IN THE INTEREST OF L.M., Minor Child, CM., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Clay County, Charles Borth,
father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his
Michael H. Johnson, Spirit Lake, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
L. Ditsworth, Spirit Lake, attorney and guardian ad litem for
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Tabor, J., and Danilson,
DANILSON, SENIOR JUDGE.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights
under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2018). Finding no
reason to disagree with the juvenile court's findings and
conclusions, we affirm.
child, L.M., was born in April 2015 to the never-married
father and mother. The child came to the attention of the
department of human services (DHS) and was removed from the
mother's care in March 2016 due to physical
abuse. A child-abuse assessment was founded as to
an "unknown perpetrator" because during the six
days when the injuries to the child had occurred, the child
had been in the care of no less than seven persons. After a
safety plan was put in place but was not followed, the child
was removed from the father's care on August 5,
2016. That removal was continued following
uncontested child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) adjudication
and disposition hearings.
noted by the social worker involved with the family, concerns
relating to the father included instability "in his
life," his mental health, employment, and housing, and
poor judgment in social relationships. The juvenile court
observed the father experienced "general chaos in daily
living expectations." The father has been involved with
DHS and services with the child since 2016 and continues to
display an inability to care for himself or the child on any
long-term basis without assistance.
juvenile court succinctly summarized its conclusions:
[The child] cannot be returned to [the father] without
appreciable risk of adjudicatory harm. [He] has discontinued
mental health therapy, after only marginal participation, in
part because he does not believe it is beneficial. This is
concerning to the court considering [the father]'s
history of suicidal ideation and previous homicidal
statements regarding a co-worker (he had falsely claimed to
have killed a co-worker in a fight). He has discontinued
[Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)] due to alleged
conflicts with his employment. [He] has not had a single
overnight visit with [the child] since she was removed from
his custody on August 5, 2016. This is well over two years
ago. The court recognizes that [the father] has made
significant improvements in his personal life. He did,
however, start at near rock bottom. The court also believes
that he could never have made these improvements without the
support of Joe and Karen [V He has had to learn the most
basic living skills from them just to take care of himself.
appeal, the father asserts the State failed to make
reasonable efforts to reunify him and the child, the
statutory grounds have not been shown, and termination of
parental rights is not in the child's best interests. The
child's guardian ad litem has joined in the State's
brief and recommends affirming the termination of the
father's parental rights.
review termination of parental rights proceedings de novo.
In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 706 (Iowa 2010). We give
weight to the court's findings, especially when
considering the credibility of witnesses, ...