IN THE INTEREST OF A.K. and P.K., Minor Children, R.K., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Cherokee County, Mary L.
Timko, Associate Juvenile Judge.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights.
A. Fankhauser of Fankhauser Rachel, PLC, Sioux City, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Meredith L. Lamberti,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Rynell of Juvenile Law Center, Sioux City, guardian ad litem
for minor children.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., Mullins, J., and Danilson, S.J.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights. He
challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the
grounds for termination, asserts termination is not in the
children's best interest, and requests the application of
a statutory exception to termination. The father also argues
the State failed to make reasonable efforts to reunify him
with the children.
issues on appeal were decided following a combined permanency
and termination-of-parental-rights hearing. The hearing was
held over three days, ending December 11, 2018, as reflected
in the termination order. The record only contains
transcripts for the proceedings on November 28 and December
Iowa Rule of Appellate Procedure 6.803(1) requires that
"[i]f the appellant intends to urge on appeal that a
finding or conclusion is unsupported by the evidence or is
contrary to the evidence, the appellant must include in the
record a transcript of all evidence relevant to such finding
or conclusion." "It is the appellant's duty to
provide a record on appeal affirmatively disclosing the
alleged error relied upon," and "[t]he court may
not speculate as to what took place or predicate error on
such speculation." In re F.W.S., 698 N.W.2d
134, 135 (Iowa 2005). There is authority that would support
us refusing to exercise our appellate review of this case.
See, e.g., id. at 135-36; In re
I.M., No. 13-0821, 2014 WL 4225169, at *2 (Iowa Ct. App.
Aug. 27, 2014). Having examined the record and the issues
raised on appeal, we choose to decide this appeal based on
the available record.
Background Facts and Proceedings
the father, and K.A., the mother, are the parents of A.K.,
born in 2012, and P.K., born in 2014. The family came to the
attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in
February 2017 after reports of illegal drug use by the
parents and domestic abuse. The father reportedly used
methamphetamine while caring for the children and hit the
mother while the children were present. Further, the mother
was aware of the father's drug use and allowed the father
to drive the children while actively under the influence of
methamphetamine. Both parents admitted using methamphetamine,
and the father tested positive for both methamphetamine and
amphetamines. Further, A.K.'s hair-stat test resulted in
positive results for amphetamines and methamphetamine. After
its investigation, DHS returned founded child-abuse
assessments against both parents for denial of critical care.
children remained in the parents' care, and in-home
services were provided. Both parents participated in
substance-abuse evaluations, which resulted in the
recommendation of intensive outpatient services for the
father and mental-health counseling for the mother. The
father did begin attending services several times per week
but blamed the mother for DHS's involvement in their
lives. Further, he repeatedly claimed that he had been sober
since October 2016 despite his positive test for
juvenile court adjudicated the children in need of assistance
(CINA) in May. In August, during the week prior to the
dispositional hearing, the mother took the children out of
the home and disappeared. She returned with the children on
the date of the hearing. Prior to the commencement of the
hearing, the mother was given a drug test. She tested
positive for methamphetamine. Safety planning required DHS to
remove the children from her care and for the mother to leave
the home. The children remained with the father. Following
the hearing, the father took two drug tests. The first was
deemed invalid for being diluted. After participating in a
hair-stat test, the father admitted the test would reflect
his use of methamphetamine, specifically following the
dispositional hearing. He also reported that the mother had
been using methamphetamine the entire time of DHS's
involvement and that he had covered for her. The mother
subsequently left the county to live with her relatives due
to reported domestic violence.
upon the father's admission of drug use, the juvenile
court granted an emergency removal of the children. The
mother returned to the family home after her drug test was
determined to be a false positive, but the children remained
outside of the home. The juvenile court considered the date
of removal of the children from both parents' care to be
August 31. The juvenile court transferred custody of ...