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Case No. 20-0145

In the Interest of T.W., Minor Child

M.H., Father-Appellant

Attorney for Appellant Father

John C. Heinicke

Attorney for Appellee State

Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant Attorney General

Guardian ad Litem

Shireen Carter

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Apr 15, 2020

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Madison County, Brendan Greiner, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and May, JJ.  Opinion by May, J.  Special Concurrence by Doyle, J.  (15 pages)

            A father appeals the juvenile court’s termination of his parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: We conclude termination is appropriate under Iowa law and consistent with the child’s best interest.  SPECIAL CONCURRENCE ASSERTS: I concur with the majority’s disposition, but take this opportunity to comment on the conundrum faced by the court—has the supreme court supplanted the “adjudicatory harm” standard with a more relaxed “safely returned” standard in applying the fourth element of Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h)?  I believe the “safely returned” standard is merely judicial shorthand for the “adjudicatory harm” standard, and under either, the State must show that the child cannot be returned to the parent’s custody without risk of adjudicatory harm.

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