IN THE INTEREST OF V.L. and L.L., Minor Children, V.L. and L.L., Minor Children, Appellants.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Romonda D. Belcher, District Associate Judge.
The attorney and guardian ad litem for two children appeals from a juvenile court child in need of assistance permanency order continuing placement of the children for an additional six months.
Congarry Williams and M. Kathryn Miller, Juvenile Public Defenders, for appellant minor children.
Kate Strickler of Carr & Wright, P.L.C., Des Moines, for appellee-mother.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Bruce Kempkes, Assistant Attorney General, John Sarcone, County Attorney, and Kevin Brownell, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee-State.
Jessica Chandler, Windsor Heights, for father.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Tabor, J., and Miller, S.J. [*]
Ashley is the mother and Levi the father of V.L. and L.L. (the children) who were three and one-half and about two and one-half years of age respectively at the time of a March 13, 2013 child in need of assistance (CINA) permanency hearing. The attorney and guardian ad litem for the children appeals from a resulting juvenile court order continuing placement of the children for an additional six months. We affirm.
Ashley and Levi, both in their early twenties, have never been married. In early 2012 Ashley had been living with her mother and the children in Newton, Iowa. In April 2012 Ashley and the children moved out of the grandmother's home. They lived in a motel briefly until Ashley, unemployed, could no longer pay the motel. Ashley was then homeless and dropped the children off at Levi's residence in Des Moines. Levi shortly thereafter lost his job, could not pay bills, and moved to Jasper County with the children to stay with his mother.
In late June 2012 the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) received a complaint that the children were wandering the neighborhood. The initial investigation by the DHS indicated the paternal grandmother had come home and found Levi passed out asleep with the front door open. During a resulting child protective assessment Levi and the children moved back to Des Moines.
On July 11, 2012, the police were called for a welfare check at Levi's home. They were informed Levi had been using methamphetamine, the water had been turned off, and an eviction notice had been served the preceding day. After repeated attempts by the police to get a response, Levi came to the door. He appeared to be extremely intoxicated, and could not provide requested information. The police found living conditions to be unsafe with trash, dirty clothes, and other items strewn around. They found the children sleeping in a room with broken glass and a knife on the floor. The children were dirty, and there was no food, diapers, or clean clothing for them. The police removed the children and placed them in emergency shelter. They arrested Levi for child endangerment. Criminal records indicated Levi had suffered from substance abuse problems for several years. Ashley remained unemployed and homeless.
On July 12, 2012, the juvenile court entered an ex parte removal order placing the children in the temporary legal custody of the DHS for emergency shelter placement. Following a July 17 removal hearing the court confirmed the removal and placed temporary legal custody of the children with the maternal grandmother, subject to DHS supervision. The children have thereafter remained in that status.
On August 6, 2012, the court held an adjudication hearing. Ashley did not attend. The court adjudicated the children to be CINA, for parental neglect, failure to exercise reasonable supervision, and lack of adequate care because of mental condition or drug abuse. It ...