IN THE INTEREST OF B.N. and I.N., Minor Children, A.N., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Eric
J. Nelson, District Associate Judge.
father appeals the adjudication of his two daughters as
children in need of assistance.
Joseph Narmi, Council Bluffs, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Roberta J. Megel of State Public Defender Office, Council
Bluffs, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.
father, Alex, appeals the juvenile court's adjudication
of his two daughters, six-year-old I.N. and two-year-old
B.N., as children in need of assistance (CINA). Alex contends
the court mistakenly excluded exhibits he offered at the
hearing. He also argues the State failed to present clear and
convincing evidence to prove the elements of Iowa Code
section 232.2(6)(b), (c)(2), or (n) (2019). Because the
evidentiary rulings were not prejudicial and the record
contains sufficient proof of the grounds for CINA
adjudication, we affirm.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
case started with a contentious incident in late March 2019
when I.N. and B.N. had weekend visitation with their father.
On Saturday night, B.N.'s mother, Deven, received a
series of text messages from Alex that made her worry for her
daughter's safety. Deven called I.N.'s mother,
McKayla. And together they went to Alex's house after
midnight to investigate. They knocked on his door but
received no answer. Then, through the basement window, they
saw Alex's girlfriend, Melissa, strike him in the face.
Concerned about their children, Deven and McKayla entered
Alex's home without permission using a spare key Deven
still had. They found B.N. awake upstairs. Meanwhile, Alex
and Melissa were drinking alcohol in the basement. Using her
cell phone, one of the mothers recorded a video purporting to
show that Alex and Melissa were intoxicated.
following Monday, April 1, McKayla reported the incident to
child protection intake at the Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS). A few days later, a child protection worker
launched an investigation. Alex refused the
investigator's request for a "walk-through" of
his home. She also offered him referrals to obtain
chemical-dependency and mental-health evaluations. He
investigator did "walk-throughs" at the homes of
McKayla and Deven- spotting no concerns. She then interviewed
I.N. The six-year-old told the investigator she did not feel
safe at her father's house because he drinks alcohol
"that looks like water." I.N. reported many times
during visitation she has tried to wake up her father after
he has been drinking, but he does not respond. When her
father won't get up, I.N. has been left to care for her
two-year-old sister. I.N. recalled changing diapers, getting
B.N. dressed, and finding food for them to eat. The juvenile
court summarized I.N.'s revelations:
She said she can smell alcohol on his breath and she does not
like it when he is drunk because he is easily angered. [I.N.]
reported that when her dad gets mad when he is drinking, his
face turns red and he cl[e]nches his fists. Also, when he
becomes angry, he slams cabinets, hits walls, and has hit her
on her neck with a sock. [I.N.] said her father also screams
in her face when he is drinking.
mid-April, the State filed a petition alleging I.N. and B.N.
were CINA. Alex did not cooperate with the DHS requests for
drug testing. He told the DHS investigator that child-support
and child-custody ...