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In re T.W.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

May 30, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF T.W. and M.W., Minor Children, A.W., Mother, Appellant, N.W., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Emmet County, Donald J. Bormann, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and a father appeal from a child in need of assistance adjudication order.

          Chris Cooklin, Spirit Lake, for appellant mother.

          Bethany J. Brands of Brands Law Office, Spirit Lake, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Bruce Kempkes, Assistant Attorney General, Douglas Hansen, County Attorney, and Rosalise Olson, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

          Shawna Ditsworth, Spirit Lake, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Danilson and Mullins, JJ.

          DANILSON, J.

         A mother and a father appeal from a child in need of assistance adjudication order. On our de novo review and in light of the domestic violence and anger experienced in this family, we come to the same conclusion as the juvenile court and we therefore affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The mother and father are parents to two children: T.W., born in 2006, and M.W., born in 2007. In 2007, and again in 2009, the department of human services (DHS) conducted child protective assessments concerning these children. In 2007, there was a founded report of denial of critical care based on M.W. having been born testing positive for marijuana and the mother's admission that she used marijuana during her pregnancy. In 2009, there was a founded report of denial of critical care (failure to provide adequate supervision) based upon domestic violence in the home. The mother tested positive for methamphetamine at the time. After both founded assessments, the children were adjudicated children in need of assistance (CINA) and the family received services.

         The 2009 CINA case was closed in July 2010. DHS reported the parents had participated in and completed all services available to them, including substance abuse treatment for the mother and batterer's education for the father. DHS involvement with the family was terminated.

         On October 27, 2012, the mother called police from a neighbor's home reporting that the father had kicked her in the leg with his steel-toed boots and burned her hand with a cigarette. The mother left the home to call police because the father had taken her cell phone and keys. The father left the area, but returned while police were present. The children were in the family home. The police observed bruising on the mother's leg, but she refused to allow them to photograph the injury. Upon his return, the father denied kicking the mother, stating she had had a seizure and burned herself. The father was arrested and charged with domestic abuse assault.

         Kelly McKeever, a DHS protective worker who had also conducted the two previous assessments, again conducted a child protective assessment. He interviewed the children and each reported physical confrontations between the parents. For example, M.W. told McKeever her father "is mean sometimes. He hurts mommy." T.W. told McKeever, "My dad was angry because he thinks he is the boss of her and he hurts her if she doesn't do the things he wants her to do." T.W. told ...


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