Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re C.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 7, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF C.C. and C.C., Minor Children, K.C., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Appanoose County, William S. Owens, Associate Juvenile Judge.

         A mother appeals from the juvenile court's permanency review order and grant of concurrent jurisdiction to the district court. AFFIRMED.

          Amanda M. Demichelis of Demichelis Law Firm, P.C., Chariton, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Monte M. McCoy of McCoy Legal Services, Centerville, for father.

          Debra A. George of Griffing & George Law Firm P.L.C., Centerville, for minor children.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.

          DANILSON, Chief Judge.

         A mother appeals from the juvenile court's permanency review order and grant of concurrent jurisdiction to the district court. Finding no reason to disturb the court's rulings, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings.

         The children at issue are Co.C., born in February 2008, and Cl.C., born in August 2003. This family came to the attention of the department of human services (DHS) when the district court provided a copy of the parents' September 2014 dissolution decree. The decree outlined the court's concerns regarding domestic violence, [1] the parents' use of methamphetamine, the adequacy of the supervision of the children, and the well-being of the children while in the care of their parents. There was an existing protective order prohibiting the father from contacting the mother. The dissolution decree placed the children in the mother's legal custody and physical care.[2] A child-abuse assessment was subsequently conducted by DHS, and the family began participating voluntarily with services in late 2014.

         On March 20, 2015, the children were removed from the mother's physical care by ex parte order due to the mother's arrest on felony drug and theft charges. A subsequent removal hearing placed the children in the father's temporary legal custody and care, and the parents were ordered to participate in random drug testing. The mother was ordered to obtain a substance-abuse assessment and comply with all recommendations for treatment.

         On April 9, following an uncontested hearing, the children were adjudicated children in need of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n) (2015). The maternal grandparents' motion to intervene was granted as they had provided substantial care for the children in the past.[3]Temporary legal custody and placement of the children remained with father.

         A May 28 dispositional order continued legal custody of the children with the father, with the goal that the children would return to the mother's custody.[4]The family was receiving numerous services to address the substance-abuse and domestic-violence concerns, including Family Safety, Risk, and Permanency (FSRP) services; substance-abuse screening; domestic-violence services; and parent partners. The father had completed a parenting program ("24/7 dads") and was participating in a batterers' education program (BEP). The children were engaged in individual counseling to deal with their emotional issues arising from the parents' discord and drug use.

         An August 2015 review hearing was held. An August DHS report to the court noted, in part: "This case may be safely closed when [the mother] successfully completes substance abuse treatment, follows all professional recommendations, and resolves her criminal charges. [The mother and father] need to continue to cooperate with DHS and FSRP services." The juvenile court's review order noted that the court had been informed the mother had been arrested recently, was in jail awaiting a hearing, and had a plea proceeding scheduled that might result in her being placed at a halfway house facility.

         The court also had before it the father's motion for concurrent jurisdiction. With regard to that motion, the court concluded:

Although [the mother] has incurred additional criminal charges the department believes the permanency goal of returning the boys to her care and custody can still be achieved. The boys are indeed fortunate to have a father who is both capable and willing to serve as their primary care giver while [the mother] works toward regaining custody. If after a period of several more months it appears [the mother] will not be able to secure the boys' return to her home, this court would likely then make more permanent orders regarding the boys' placement with their father. However, until those decisions are made it would not be appropriate for this court to relinquish its authority to make a custody determination.

         The juvenile court ruled the children were to remain in the father's care.

         Another review hearing was held on December 3, 2015, and the court adopted the November case plan submitted by DHS. In the case plan it was noted that the mother needed to "continue to cooperate with DHS and FSRP providers"; the father had "successfully completed BEP, Children in the Middle, and attended Anger Management Counseling"; and the children were having supervised visits with their mother at the jail and semi-weekly visits with the maternal grandparents. The December review order noted the mother had "resolved her criminal charges and will be, or is in the half-way house." The court ordered the children to remain with their father, found the children's best interests would not be served by granting the district court concurrent jurisdiction, and ordered a further review hearing "in the next six months."

         A permanency hearing was scheduled for March 10, 2016.[5] The March 2016 case plan update submitted by DHS recommended the children remain in the father's care and custody, concurrent jurisdiction be granted, and the permanency goal be changed to guardianship with other parent. It was also noted the mother had completed a substance-abuse evaluation but had just begun substance-abuse treatment; the mother had completed orientation into Family Treatment Court and was participating in substance-abuse meetings and seeing a counselor. It was recommended the mother successfully complete treatment and follow all professional recommendations and resolve her legal issues.

         Due to continuances, the permanency hearing was held over several days in April and June 2016. The mother sought additional time to seek reunification. She reported she was living with her parents and working at a jewelry store. DHS and the children's guardian ad litem (GAL) argued the children deserved permanency in the care of their father.

         The GAL strenuously objected to returning the children to the mother. In her permanency brief, the GAL wrote:

1. Whether Mother's substance abuse poses a risk to the children.
Mother testified on June 9, 2016, that at the time of her March 2015 arrest, that she was using methamphetamine daily at a rate of about half a gram per day. Mother further testified that she was in denial of her drug abuse, despite several positive drug screens, until she was again arrested and jailed for a duration, on or about September 1, 2015.
Mother also testified on June 9, 2016 that she has been over 280 days clean from substances, has completed treatment and is "recovered." She testified that in the past she was unable to quit because she used due to withdrawal symptoms but that being incarcerated kept her from using. She testified that she attends one meeting per week, but not always. Her mother testifies that she has often returned home late from the meeting, even close to midnight. Her testimony showed no knowledge of how to stay clean, what the 12 steps were, how to work the steps or the role of a sponsor in a recovering addict's recovery. While there is, at time of conclusion of evidence, no information that Mother has used since her release from incarceration in late February 2016, there is also no indication that Mother has internalized any tools that would cause her to stay clean. Mother testified that she plans to stay clean by staying away from people with whom she used, although she testified ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.