Senate File 2316 - Introduced




                                 SENATE FILE       
                                 BY  COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY

                                 (SUCCESSOR TO SSB
                                     3111)

                                      A BILL FOR

  1 An Act relating to the grounds for termination of parental
  2    rights.
  3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
    TLSB 5340SV (2) 85
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PAG LIN



  1  1    Section 1.  Section 600A.8, Code 2014, is amended to read as
  1  2 follows:
  1  3    600A.8  Grounds for termination.
  1  4    The juvenile court shall base its findings and order under
  1  5 section 600A.9 on clear and convincing proof. The following
  1  6 shall be, either separately or jointly, grounds for ordering
  1  7 termination of parental rights:
  1  8    1.  A parent has signed a release of custody pursuant to
  1  9 section 600A.4 and the release has not been revoked.
  1 10    2.  A parent has petitioned for the parent's termination of
  1 11 parental rights pursuant to section 600A.5.
  1 12    3.  The parent has abandoned the child. For the purposes of
  1 13 this subsection, a parent is deemed to have abandoned a child
  1 14 as follows:
  1 15    a.  (1)  If the child is less than six months of age
  1 16 when the termination hearing is held, a parent is deemed to
  1 17 have abandoned the child unless the parent does all of the
  1 18 following:
  1 19    (a)  Demonstrates a willingness to assume custody of the
  1 20 child rather than merely objecting to the termination of
  1 21 parental rights.
  1 22    (b)  Takes prompt action to establish a parental
  1 23 relationship with the child.
  1 24    (c)  Demonstrates, through actions, a commitment to the
  1 25 child.
  1 26    (2)  In determining whether the requirements of this
  1 27 paragraph "a" are met, the court may consider all of the
  1 28 following:
  1 29    (a)  The fitness and ability of the parent in personally
  1 30 assuming custody of the child, including a personal and
  1 31 financial commitment which is timely demonstrated.
  1 32    (b)  Whether efforts made by the parent in personally
  1 33 assuming custody of the child are substantial enough to evince
  1 34 a settled purpose to personally assume all parental duties.
  1 35    (c)  With regard to a putative father, whether the putative
  2  1 father publicly acknowledged paternity or held himself out to
  2  2 be the father of the child during the six continuing months
  2  3 immediately prior to the termination proceeding.
  2  4    (d)  With regard to a putative father, whether the putative
  2  5 father paid a fair and reasonable sum, in accordance with the
  2  6 putative father's means, for medical, hospital, and nursing
  2  7 expenses incurred in connection with the mother's pregnancy or
  2  8 with the birth of the child, or whether the putative father
  2  9 demonstrated emotional support as evidenced by the putative
  2 10 father's conduct toward the mother.
  2 11    (e)  Any measures taken by the parent to establish legal
  2 12 responsibility for the child.
  2 13    (f)  Any other factors evincing a commitment to the child.
  2 14    b.  If the child is six months of age or older when the
  2 15 termination hearing is held, a parent is deemed to have
  2 16 abandoned the child unless the parent maintains substantial and
  2 17 continuous or repeated contact with the child as demonstrated
  2 18 by contribution toward support of the child of a reasonable
  2 19 amount, according to the parent's means, and as demonstrated
  2 20 by any of the following:
  2 21    (1)  Visiting the child at least monthly when physically and
  2 22 financially able to do so and when not prevented from doing so
  2 23 by the person having lawful custody of the child.
  2 24    (2)  Regular communication with the child or with the person
  2 25 having the care or custody of the child, when physically and
  2 26 financially unable to visit the child or when prevented from
  2 27 visiting the child by the person having lawful custody of the
  2 28 child.
  2 29    (3)  Openly living with the child for a period of six
  2 30 months within the one=year period immediately preceding the
  2 31 termination of parental rights hearing and during that period
  2 32 openly holding himself or herself out to be the parent of the
  2 33 child.
  2 34    c.  The subjective intent of the parent, whether expressed
