IN THE INTEREST OF L.K., Minor Child, S.S., Mother, Appellant, K.K., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E.
Seymour, District Associate Judge.
mother and father appeal orders transferring their child from
relatives to non-relative foster care. The mother also
appeals the court's denial of a motion to intervene filed
by the relatives.
J. Harrington of Harrington Law L.C., Clive, for appellant
Nicholas J. Einwalter, Des Moines, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Kimberly S. Ayotte of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, guardian
ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
VAITHESWARAN, Presiding Judge.
mother and father appeal juvenile court orders transferring
their child from relatives to non-relative foster care. The
mother also appeals the court's denial of the
relatives' motion to intervene in the
Background Facts and Proceedings
child, born in November 2016, tested positive for
methamphetamine and morphine. The child's mother admitted
to using both drugs during her pregnancy. The father, who was
on probation for a drug crime, tested positive for
parents signed a safety plan proffered by the department of
human services (DHS). They agreed the child would be
discharged to her paternal aunt and uncle. They further
agreed their contact with the child would be "supervised
by [the relatives] or another approved family member."
Under the heading, "How plan is monitored, " the
document stated the relatives would "communicate with
DHS about cooperation with safety plan and any
concerns." The parents consented to-and the juvenile
court ordered-the temporary removal of the child from their
adjudication hearing scheduled for a Wednesday was postponed
for six days. The postponement order stated, "Before the
next hearing the following shall be completed: . . . Current
custodians and adults residing in the home shall provide a
drug screen today." The order was not served on the
current custodians and relatives in the home.
rescheduled adjudication hearing, the State requested
"placement continue provided that a clean drug screen is
provided." The State informed the court that the
relatives underwent urine tests the night before but the
results were not back. Without holding an evidentiary
hearing, the juvenile court deemed the relatives' failure
to obtain drug screens the previous Wednesday to be
"missed drug screens" and, therefore,
"positive drug screens." Based on this premise, the
court stated, "[W]e need to figure out a different
placement." The court questioned the attorneys about the
extent of visitation that had occurred between the parents
and child and, in light of discrepancies in their statements,
found the relatives had been "dishonest with the
department of human services regarding the parents'
contact with ...