T.A.L., In Interest of, No. 92-346

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtConsidered by McGIVERIN; McGIVERIN
Citation505 N.W.2d 480
PartiesIn THE INTEREST of T.A.L., I.T.A. and M.R.H., Minor Children, J.H., a/k/a J.C., Mother, W.H., Father of M.R.H., Appellant, State of Iowa, Appellee.
Decision Date25 August 1993
Docket NumberNo. 92-346

Page 480

505 N.W.2d 480
In THE INTEREST of T.A.L., I.T.A. and M.R.H., Minor Children,
J.H., a/k/a J.C., Mother,
W.H., Father of M.R.H., Appellant,
State of Iowa, Appellee.
No. 92-346.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
Aug. 25, 1993.
Rehearing Denied Sept. 21, 1993.

Page 481

Patrick C. McCormick, Sioux City, for appellant.

Bonnie J. Campbell, Atty. Gen., John M. Parmeter, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., and Judy Sheirbon, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.

Considered by McGIVERIN, C.J., and HARRIS, LARSON, CARTER, and LAVORATO, JJ.

McGIVERIN, Chief Justice.

Wesley H. appeals the district court order terminating his parental rights to his daughter, Mikeal. The court of appeals reversed and we granted the State's application for further review.

We vacate the court of appeals decision in part and affirm the district court's termination ruling.

I. Background facts and proceedings. Jessica H. and Wesley were married in 1988. Jessica had two children, Tabatha and Isaac, from previous relationships. Wesley and Jessica had one child, Mikeal, born August 15, 1989, during their marriage.

On February 15, 1990, Jessica and Wesley each called the Department of Human Services (DHS) to their Sioux City home regarding the children. Jessica reported she was slapping and shaking the children. Wesley reported he was under a great deal of stress from caring for all three children by himself. Apparently, Jessica refused to stay home and help care for the children, claiming she needed her "personal freedom."

Wesley also admitted to physically abusing Jessica's oldest child, Tabatha, on two different occasions. Wesley requested the children be removed from the home.

The children were removed by DHS from Wesley's and Jessica's home that same night and placed in emergency foster care.

On March 30, all three children were adjudicated children in need of assistance as defined in Iowa Code sections 232.2(6)(b) and 232.2(6)(c)(1) (1989). See Iowa Code § 232.96.

Tabatha and Isaac, not involved in the present appeal, were placed together in a foster home. Mikeal, then six months old, was placed in a separate foster home where she remained throughout these proceedings. At the time of her placement, Mikeal had severe rashes, was behind in her immunizations, and suffered from a seizure disorder. Mikeal's foster parents promptly sought medical attention for her, and all these problems were cleared up by the time of the termination hearing in 1991.

DHS devised a case permanency plan and advised both Jessica and Wesley of their responsibilities under the plan in order to get back the children. The plan recommended Jessica and Wesley attend parenting classes, and individual and family therapy. The plan also required both parents to visit the children regularly.

In the following months, Jessica and Wesley repeatedly separated and reunited. As of August 1990, Wesley had discontinued counseling services and requested visitation only with Mikeal. Wesley and Jessica were subsequently divorced in November 1990.

Initially, Wesley's visits with Mikeal were not very regular. By December 1990, however, he married his girlfriend, Jody, who had two children of her own. After that point, Wesley regularly visited Mikeal and called to cancel his visits when he was unable to attend due to work or bad weather.

However, Wesley still did not attend individual therapy or attempt to improve his parenting skills.

Page 482

Jessica, meanwhile, stopped attending all therapy. After October 1990 she never visited any of her children again. She moved to the state of Washington.

Finally, in February 1991 Wesley and Jody met with a caseworker to discuss what they needed to do to regain custody of Mikeal. DHS again informed Wesley of his responsibilities under the case plan.

In March 1991, DHS informed Wesley it would be seeking termination of his parental rights regarding Mikeal. The caseworker told Wesley he had the right to oppose the termination and had the right to services to address his problems. The caseworker again outlined what services Wesley needed to conform with the case permanency plan, including parenting skills classes.

In May 1991, the State filed a petition at the request of DHS to terminate Jessica's parental rights to all three children and to terminate Wesley's parental rights to Mikeal.

In May, Jody and Wesley finally began family therapy with Meg Swanson at Lutheran Social Services, which contracted to provide services on behalf of DHS.

In August, the termination hearing was held. At the hearing, Swanson did not recommend returning Mikeal to Wesley. She was concerned about the similarities of his current and previous marriages, the short duration of his most recent marriage, the fact that Jody was pregnant with a third child, and that they had not yet addressed discipline techniques or parenting skills. Swanson indicated Mikeal needed a stable placement, which Wesley and Jody had not yet shown an ability to provide.

