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In re W.H.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 11, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF W.H. and G.H., Minor Children, S.H., Father, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Stephen A. Owen, District Associate Judge.

         The father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his two children.

          Christopher A. Clausen of Clausen Law Office, Ames, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Shannon M. Leighty of the Public Defender's Office, Nevada, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.

          MAY, JUDGE.

         A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to two children, G.H. and W.H. We affirm.

         G.H. was born in August 2013. In November 2016, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) became involved with this family due to allegations the mother and father were under the influence of drugs while caring for G.H. G.H. was removed from the parents' custody but later returned to the mother.

         In March 2017, W.H. was born. Later that year, both children were removed due to the parents' mental-health and substance-abuse issues. The children were briefly returned to the father's custody in September 2018. However, they were removed after the father's arrest for domestic assault against his girlfriend.

         The father continued to struggle with substance abuse. He tested positive for drugs on several occasions, missed multiple tests, and eventually admitted to using marijuana and "overusing" prescription amphetamine.

         His involvement with the children dissipated. Between January and July 2019, the father only had one visitation with the children, despite being offered twelve other visitations.

         In July 2019, the juvenile court held a termination hearing. The father conceded he lacked his own stable housing. He agreed he was not in a position to take custody of the children.

         Ultimately, the juvenile court terminated the mother and father's rights to both children pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e), (f), and (h) (2018). The father now appeals.[1] He does not dispute statutory grounds for termination exist under Iowa Code section 232.116(1). He contends, however, termination is inappropriate under Iowa Code section 232.116(3). He also raises concerns about the ...


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