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In re D.E.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 5, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF D.E., K.E., AND P.E., Minor Children, C.E., Mother, Appellant, J.E., Guardian, 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 Clinton County, Phillip J. Tabor, District Associate Judge. A mother and the guardian of her children appeal separately from the permanency review order placing the children with the father in children-in-need-of-assistance proceedings.

Matthew Noel, Dubuque, for appellant mother.

Adrienne C. Williamson of Pillers and Richmond, Clinton, for appellant guardian.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Bruce Kempkes, Assistant Attorney General, Mike Wolf, County Attorney, and Cheryl Newport, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Neill Kroeger, LeClaire, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

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

OPINION

DOYLE, J.

A mother and the guardian of her children appeal separately from the permanency review order placing the children with the father in children-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) proceedings. We affirm on both appeals.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

C.E. is the mother of three children born in 1998, 2001, and 2007. This family has a long history of involvement with the Iowa Department of Human Services (Department). The family again came to the Department's attention in October 2012, after the school reported the youngest child had severe hygiene issues. At that time, the children were in the care and custody of their maternal grandmother, J.E.[1] The children lived with the mother and the grandmother in the grandmother's house, along with their grandfather and at least three dogs and five cats.

Upon investigation of the report, the Department discovered the house was in an unsanitary and unsafe condition, to put it mildly. This was not the first report of the condition of the grandmother's house; she admitted she " was first investigated for a dirty house in 2001." She also admitted the oldest child had a problem soiling himself, but he had never been seen by a doctor for the condition. Clothing in his doorway and room was found soiled with human and cat feces.

Both the grandmother and the mother agreed to a safety plan requiring a doctor see the children; the family clean the home and maintain its cleanliness; the children have clean clothes and bathe daily; and the family work with the school to ensure the children's personal hygiene was improved and their head lice treated. The children were thereafter adjudicated CINA, and the permanency goal was for the children to remain in the grandmother's home.

From October 2012 to June 2013, the family continued to make progress on repairs of the home. However, prior to the August review hearing, the children's guardian ad litem (GAL) reported he had visited the family's home, and

[t]he house was pretty much in the same condition [as he] saw it [in] June. It is certainly better than at the time of adjudication but there is much that can be done to improve the home. [He] did not see anything that was a particular danger to the children except the possibility of an electrical fire . . . . Cat ...

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