At the termination hearing, all the caseworkers and professionals involved in the case apparently recommended that Mikeal not be returned to Wesley's care at that time. Several of them recommended termination.

As of the termination hearing in August 1991, Wesley still had not completed any parenting skills counseling, which had been recommended since the beginning of the case.

After the hearing, the district court terminated Wesley's parental rights to Mikeal and Jessica's parental rights as to all three children. Wesley and Jessica appealed.

We transferred the case to the court of appeals. The court of appeals affirmed the terminations as to Jessica but reversed as to Wesley. That court found DHS had not provided Wesley with parenting skills counseling, and therefore there was no clear and convincing evidence that Wesley's rights should be terminated.

The State applied for further review as to the decision involving Wesley, which we granted.

Jessica, however, did not apply for further review. Therefore, she is not presently a party to this appeal and the court of appeals decision remains firm as to Jessica concerning all three children, including Mikeal. Thus, our holding vacates the court of appeals decision only insofar as it applies to Wesley and his parental relationship with his child, Mikeal.

The guardian ad litem for Mikeal joins the position of the State that Wesley's parental rights in Mikeal should be terminated.

II. Scope of review. We review termination proceedings de novo. Iowa R.App.P. 4; In re M.M., 483 N.W.2d 812, 814 (Iowa 1992). Accordingly, we review both the facts and the law, and we adjudicate rights anew. Id. Although we give weight to the factual determinations of the juvenile court, especially when considering the...

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52 practice notes
  • H.L.B.R., In Interest of, No. 96-2041
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • 29 Mayo 1997
    ...94 (Iowa App.1993). The State has the burden of proving the grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence. See In re T.A.L., 505 N.W.2d 480 (Iowa 1993). A parent has the right to due process and a fair trial when the State seeks to terminate parental rights. In re R.B., 493 N.W.2......
  • In re J.E., No. 06-0459.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 17 Noviembre 2006
    ...32, 34 (Iowa 1993)). We give weight to the factual determinations of the juvenile court but we are not bound by them. In re T.A.L., 505 N.W.2d 480, 482 (Iowa 1993) (citing In re M.M., 483 N.W.2d 812, 814 (Iowa 1992)). Grounds for termination must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. ......
  • A.M.H., In Interest of, No. 93-1172
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 25 Mayo 1994
    ...novo. In re Long, 313 N.W.2d 473, 482 (Iowa 1981). We review "both the facts and the law, and we adjudicate rights anew." In re T.A.L., 505 N.W.2d 480, 482 (Iowa 1993). "Although we give weight to the factual determinations of the juvenile court, especially when considering the credibility ......
  • In re CH, No. 01-0953.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 9 Octubre 2002
    ...efforts to provide services, the State's focus is on services to improve parenting. In re C.B., 611 N.W.2d at 493 (citing In re T.A.L., 505 N.W.2d 480, 485 (Iowa 1993)). The concept of reasonable efforts broadly includes "a visitation agreement designed to facilitate reunification while pro......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
52 cases
  • H.L.B.R., In Interest of, No. 96-2041
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • 29 Mayo 1997
    ...94 (Iowa App.1993). The State has the burden of proving the grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence. See In re T.A.L., 505 N.W.2d 480 (Iowa 1993). A parent has the right to due process and a fair trial when the State seeks to terminate parental rights. In re R.B., 493 N.W.2......
  • In re J.E., No. 06-0459.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 17 Noviembre 2006
    ...32, 34 (Iowa 1993)). We give weight to the factual determinations of the juvenile court but we are not bound by them. In re T.A.L., 505 N.W.2d 480, 482 (Iowa 1993) (citing In re M.M., 483 N.W.2d 812, 814 (Iowa 1992)). Grounds for termination must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. ......
  • A.M.H., In Interest of, No. 93-1172
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 25 Mayo 1994
    ...novo. In re Long, 313 N.W.2d 473, 482 (Iowa 1981). We review "both the facts and the law, and we adjudicate rights anew." In re T.A.L., 505 N.W.2d 480, 482 (Iowa 1993). "Although we give weight to the factual determinations of the juvenile court, especially when considering the credibility ......
  • In re CH, No. 01-0953.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 9 Octubre 2002
    ...efforts to provide services, the State's focus is on services to improve parenting. In re C.B., 611 N.W.2d at 493 (citing In re T.A.L., 505 N.W.2d 480, 485 (Iowa 1993)). The concept of reasonable efforts broadly includes "a visitation agreement designed to facilitate reunification while pro......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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