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In re A.G.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 6, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF A.G., G.M., and T.M., Minor Children, B.M., Father of G.M. and T.M., Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E. Seymour, District Associate Judge.

         A father appeals the order terminating his parental relationship with two children, ages five and two years. AFFIRMED.

          Aaron H. Ginkens of Ginkens Law Firm, P.L.C., West Des Moines, for appellant father.

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

          Nicole Garbis Nolan of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor children.

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

          TABOR, JUDGE.

         A father, Brian, appeals the juvenile court order terminating his parental relationship with G.M., born in January 2014, and T.M., born in September 2016.[1]The court granted the State's petition to terminate based on the father's ongoing issues with substance abuse, mental health, and physical violence.[2]

         In his petition on appeal, Brian raises seven issues: (1) Did the State prove termination was proper under Iowa Code section 232.116(1) subsections (f) and (h) (2018)? (2) Was termination in the children's best interests? (3) Was termination detrimental to the children because of their close relationship with Brian? (4) Did the State breach Brian's right to confidentiality by offering evidence from his substance-abuse counselor and mental-health provider? (5) Should the court have granted Brian six more months to reunify with his children? (6) Should the children have been placed with relatives rather than in foster care? And (7) should the court have honored the parents' request for increased visitation?

         After reviewing the record, we find none of these issues requires reversal.[3]The State established Brian was not a safe custodial option for these children and moving promptly toward permanency promotes their welfare.

         I. Facts and Prior Proceedings

         The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) took notice of A.G., G.M., and T.M. when the family moved to Iowa from Minnesota where they had open child-welfare cases. The Iowa juvenile court adjudicated the children in need of assistance (CINA) in August 2017. The parents, Brian and Sadie, did not consistently engage in services. Both parents tested positive for methamphetamine in December 2017, yet denied any drug use.

         In January 2018, the juvenile court found the parents had not been honest about Sadie's pregnancy.[4] T.F.M. was born in February 2018. The juvenile court ordered T.F.M. removed from her parents' care two days after her birth.[5]

         Brian did not show a strong commitment to overcoming his substance-abuse problem. Brian told providers he was only attending treatment "because he is required to but does not actually believe he has any substance abuse issue." At the DHS Family Team Meeting in mid-April, the caseworker asked the parents to provide drug screens and they refused to do so. The court considered those screens to be positive. The father also tested positive for methamphetamine in May. The court found Brian's ...


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