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In re T.M.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 6, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF T.M., Minor Child, B.M., Father, 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 his now one-year-old daughter. 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 child.

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

          TABOR, JUDGE.

         When T.F.M. was born in February 2018, her three older siblings were already in the custody of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). Her father, Brian, had ongoing issues with substance abuse, mental health, and physical violence.[1] When Brian made no progress toward reunification with T.F.M., the juvenile court terminated his parental rights. Brian appeals that order.[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)(h) (2018)? (2) Was termination in T.F.M.'s best interests? (3) Was termination detrimental to T.F.M. because of her close relationship with Brian? (4) Did the State breach Brian's right to confidentiality by offering evidence from his substance abuse counseling and mental health treatment? (5) Should the court have granted Brian six more months to reunify with T.F.M.? (6) Should T.F.M. and her siblings 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 T.F.M. and moving promptly toward permanency promotes her welfare.

         I. Facts and Prior Proceedings

         The DHS opened child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) cases in June 2017 for three other children in this family -A.G., G.M., and T.M.[4] The parents, Brian and Sadie, did not consistently engage in services and tested positive for methamphetamine in December 2017. Their youngest child, T.F.M., the child at issue in this appeal, was born in February 2018. The juvenile court ordered T.F.M. removed from her parents' care two days after her birth.

         In an April 2018 order adjudicating T.F.M. as a CINA, the court identified Brian's minimization of his substance abuse, his failure to regularly attend therapy for his mental health challenges, and his "unresolved anger issues." The court found Brian was "dishonest during that hearing as he denied any history of child abuse but after further questioning, he admitted he was previously convicted for manslaughter of his child, D.M."[5] Brian also had a founded child abuse assessment for indecent contact with a child.[6]

         In spring 2018, Brian participated in services, but only "superficially" in the juvenile court's estimation. The court noted in a May 2018 disposition order that Brian told substance abuse providers "he is only attending because he has to and does not believe he has substance abuse issues." The court further found Brian had ...


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