IN THE INTEREST OF C.M., Minor Child, N.P., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Jennifer
S. Bailey, District Associate Judge.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his
two-year-old son. AFFIRMED.
A. Inghram of Inghram Law, PLLC, Burlington, for appellant
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Schier of Cray Law Firm, Burlington, guardian ad litem for
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.
challenges the juvenile court's order terminating his
parental relationship with two-year-old C.M. C.M.'s
mother, Angel, and Nathan cared for C.M. until the Iowa
Department of Human Services (DHS) intervened in April 2018.
The juvenile court terminated Nathan's parental rights in
February 2019. Nathan appeals, seeking additional time to
establish a relationship with C.M. and arguing termination
will be detrimental to C.M. because of the close bond he and
C.M. share. After our independent review of the record,
agree with the juvenile court's conclusion termination is
Background Facts and Proceedings
and Angel shared a nine-year relationship and had a child,
C.M., together in January 2017. When C.M. was born, Angel was
still married to Joshua, making Joshua C.M.'s legal
father. Nathan was incarcerated for the first six
months of C.M.'s life. But when Nathan was released in
July 2017, he "went straight to [Angel's]
apartment" and began playing an active role in
C.M.'s caretaking. The DHS intervened after C.M. tested positive
for amphetamine during a medical appointment in April 2018.
The juvenile court granted the DHS request for temporary
removal of C.M. based on concerns Angel and Nathan were using
illegal substances while caring for C.M. C.M. has since
been in foster care.
early-May 2018 hearing, the juvenile court adjudicated C.M. a
child in need of assistance (CINA) and directed Nathan to
obtain DHS-recommended mental-health and substance-abuse
evaluations, submit to random drug testing, and participate
in Family Safety, Risk, and Permanency (FSRP) services,
family team meetings, and visitation with C.M. For a short
time after the hearing, Nathan accompanied Angel to
visitations with C.M. and seemed amenable to DHS services.
But toward the end of the month, Nathan stopped showing up
for the scheduled visits. And when FSRP care coordinator
Kimberly Young asked Angel where Nathan was, Angel said she
hadn't heard from him. Despite the DHS mailing communications
to Nathan at the address he provided (his mother's
address), Nathan's involvement with C.M.'s case came
to a halt.
October 2018, the State petitioned to terminate parental
rights. Then, in early December, Nathan resurfaced-he penned
a letter to the DHS from the
Hancock County Jail in Carthage, Illinois, asking the DHS to
communicate with him about C.M.
court set the termination hearing for January 15,
2019. On January 8, Nathan moved to continue the
termination hearing to allow time for his paternity test
scheduled for January 17. The juvenile court denied
Nathan's motion, citing Nathan's delay in obtaining
paternity testing and failure to participate in hearings or
services. After the hearing,  the ...