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In re Z.G.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 5, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF Z.G. AND S.G., Minor Children, D.G., Mother, Appellant

Editorial Note:

This decision has been referenced in a "Decisions Without Published Opinions" table in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E. Seymour, District Associate Judge. A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to two children.

Thomas Graves of Graves Law Firm, P.C., Clive, for appellant mother.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, John P. Sarcone, County Attorney, and Jennifer G. Galloway, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Michelle Saveraid of the Youth Law Center, Des Moines, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

OPINION

POTTERFIELD, P.J.

A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to two children. She argues additional time should have been allowed prior to termination, the grounds for termination were not established, her rights need not be terminated as the children are placed with a relative, and termination is not in the best interests of the children. We affirm.

I. Facts and proceedings.

Z.G. and S.G. came to the attention of the department of human services (DHS) after their older brother was injured by the mother's cohabiting paramour. The paramour had a previous conviction (among others) of lascivious acts with a child. A child protective assessment was founded against the paramour for physical abuse of the older brother. The mother continued to allow the paramour to take care of all three children, believing the child's injury was self-inflicted despite all evidence to the contrary. The next month, the child sustained a broken wrist. The child consistently reported the injury was again inflicted by the paramour. The mother told DHS the child injured himself because he was jealous of the time she spent with the paramour.

All three children were removed from the home on February 24, 2012, and placed with their maternal grandparents (the grandparents). On March second and twelfth a removal hearing was held. Prior to the hearing, the mother contested removal. However, at the hearing she rescinded her resistance. The court found the mother allowed her paramour, a registered sex offender, to be the sole caretaker of the children. When the paramour injured her child multiple times, she chose to believe the paramour over the child. The court ordered continued placement with the grandparents. It also ordered the mother to undergo a psychosocial evaluation and to participate in therapy. A no-contact order was entered between the paramour and all three children on March 14.

On May 22, 2012, all three children were adjudicated children in need of assistance (CINA). During this time, the mother reported seeing her children two to three times a week at the grandparents' house for about four hours at a time At a meeting with a DHS worker, the mother stated that no romantic relationship was worth losing her children and that she and the paramour were no longer seeing each other. However, photos and reports from investigators showed the relationship continued. The court noted that while the paramour was responsible for the abuse, it had serious concerns about the mother's ability to keep the children safe while continuing her relationship with the paramour. The court continued placement of the children with the maternal grandparents.

During June 2012, the mother continued to visit the children two to three times a week at the granparents' home. Z.G. and S.G. began supervised visits ...


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