IN THE INTEREST OF A.Y., A.Y., K.Y., and O.Y., Minor Children, J.K.Y., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Phillip J.
Tabor, District Associate Judge.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his
David Zimmerman, Clinton, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Barbara E. Maness, Davenport, guardian ad litem for minor
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Doyle, J., and Mahan, S.J.
[*] Tabor, J.,
takes no part.
is the father of four children, the oldest born in 2004 and
the youngest 2017. He has an extensive history of criminal
activity as well as substance-abuse and mental-health
concerns, and the Iowa Department of Human Services (IDHS)
has been involved with the family on several occasions. In
July 2018, the children again came to the attention of the
IDHS after it was reported there were concerns regarding the
children's safety while in their mother's care.
Placement with the father was not an option because he was in
treatment at a residential care facility as a result of
violating the terms of probation he received following a
prior to the removal hearing, the father left the care
facility without permission, and a warrant was issued for his
arrest. He was on the run for a short time before he was
arrested and placed in jail. His probation was subsequently
revoked and, in September 2018, his sentence to five years of
incarceration was imposed.
of his incarceration, the father's involvement in the
case thereafter was minimal. The father did not participate
in any classes or programs because the minimum security
prison did not offer them. The father did send some letters
and speak with the older children on the phone, though the
record suggests the father had to be encouraged at times to
do so. Two certified letters were mailed to him before he
responded to the IDHS worker's request for information.
the beginning of the case, the mother made no effort to
engage in offered services. She only made a limited effort to
engage in interactions with her children, and she eventually
made no effort to interact with the children. In December
2018, the State filed petitions seeking termination of the
parents' parental rights. At the
termination-of-parental-rights hearing, the father's
attorney advised the court:
I have sent a number of letters to my client, most recently
regarding the termination. I asked that he provide me with
any classes, certificates, programs, information that would
be relevant to the court regarding the termination issue.
I've had no response to any of those correspondence, and
they have not been returned from the correctional facility.
It's my understanding that [the father] continues to be
the hearing, the juvenile court entered its order terminating
the parents' parental rights. The court found the State
proved the grounds for the father's parental-right
termination set forth in paragraphs (d) and (i) of Iowa Code
section 232.116(1) (2018). The court also found the State
proved the ground in paragraph (h) as to the two youngest
children. The father now appeals.
Iowa Code chapter 232, once the State establishes a ground
for termination, parental rights may be terminated if
"the best-interest framework as laid out in section
232.116(2) supports the termination of parental rights"
and if none of the section 232.116(3) permissive factors
weigh against termination of parental rights.In re
A.S., 906 N.W.2d 467, 472-73 (Iowa 2018). In determining
whether termination of parental rights is in a child's
best interests, we give "primary consideration to the
child's safety, to the best placement for furthering the
long- term nurturing and growth of the child, and to the
physical, mental, ...