IN THE INTEREST OF A.T. and A.T., Minor Children, J.T., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Barbara H.
Liesveld, District Associate Judge.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights.
Patricia J. Meier of Nidey Erdahl Fisher Pilkington &
Meier, PLC, Cedar Rapids, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Zachary P. Crowdes, Cedar Rapids, attorney and guardian ad
litem for minor children.
Considered by Vogel, C.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
father appeals the juvenile court order terminating his
parental rights. He claims clear and convincing evidence
shows termination would be detrimental to the children due to
the closeness of the parent-child bonds. We find termination
of the father's parental rights is in the children's
best interests. We affirm.
Background Facts & Proceedings
father, and J.K., mother, are the parents of two children,
A.T. and A.D.T., born in 2015 and 2016. The Iowa Department
of Human Services (DHS) has been involved with the family
since the birth of A.T. due to the child testing positive for
marijuana at birth, substance abuse by both parents, the
father's probation violations, and domestic violence
between the parents.
February 4, 2016, a petition to declare A.T. a child in need
of assistance (CINA) was filed due to concerns of domestic
violence in the child's presence, marijuana use in the
home, and supervision concerns. A.T. was adjudicated CINA on
March 29, but remained in her mother's care after the
mother assured DHS she was not using drugs anymore. DHS
agreed to visitation for the father. The mother tested
positive for marijuana. A.T. was removed from the home on
June 16 after the mother's drug test came back positive
and the father failed to appear for a probation appointment.
Testing on the child's hair came back positive for
ingestion and exposure to marijuana. In September, the father
was arrested for felony possession of a controlled
substance. The father participated in substance-abuse
treatment while incarcerated.
was born in late 2016 and tested negative for controlled
substances. The father was in jail at the time of
A.D.T.'s birth. A CINA petition was filed for the younger
child on January 3, 2017, due to the parents' lack of
compliance on the older child's case. The lack of
compliance included the father's arrest for probation
violations on multiple drug charges. At a January 24
permanency hearing for the older child, the court granted
additional time to work toward reunification. The younger
child was adjudicated CINA on February 6, but remained in the
mother's care. The older child was returned to the
parents' care on June 27, as the mother was addressing
her mental-health and substance-abuse issues. The father had
been released from jail and was sharing care of the children
with the mother.
September 2017, the mother and father were living together
with the children at the home of the paternal grandmother.
The parents only occasionally complied with required weekly
drug testing. When he complied with testing for his
probation, the father's tests often came back positive
for marijuana. The parents did not make themselves available
for all the weekly face-to-face contacts with service
providers as required.
a January 2018 request to close the case, the court ordered
hair tests on the children and set a hearing. Both
children's tests came back positive for ingestion of
marijuana. In February, DHS also discovered the father had
not been compliant with his probation and had not been