(Cite as: 671 N.W.2d 533)

(The Court's decision is referenced in a "Decisions Without Published Opinions" table in the North Western Reporter. See FI IA R 6.14(5) for rules regarding the use and citation of unpublished opinions.)

Court of Appeals of Iowa.

In the Interest of R.C., Minor Child,

W.P., Father, Appellant.

No. 03-1134.

Sept. 10, 2003.

Michael Lindeman of Lindeman Law Firm, Cedar Rapids, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Tabitha Gardner, Assistant Attorney General, Harold Denton, County Attorney, and Kelly Kaufman, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee-State.

Barbara Liesveld of Thinnes & Liesveld, Cedar Rapids, for mother.

Thomas O'Flaherty of O'Flaherty Law Firm, Swisher, guardian ad litem for minor child.



I. Background Facts & Proceedings

**1 Warren and Antoinette are the parents of Ruthanna, born in June 2000. Ruthanna lived with Antoinette, but due to her history of substance abuse, the juvenile court ordered Ruthanna removed from her care in June 2001. Instead, Antoinette placed Ruthanna with Warren, who took her to Alabama. Ruthanna was returned to Iowa in September 2001. Ruthanna was adjudicated to be a child in need of assistance (CINA).

Warren has a history of substance abuse. He attended substance abuse treatment, but subsequently had a drug test which was positive for marijuana. He has problems with controlling his anger and has an extensive criminal history, including several convictions for interference with official acts. During the CINA proceedings he was arrested for assault causing bodily injury and shoplifting. He has been involved in abusive relationships, including his relationship with Antoinette. Warren has had problems establishing stable housing and employment.

In May 2002 the State filed a petition seeking to terminate the parents' rights. The juvenile court terminated Warren's parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code sections 232.116(1)(d), (e), and (h) (Supp.2001). [FN1] The court found:

FN1. The juvenile court used the subsections in effect prior to the amendment of section 232.116 in April 2001. We will use the code sections in effect at the time of the termination proceedings.

Warren's situation has not improved to the point that the Court could find that Ruthanna would be safe and adequately cared for by him. Warren has no established track record for stable housing or employment. While he denies current drug usage, he has not cooperated with the drug tests that would confirm his denial. He has a pending criminal charge, and a history of incarceration, which has interfered with his ability to parent. He continues to show difficulty with managing his anger, despite participating in anger management counseling.

 The court concluded termination of the parents' rights was in Ruthanna's best interests. Warren appeals.

II. Standard of Review

The scope of review in termination cases is de novo. In re C.B ., 611 N.W.2d 489, 492 (Iowa 2000). In this case, the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) apply. See In re B.M., 532 N.W.2d 504, 506 (Iowa Ct.App.1995). The provisions of the ICWA are to be strictly construed and applied. In re J.D.B., 584 N.W.2d 577, 583 (Iowa Ct.App.1998). Under the ICWA, the State bears the burden of showing "beyond a reasonable doubt" that parental rights should be terminated. In re J.W., 528 N.W.2d 657, 662 (Iowa Ct.App.1995).

III. Merits

On appeal, Warren claims the State did not provide adequate reunification services. The specifics of his argument, however, deal with the sufficiency of the evidence in this case. We will treat his argument as raising a claim of insufficient evidence to support the termination of his parental rights. To the extent he is raising a claim of lack of reasonable efforts, we find the services provided by the State were reasonable under the facts of this case.

A good prediction of the future conduct of a parent is to look at the past conduct. In re N.F., 579 N.W.2d 338, 341 (Iowa Ct.App.1998). The parent's past performance may indicate the quality of care the parent is capable of providing in the future. In re C.K., 558 N.W.2d 170, 172 (Iowa 1997). Furthermore, a court must reasonably limit the time for parents to be in a position to assume care of their children, because patience with parents can soon translate into intolerable hardship for the children. In re A.Y.H., 508 N.W.2d 92, 96 (Iowa Ct.App.1996).

**2 On our de novo review, we find Warren still has many problems that would prevent him from providing safe and adequate care for Ruthanna. There are still concerns about Warren's use of illegal drugs. Warren still has anger management problems, which have resulted in legal action against him. Warren has a history of unstable housing and employment. Based on these factors, we find there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Ruthanna cannot be placed in Warren's care.

We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.


671 N.W.2d 533 (Table), 2003 WL 22092677 (Iowa App.)

Home  |   Search  |   Disclaimer  |   Privacy Statement  |   Site Map