IN THE INTEREST OF P.C., Minor Child, T.C., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Clay County, Andrew Smith,
District Associate Judge.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights.
Christopher D. Sandy of Sandy Law Firm, Spirit Lake, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler (until
withdrawal) and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorneys General,
for appellee State.
Ditsworth, Spirit Lake, attorney and guardian ad litem for
Considered by Bower, C.J., and May and Greer, JJ.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights,
claiming there is not sufficient evidence to support the
court's finding that the child cannot be returned to him
at present. See Iowa Code § 232.116(1)(h)(4)
(2019). We affirm.
was born in August 2017 and came to the attention of the
department of human services (DHS) in October following a
report that the father was intoxicated and got into an
argument with the mother. During the argument, the father
kicked the child seat in which the child was sitting. An
ensuing child abuse investigation resulted in a founded child
abuse assessment against the father for denial of critical
care and failure to provide proper supervision.
January 18, 2018, P.C. was adjudicated a child in need of
assistance (CINA). On May 4, after the mother's medical
issues left her unable to care for P.C., the child was placed
with the maternal grandparents. The maternal grandparents
also care for P.C.'s older half-sibling, whom they
adopted in 2015.
father has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress
disorder, depression, borderline personality disorder,
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and social anxiety.
He takes a number of mental-health medications. In the fall
of 2018, he was hospitalized for paranoia. In November or
December, he started participating in the Assertive Community
Treatment (ACT) program. The ACT program provides intensive
mental-health in-home services, sending service providers
into the father's home to assist him with therapy and
medication management. Since commencing that program, the
father has been able to obtain part-time employment.
19, 2019, a permanency and termination-of-parental-rights
hearing was held. At the time of the termination hearing, the
child had been out of the parents' custody for fourteen
months. The father had supervised visits with P.C. once a
week for two hours. The father was working as a cook
part-time in an establishment where he had been employed for
about two and a half months. He was living with his mother in
a two-bedroom home. He does not pay rent to her. He reports
having a bed, clothes, diapers, and toys for the child, but
no home study has been requested or conducted at this home.
The father had checked into potential daycare and testified
that it would be available but was unsure of the cost.
August 5, the juvenile court entered an order terminating the
father's rights pursuant to Iowa Code section
232.116(1)(h). The father does not contest that the child is
under three years of age, has been adjudicated CINA, and has
been out of the parents' custody for more than six
consecutive months. See Iowa Code §
232.116(1)(h)(1)-(3). However, the father argues there is not
clear and convincing evidence the child cannot be returned to
him at present. See id. § 232.116(1)(h)(4).
de novo review, see In re A.S., 906 N.W.2d 467, 472
(Iowa 2018), we agree with the juvenile court that the child
cannot be returned to the father's custody at present
without risk of adjudicatory harm. We ...