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In re M.P.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 6, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF M.P., Minor Child, B.G., Father, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Thomas J. Straka, Associate Juvenile Judge.

         A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his child. AFFIRMED.

          William A. Lansing of William A. Lansing, P.C., Dubuque, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Kristy Hefel, Dubuque, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Vogel, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Danilson, S.J. [*]

          VAITHESWARAN, JUDGE.

         A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his child, born in 2017.[1]

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         The department of human services became involved with the family shortly after the child's premature birth. The department social worker assigned to the case testified the agency's concerns centered on the "[p]arents' cognitive delays; inability to meet the basic needs of [the child]; . . . history of both using . . . marijuana; mental health issues; [and] cleanliness of [their] trailer."

         The department initiated safety services to assist the parents. The services were largely unsuccessful. A department employee reported the parents "do not hold [the child] correctly, they do not support her head, they do not pick her up in a safe manner, they have not been feeding her every 3 hours as instructed and are not capable of meeting her daily needs."

         The State applied to have the child temporarily removed from the parents' custody. The juvenile court granted the application and later adjudicated the child in need of assistance pursuant to the parents' stipulation.

         After several months of services, the State petitioned to terminate the parents' rights to the child. The juvenile court granted the petition pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2018), which requires proof of several elements, including proof the child cannot be returned to the parents' custody.

         On appeal, the father argues (A) the department did not make reasonable efforts to reunify him with his child and (B) the juvenile court should not have denied his request ...


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