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In re D.A.B.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

July 10, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF D.A.B., Minor Child, B.B., Mother, Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Deborah Farmer Minot, District Associate Judge.

A mother appeals from a juvenile court permanency order changing the permanency goal from reunification to "another planned permanent living arrangement."

Jean Lawrence, Iowa City, and Lauren Ulrich, Student Legal Intern, Iowa City, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Bruce Kempkes, Assistant Attorney General, Janet Lyness, County Attorney, and Patricia Wier, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Anthony Haughton, Cedar Rapids, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

MULLINS, J.

The mother appeals from a juvenile court order changing the permanency goal in a child-in-need-of-assistance case from reunification to "another planned permanent living arrangement" (APPLA) under Iowa Code section 232.104(2)(d) (2011). The mother contends the juvenile court order is not supported by clear and convincing evidence, and requests an additional six months to work toward reunification. We affirm.

I. Background Facts & Proceedings

The mother has four children: E.B. (born 1998), V.B. (born 2002), D.B. (born 2004), and M.B. (born 2007). The juvenile court adjudicated all four children as children in need of assistance. D.B., however, is the only child that was removed from the mother's care. This appeal relates only to D.B.'s permanency hearing.

The mother is married to Steve; he is the father of M.B. only. E.B. and V.B. have the same father. As paternity testing ruled out D.B.'s putative father, the identity of D.B.'s father is unknown. At all times prior to D.B.'s removal, the mother, Steve, and all the mother's children lived together. Shortly after giving birth to M.B., the mother suffered a stroke that caused brain damage. The mother self-reports a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and Wernicke's encephalopathy.

From an early age, D.B. exhibited alarming behaviors at school and at home. The mother reported to the school psychologist that D.B. had harmed animals and threatened to harm his family and himself. At school D.B. fought with other children, ate thumb tacks, ate woodchips and dirt, ripped off the tips of pencils and swallowed them, ripped up papers and swallowed them, and talked to stuffed animals about killing them.

In October 2011, D.B. reportedly attempted to commit suicide by hanging. Despite visible injury to his neck, the mother did not take D.B. to the hospital until the next day. D.B. was then admitted to the psychiatric unit. The mother attempted to remove D.B. from the hospital against medical advice. After almost two weeks in the psychiatric unit, the treating physician discharged D.B. from the hospital and recommended D.B. return to school.

The day after D.B.'s discharge from the psychiatric unit, the mother did not send D.B. to school. The mother told the school principal that D.B. had broken a lamp and was threatening to kill himself. D.B. was then readmitted to the psychiatric unit. Staff noted that D.B. exhibited symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including ...


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