work on reunification, and termination is in the children's best interests. We affirm the juvenile court's decision.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         M.T., father, and X.R., mother, are the parents of T.T., born in 2010, and D.T., born in 2016. The parents have a history of substance abuse, mental-health problems, and criminal behavior. The children were removed from the parents' care on May 11, 2017, due to the parents' use of methamphetamine. The children were placed with a maternal aunt. They were adjudicated to be in need of assistance (CINA), pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n) (2017).

         The father was arrested for third-degree theft on May 25. He was sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed two years, the sentence was suspended, and he was placed on probation. On June 4, he was arrested on drug charges and possession of burglary tools. Again, he was sentenced to two years in prison, the sentence was suspended, and he was placed on probation. In November, the father was found to have violated his probation, and he was placed in a halfway house. In April 2018, he tested positive for methamphetamine. His probation was revoked, and he was sent to prison.

         The father attended a substance-abuse treatment program while in the halfway house but did not successfully complete the program because he was sent to prison. He had regular visitation while in the halfway house and one visit while in prison.

         On May 29, 2018, the State filed a petition seeking to terminate the parents' rights. The termination hearing was held on July 25. The father testified he expected to be released from prison in seven to ten days and then live with his father. He stated he expected to be off parole by October or November. The father stated he planned to attend an outpatient treatment program so he could maintain employment.

         The juvenile court terminated the father's rights under section 232.116(1)(f) (T.T.), (h) (D.T.), and (l) (2018).[1] The court denied the father's request for more time to work on reunification, noting he had not participated in services prior to his placement in the halfway house, and even then continued to use methamphetamine and commit criminal offenses. The court found termination is in the children's best interests, stating, "it would be contrary to the children's welfare to be returned to the ...


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