IN THE INTEREST OF A.V., Minor Child, T.H. and C.H., Intervenors-Appellants.
from the Iowa District Court for Carroll County, Adria
Kester, District Associate Judge.
paternal grandparents of a child appeal the district
court's decision denying termination of a guardianship
and modification of placement. AFFIRMED.
B. Reimer of Cooper, Goedicke, Reimer, & Reese, P.C.,
West Des Moines, for grandparent-intervenors.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Christine L. Sand of Wild, Baxter & Sand, P.C., Guthrie
Center, for minor child.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Bower,
and T.H., A.V.'s paternal grandparents, (the
Grandparents), appeal the district court's decision
refusing to place A.V. in their care. We find the Iowa
Department of Human Services (DHS) failed in their duty to
notify the family of a child in need of assistance (CINA)
proceeding involving A.V. but determine DHS should continue
as the child's guardian as it is in A.V.'s best
interests. We also find the district court did not err in
refusing to modify A.V.'s placement with the maternal
Background Facts and Proceedings
was born in 2014, and her biological parents' parental
rights were terminated in April 2016. In re A.V.,
No. 16-0290, 2016 WL 1359140 (Iowa Ct. App. Apr. 6, 2016).
The Grandparents cared for A.V.'s mother during her
pregnancy and after the birth, and they were also caretakers
for A.V. when the mother was unable to care for the child.
The State began removal proceedings in April of 2015. A.V.
was removed from the Grandparent's care and placed with
A.V's maternal aunt, who resides with A.V.'s maternal
Grandparents were not given formal notice of the CINA
proceedings as required under Iowa Code section 232.84
(2016). Paternity was eventually established in October, and
the Grandparents were allowed a short visit in November.
Additional visitation was granted after a request was made in
the CINA proceedings. Visitation became more frequent after
this period but did not include overnight visits, and many
requests for extra time were denied. The inflexibility of
visitation has resulted from the growing tensions between the
two families. During one longer period of visitation, the
Grandparents felt they needed to take A.V. to the emergency
room when they noticed pus draining from A.V.'s ear as a
result of an ear infection. The Grandparents felt the
infection had not been properly treated, although A.V.'s
maternal family stated they had begun treatment and were
following medical advice, which further strained the
relationship with the A.V.'s maternal family.
district court retained DHS as A.V.'s guardian and
refused to modify A.V.'s placement with the maternal
aunt. The Grandparents now appeal.
Standard of Review
review de novo actions seeking to remove DHS as guardian and
challenging custody placement. In re E.G., 738 N.W
.2d 653, 654 (Iowa Ct. App. 2007). We review the facts and
law and adjudicate rights anew but give weight to the
findings of fact of the juvenile court. Id. The
court's core role in these proceedings is to ensure