IN THE INTEREST OF S.B., Minor Child, J.B., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Lynn Poschner,
District Associate Judge.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights in his
A. Morse of Law Offices of David A. Morse, Des Moines, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Charles K. Phillips,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Bandstra, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vogel, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Mahan, S.J.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his
child, S.B. He contends the Iowa Department of Human Services
(IDHS) failed to provide services to enable reunification.
Upon our review, we affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings
family came to the attention of IDHS after S.B. sought
medical treatment for injuries inflicted by the father. The
father found then fourteen-year-old S.B. in the family home
with a boy. He became upset and struck S.B. several times
with the buckle end of a belt, breaking the buckle. He also
choked her. S.B. fled to the home's second floor and
eventually jumped from a second-story window to escape. She
has not returned to the father's care since this
beating left marks on S.B.'s body for several days; some
marks remained visible more than twenty days later. S.B. also
initially required a neck brace due to neck injuries from the
choking. IDHS placed S.B. with the father's former
girlfriend, Y.B., and the juvenile court adjudicated S.B. a
child in need of assistance due to the father's physical
abuse. Following removal, the father engaged in services. He
participated in an anger-management program, a parenting
class, and sought therapy with three different providers.
However, no visitation occurred due to a no-contact order
between the father and S.B.
State petitioned to terminate the father's parental
rights to S.B. Following a hearing, the court granted the
petition pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d), (e),
(f), and (i) (2018). The father appeals.
II. Scope and Standard of Review
review is de novo. See In re M.W., 876 N.W.2d 212,
219 (Iowa 2016). We are not bound by the juvenile court's
factual findings, but we give them weight, especially when
witness credibility is critical to the outcome. See
id. Proof must be clear and convincing, meaning there
are no "serious or substantial doubts as to the
correctness [of] conclusions of law drawn from the
evidence." In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 706
(Iowa 2010). "[R]eview of termination of parental rights
under Iowa Code chapter 232 is a three-step analysis."
M.W., 876 N.W.2d at 219. First, we determine if
"any ground for termination under section 232.116(1) has
been established." Id. If a statutory ground
authorizing termination has been established, then we
consider whether termination in is the child's best
interest. See id. at 219-20. "Finally, if we do
find that the ...