IN THE INTEREST OF M.S., M.S., M.S., and M.S., Minor Children, A.S., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Chickasaw County, Linnea
M.N. Nicol, District Associate Judge.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights in his
four children. AFFIRMED.
William P. Baresel of Prichard Law Office, PC, Charles City,
for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Nathaniel Schwickerath, New Hampton, attorney and guardian ad
litem for M.S., M.S., and M.S.
L. Schroeder, Waterloo, attorney and guardian ad litem for
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.
appeals from an order terminating his parental rights in his
four children. The juvenile court terminated Anthony's
parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e)
and (f) (2018). On appeal, Anthony does not contest the
sufficiency of the evidence supporting the statutory grounds
authorizing the termination of his parental rights. Instead,
he contends it is not in the children's best interest to
terminate the parent-child relationships. This court reviews
"proceedings terminating parental rights de novo."
In re A.S., 906 N.W.2d 467, 472 (Iowa 2018).
record reflects the children were removed from the home in
December 2016 when two of the children were seriously injured
in a car accident. Anthony caused the accident by driving
under the influence of methamphetamine and marijuana. After
removal, the parents were largely unavailable and otherwise
not responsive to services. At the time of the termination
hearing, Anthony was incarcerated on a fifteen-year sentence
arising out of the traffic accident. At the same time, the
mother was commencing her own lengthy prison sentence for
various drug offenses. As the juvenile court noted, the
children will be of majority age by the time the parents
discharge their respective sentences.
recognizes he was not able to care for the children at the
time of the termination hearing, but he contends the juvenile
court should have maintained the parent-child relationships
and placed the children in a guardianship. Specifically, the
children were placed with their adult sister, and Anthony
requests she serve as the children's guardian while he is
incarcerated. We conclude Anthony's proposed arrangement
is not in the best interest of the children.
considering the children's best interest, we "give
primary consideration to the child[ren]'s safety, to the
best placement for furthering the long-term nurturing and
growth of the child[ren], and to the physical, mental, and
emotional condition and needs of the child[ren]." Iowa
Code § 232.116(2). We consider both the long-term and
immediate interests of the children. See In re J.E.,
723 N.W.2d 793, 798 (Iowa 2006). We evaluate "evidence
of the parent's past performance, [because it] may be
indicative of the quality of future care that parent is
capable of providing." In re A.B., 815 N.W.2d
764, 778 (Iowa 2012) (quoting In re C.B., 611 N.W.2d
489, 495 (Iowa 2000)); accord J.E., 723 N.W.2d at
798. We give substantial weight to case history records in
assessing a parent's ability to provide care in the
future. See In re S.N., 500 N.W.2d 32, 34 (Iowa
there are no considerations that support maintaining the
parent-child relationships. Anthony has not provided
stability for the children. There is little reason to believe
this will change upon the discharge of his sentence. More
important, "a guardianship is not a legally preferable
alternative to termination." In re B.T., 894
N.W.2d 29, 32 (Iowa Ct. App. 2017). To the contrary,
termination is preferable under the circumstances presented.
Both parents are serving lengthy prison sentences and will be
unavailable to the children. The children need permanency
now. Terminating the parents' respective rights allows
the children to be adopted by their older sister, who can
then receive some financial support for the care of the
novo review, we conclude termination of Anthony's
parental rights is in the best interest of the children. We