  2 35 or otherwise, unsupported by evidence of acts specified in
  3  1 paragraph "a" or "b" manifesting such intent, does not preclude
  3  2 a determination that the parent has abandoned the child. In
  3  3 making a determination, the court shall not require a showing
  3  4 of diligent efforts by any person to encourage the parent to
  3  5 perform the acts specified in paragraph "a" or "b". In making
  3  6 a determination regarding a putative father, the court may
  3  7 consider the conduct of the putative father toward the child's
  3  8 mother during the pregnancy. Demonstration of a commitment to
  3  9 the child is not met by the putative father marrying the mother
  3 10 of the child after adoption of the child.
  3 11    4.  A parent has been ordered to contribute to the support
  3 12 of the child or financially aid in the child's birth and has
  3 13 failed to do so without good cause.
  3 14    5.  A parent does not object to the termination after having
  3 15 been given proper notice and the opportunity to object.
  3 16    6.  A parent does not object to the termination although
  3 17 every reasonable effort has been made to identify, locate and
  3 18 give notice to that parent as required in section 600A.6.
  3 19    7.  An adoptive parent requests termination of parental
  3 20 rights and the parent=child relationship based upon a showing
  3 21 that the adoption was fraudulently induced in accordance with
  3 22 the procedures set out in section 600A.9, subsection 3.
  3 23    8.  Both of the following circumstances apply to a parent:
  3 24    a.  The parent has been determined to be a person with a
  3 25 substance=related disorder as defined in section 125.2 and
  3 26 the The parent has committed been convicted of a second or
  3 27 subsequent domestic abuse assault pursuant to section 708.2A.
  3 28    b.  9.  The parent has abducted the child, has improperly
  3 29 removed the child from the physical custody of the person
  3 30 entitled to custody without the consent of that person, or has
  3 31 improperly retained the child after a visit or other temporary
  3 32 relinquishment of physical custody.
  3 33    9.  10.  The parent has been imprisoned for a crime against
  3 34 the child, the child's sibling, or another child in the
  3 35 household, or the has been convicted of a felony offense
  4  1 that is a sex offense against a minor as defined in section
  4  2 692A.101.
  4  3    11.  The parent has been convicted of first degree murder in
  4  4 the murder of the child's other parent.
  4  5    12.  The parent has been convicted of a crime of sexual abuse
  4  6 as defined in chapter 709.
  4  7    13.  The parent has been convicted of any other forcible
  4  8 felony of such a nature as to indicate the unfitness of the
  4  9 parent to provide adequate care and support to the extent
  4 10 necessary for the child's physical, mental, or emotional health
  4 11 and development.
  4 12    14.  The parent has been imprisoned and it is unlikely that
  4 13 the parent will be released from prison for a period of five or
  4 14 more years.
  4 15    10.  The parent has been convicted of a felony offense
  4 16 that is a sex offense against a minor as defined in section
  4 17 692A.101, the parent is divorced from or was never married
  4 18 to the minor's other parent, and the parent is serving a
  4 19 minimum sentence of confinement of at least five years for that
  4 20 offense.
  4 21    15.  The parent has neglected the child or is unfit to be a
  4 22 parent.  In determining whether the parent has neglected the
  4 23 child or is unfit, the court shall consider whether the parent
  4 24 has a consistent pattern of specific conduct or a specific
  4 25 condition directly relating to the parent=child relationship
  4 26 which is determined by the court to be of a duration or nature
  4 27 that renders the parent unable, for the reasonably foreseeable
  4 28 future, to provide the appropriate care and support for the
  4 29 ongoing physical, mental, or emotional needs of the child.
  4 30 The court shall consider at a minimum the following specific
  4 31 conduct or conditions which may result in neglect or diminished
  4 32 fitness as a parent:
  4 33    a.  A medically=verifiable emotional illness, mental illness,
  4 34 mental deficiency, or substance=related disorder as defined in
  4 35 section 125.2.
  5  1    b.  Prior conviction of child endangerment or neglect of the
  5  2 child, the child's sibling, or another child in the household.
