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In re J.B.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 25, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF J.B., L.B., C.B., and C.B., Minor Children, R.B., Father, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Appanoose County, William S. Owens, Associate Juvenile Judge.

         A father appeals the juvenile court order terminating his parental rights.

          Monte McCoy of McCoy Legal Services, Centerville, for appellant father.

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

          Debra A. George of Griffing & George Law Firm, PLC, Centerville, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Greer, J., and Mahan, S.J.

          MAHAN, SENIOR JUDGE.

         A father appeals the juvenile court order terminating his parental rights. We find there is clear and convincing evidence in the record to support termination of the father's parental rights. An extension of time would not be in the children's best interests. The State engaged in reasonable efforts to reunite the father with the children. Termination of the father's parental rights is in the children's best interests. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         R.B., father, and J.B., mother, are the parents of C.B., born in 2010; C.B., born in 2011; L.B., born in 2012; and J.B., born in 2015. In October 2016, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) became involved with the family due to issues of substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental-health concerns.[1] The father was arrested for domestic abuse and put in jail. On January 17, 2017, the children were removed from the parents' care and placed with relatives.

         The children were adjudicated to be in need of assistance (CINA), pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) (2016). The father remained in jail until March 22, 2017, when he was placed in a half-way house for probation violations.[2]On May 8, he absconded from the facility and did not turn himself in until June 5. He admitted he relapsed into drug use during this time. The father's probation was revoked, and he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed five years. He obtained mental-health treatment while in prison and participated in a substance-abuse treatment program. He had supervised visits while in prison.

         On April 16, 2019, the State filed a petition seeking to terminate the parents' rights. The father was released from prison on May 20. At the time of the termination hearing, held on May 23, the father was living in a motel. He was looking for a residence and employment. He testified he intended to re-enroll in a substance-abuse treatment program and continue with mental-health treatment. The father recognized the children could not be returned to him on the day of the hearing. He asked for an extension of time to work on reunification with the children.

         The juvenile court terminated the father's parental rights under section 232.116(1)(f) (2019) for the three older children and section 232.116(1)(h) for the youngest child.[3] The court found, "There is just no credible evidence in the record to show the children could be returned to [the father] either now, or in the reasonably foreseeable future." The court also denied the father's request for additional time. The court concluded termination of the father's parental rights was in the children's best interests. The court determined none of the exceptions in section 232.116(3) should be applied in this case. The father appeals.

         II. ...


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