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In re I.G.M

Court of Appeal of Iowa

November 6, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF I.G.M., A.M., and C.M., Minor Children, G.C., Intervenor, Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Christine Dalton, District Associate Judge.

A grandmother appeals an order declining to remove the Department of Human Services as guardian of certain children.

Jason Reiper of Reiper Law Firm, Des Moines, for appellant intervenor.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, Michael J. Walton, County Attorney, and Julie A. Walton, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Marsha Arnold, Davenport, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Danilson, JJ.

VAITHESWARAN, P.J.

We are asked to review an order declining to remove the Department of Human Services as guardian of certain children.

I. Background Proceedings

A juvenile court terminated a mother and father's parental rights to three children. The termination order placed the children "in the custody and guardianship of the Department of Human Services." The parents and the mother's mother appealed.

While the appeal from the termination order was pending, the grandmother filed a post-termination motion in the juvenile court to have the department removed as guardian of the children. Following an evidentiary hearing, the juvenile court denied the motion. The court stated that "[g]uardianship shall continue with the Iowa Department as the Guardian." The grandmother filed a notice of appeal from that order.

Meanwhile, this court affirmed the termination of parental rights order. In re I.M., A.M., & C.M., No. 13-0499, 2013 WL 2638069, at *4 (Iowa Ct. App. June 12, 2013). Within that opinion, the court affirmed the denial of the parties' request "to consider the maternal grandmother as an alternative placement for the children." Id. The court agreed with the juvenile court's finding that such a placement would not be in the children's best interests. Id. The court reasoned that the grandmother "will continue to put her daughter's needs and desires ahead of those of her grandchildren." Id.

Based on this termination opinion, the State moved to dismiss the grandmother's appeal of the post-termination order denying her request for a change of guardian. The grandmother resisted the motion and filed a petition for writ of mandamus seeking an order that the juvenile court "not [] grant any pending or yet to be filed Petition for Adoption regarding the children-in-interest." The ...


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