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In re X.V.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 17, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF X.V. and P. V., Minor Children, N.V., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Calhoun County, Adria A. D. Kester, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals a portion of a permanency order requiring supervision of her visits with her children. AFFIRMED.

          Joseph L. Tofilon of Thatcher, Tofilon & Livingston, P.L.C., Fort Dodge, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen W. Kraemer, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Martha A. Sibbel of Law Office of Martha Sibbel, P.L.C., Carroll, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, Presiding Judge.

         A mother appeals a portion of a permanency order requiring supervision of her visits with her children.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         The mother has two living children, born in 2013 and 2014. The children were removed from her care in 2015, based on department of human services concerns about her refusal to cooperate with services and her numerous trips to the hospital with her younger child.

         Initially, both children were placed with their paternal grandmother. Later, the older child was transferred to the home of her maternal great-aunt. The children remained in those homes throughout the proceedings. The relatives facilitated visits between the siblings. The parents exercised supervised visits with both children and occasional unsupervised visits with the older child.

         In time, the State petitioned to terminate the parental rights of both parents. Following two evidentiary hearings, the district court denied the petition. Although the court found the State proved "a ground for termination of parental rights within the scope and meaning of [Iowa Code section] 232.116(1)(h) [(2016) (children cannot be returned to parental custody)], " the court concluded permanency did not require termination of parental rights. The court explained that the children's paternal grandmother had "consistently provided care for" the younger child and their maternal great-aunt had "consistently . . . provided care to [the older child] since the removal." After noting that the relatives worked well together to facilitate sibling visits and to support the parents' relationship with the children, the court entered a permanency order transferring guardianship and custody of the younger child to the paternal grandmother and the older child to the great-aunt. The court also "restricted and enjoined" the parents "from contact with the children in interest except as follows: all contact, including medical visits, will be supervised by [the guardians]." The court later clarified the order to define the department's ongoing role as follows:

This case will remain in juvenile court. As outlined in the Court's Order, visitation, if any, with non-custodial parents is to be supervised by the guardians. The DHS is expected to arrange and approve such visitation, ensure the visits are supervised by the guardians and ensure that the visits take place, if visits are appropriate.

         On appeal, the mother does not challenge the district court's conclusion that the children could not be returned to her custody or the court's decision to place the children in a guardianship.[1] She simply contends the portion of the permanency ...


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