  5  3    c.  Repeated or continuous failure by the parent, although
  5  4 physically and financially able, to provide the child with
  5  5 adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or other care
  5  6 and support necessary for the child's physical, mental, or
  5  7 emotional health and development.
  5  8    d.  The termination of the parent's parental rights to
  5  9 another child.
  5 10                           EXPLANATION
  5 11 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
  5 12 the explanation's substance by the members of the general assembly.
  5 13    This bill relates to the grounds for termination of parental
  5 14 rights.
  5 15    The bill amends the existing ground requiring that
  5 16 the parent has both been determined to be a  person with a
  5 17 substance=related disorder as defined in Code section 125.2 and
  5 18 has committed a second or subsequent domestic abuse assault,
  5 19 to require only that the parent has been convicted of a second
  5 20 or subsequent domestic abuse assault. The existence of a
  5 21 substance=related disorder is later included in a ground
  5 22 relating to the fitness of the parent.
  5 23    The bill divides the existing ground which provides that
  5 24 the parent has been imprisoned for a crime against the child,
  5 25 the child's sibling, or another child in the household, or the
  5 26 parent has been imprisoned and it is unlikely that the parent
  5 27 will be released from prison for a period of five or more years
  5 28 into two separate grounds.
  5 29    The bill amends the existing ground which requires that the
  5 30 parent has been convicted of a felony offense that is a sex
  5 31 offense against a minor, the parent is divorced from or was
  5 32 never married to the minor's other parent, and the parent is
  5 33 serving a minimum sentence of confinement of at least five
  5 34 years for that offense, by deleting the conditions that the
  5 35 parent is divorced from or was never married to the minor's
  6  1 other parent and that the parent is serving a minimum sentence
  6  2 of confinement of at least five years, and instead combining
  6  3 the ground that the parent has been convicted of a felony
  6  4 offense that is a sex offense against a minor with other
  6  5 divisible grounds that relate to crimes against a child.
  6  6    The bill adds the following new grounds for termination
  6  7 of parental rights: the parent has been convicted of first
  6  8 degree murder in the murder of the child's other parent; the
  6  9 parent has been convicted of a crime of sexual abuse as defined
  6 10 in Code chapter 709; the parent has been convicted of any
  6 11 other forcible felony of such a nature as to indicate the
  6 12 unfitness of the parent to provide adequate care and support
  6 13 to the extent necessary for the child's physical, mental, or
  6 14 emotional health and development; and the parent has neglected
  6 15 the child or is unfit to be a parent. The bill provides that
  6 16 in determining whether the parent has neglected the child or
  6 17 is unfit, the court shall consider whether the parent has a
  6 18 consistent pattern of specific conduct or a specific condition
  6 19 directly relating to the parent=child relationship which is
  6 20 determined by the court to be of a duration or nature that
  6 21 renders the parent unable, for the reasonably foreseeable
  6 22 future, to provide the appropriate care and support for the
  6 23 ongoing physical, mental, or emotional needs of the child.
  6 24 The bill specifies certain conduct or conditions that the
  6 25 court shall consider in determining neglect or diminished
  6 26 fitness as a parent. Such conduct and conditions include:
  6 27 a medically=verifiable emotional illness, mental illness,
  6 28 mental deficiency, or substance=related disorder as defined in
  6 29 Code section 125.2; prior conviction of child endangerment or
  6 30 neglect of the child, the child's sibling, or another child in
  6 31 the household repeated or continuous failure by the parent,
  6 32 although physically and financially able, to provide the child
  6 33 with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or other
  6 34 care and support necessary for the child's physical, mental,
  6 35 or emotional health and development; or the termination of the
  7  1 parent's parental rights to another child.
       LSB 5340SV (2) 85
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