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Case No. 24-0111

For summaries from opinions prior to August, 2018, view PDF versions here

In the Interest of F.W., Minor Child


R.G., Father-Appellant

Attorney for Appellant Father

Ivan E. Miller

Attorney for Appellee State

Mackenzie Moran, Assistant Attorney General

Guardian ad Litem

Dusty Clements

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
May 08, 2024

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Ringgold County, Monty Franklin, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Badding and Buller, JJ.  Opinion by Buller, J.  (13 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights, challenging the grounds for termination and arguing termination is not in the child’s best interests, the State did not provide reasonable efforts towards reunification, a permissive exception to termination should have been applied, and the court should have given him another six months for reunification.  OPINION HOLDS: We affirm. SPECIAL CONCURRENCE ASSERTS: I disagree that the juvenile court’s termination of the father’s parental rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(b) (2023) allows us to avoid addressing his reasonable-efforts argument.  Although we often state reasonable efforts are not a “strict substantive requirement of termination,” In re C.B., 611 N.W.2d 489, 493 (Iowa 2000), once the juvenile court transfers custody of a child to the department of health and human services, the department must make reasonable efforts to return the child safely home unless the court waives that requirement.  Iowa Code § 232.102(4)(b).  In my view, it is time for our supreme court to clarify the “strict substantive requirement” reference in C.B. and correct our court’s practice of snubbing reasonable-efforts claims in cases where the juvenile court terminates based on paragraph (b).  I would address the father’s reasonable efforts challenge and find that his request was untimely.  So I concur on the ultimate result. 

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