IN THE INTEREST OF N.H., Minor Child, J.M., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Cynthia S.
Finley, District Associate Judge.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his
Michael M. Lindeman of Lindeman Law, Cedar Rapids, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler (until
withdrawal) and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorneys General,
for appellee State.
Kimberly Opatz of Linn County Advocate, Cedar Rapids,
attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.
is the father of one-year-old N.H. He contends the juvenile
court erred in terminating his parental rights to his
daughter. After reviewing the record, we conclude
N.H.'s significant and complex medical needs outstrip
Jesse's abilities as a parent. We thus affirm termination
of his parental rights.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
was born in January 2018 at just twenty-four gestational
weeks. Her mother, Jacqueline, admitted having no prenatal
care and drinking alcohol throughout her
has severe health issues and spent her first eight months in
the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the University of
Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. N.H. has impaired vision and
hearing and a cleft palate and requires a brain shunt and
feeding tube. She sees thirteen different specialist medical
providers and participates in speech therapy, occupational
therapy, and physical therapy. She needs home nursing care
and monthly shots to prevent contracting respiratory
infections. She is severely immune-compromised and can become
seriously ill from a simple infection. She is also
developmentally delayed. Her health problems and cognitive
delays will continue throughout her lifetime.
Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) removed N.H. from
Jacqueline's care a few days after her birth because
Jacqueline was behaving erratically at the hospital.
her pregnancy, Jacqueline told Jesse he was the father. When
the DHS removed N.H. from Jacqueline's care, she told the
workers that Jesse was the baby's father. The DHS moved
to establish paternity. But Jesse declined to see N.H. until
the testing came back.
August 2018, after paternity testing established Jesse was
N.H.'s father, the DHS began providing him services.
Jesse received parenting instruction from ...