In re T.S., No. 3-235 / 13-0075

CourtCourt of Appeals of Iowa
Writing for the CourtMAHAN
PartiesIN THE INTEREST OF T.S., Minor Child, J.A., Father, Appellant.
Decision Date27 March 2013
Docket NumberNo. 3-235 / 13-0075

IN THE INTEREST OF T.S., Minor Child,
J.A., Father, Appellant.

No. 3-235 / 13-0075

COURT OF APPEALS OF IOWA

Filed March 27, 2013


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Thomas J. Straka, Associate Juvenile Judge.

A father appeals the juvenile court decision terminating his parental rights. AFFIRMED.

Matthew W. Boleyn of Reynolds & Kenline, L.L.P., Dubuque, for appellant.

Victoria Noel of Noel Law Firm, Maquoketa, for the mother.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, Ralph Potter, County Attorney, and Jean A. Becker, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Mary Kelley, Public Defender's Office, Dubuque, attorney for the child.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., Potterfield, J., and Mahan, S.J.*

*Senior judge assigned by order pursuant to Iowa Code section 602.9206 (2013).

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MAHAN, S.J.

I. Background Facts & Proceedings.

Justin and April are the parents of T.S., who was born in 2010. Justin has not had contact with the child since November 2010. The child was removed from the mother's care on April 7, 2011, due to her continuing substance abuse problems.

On April 11, 2011, the State filed a petition asserting T.S. was a child in need of assistance (CINA). The juvenile court ordered that Justin could be served by certified mail, return receipt requested, at his last known address. His last known address was a jail in Florida. The State sent notice of the removal and the CINA petition to him in the manner prescribed by the court.1 An adjudication/disposition order was entered on May 31, 2011, finding T.S. was a CINA pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(n) (2011).

Justin claims he was not aware of the child's involvement with the Iowa Department of Human Services until July or August of 2012. At that time he was in prison in Florida on drug-related charges. He asked the Department to conduct a home study of his sister in Florida, and the Department requested a study.

On November 14, 2012, the State filed a petition seeking to terminate the parents' rights. Justin asked for a continuance. The juvenile court denied his motion. April agreed to the termination of her parental rights. After a hearing, at

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which Justin appeared telephonically, the juvenile court terminated his parental rights under section 232.116(1)(h). The court noted that Justin did not dispute that the child could not be returned to his care at that time, but he was requesting additional time to work on reunification. The court concluded it was not in the child's best interests to further delay matters until Justin was released from prison and established a relationship with the child, whom he had not seen in over two years. Justin appeals the district court order terminating his parental rights.

II. Standard of Review.

The scope of review in termination cases is de novo. In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 706 (Iowa 2010). Clear and convincing evidence is needed to establish the grounds for termination. In re J.E., 723 N.W.2d 793, 798...

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