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In re A.G.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 7, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF A.G., B.G., and I.G., Minor Children, A.G., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Craig M. Dreismeier, District Associate Judge.

         The mother appeals from the juvenile court order terminating her parental rights to her three children.

          Sara E. Benson of Benson Law, P.C., Council Bluffs, for appellant mother.

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

          Roberta J. Megel of State Public Defender Office, Council Bluffs, guardian ad litem for minor children.

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

          POTTERFIELD, Judge.

         The mother[1] appeals from the juvenile court order terminating her parental rights to her three children, A.G. (born in 2013), B.G. (born in 2011), and I.G. (born in 2010).[2] The mother's parental rights were terminated pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d), (e), (f), (i), and (/) (2016). She challenges each of the statutory grounds and maintains termination was not in the best interests of the children.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) first became involved with this family in April 2014 based on reports from I.G. that her father had hit her in the face, giving her a bloody nose, and had touched her "coochie." Additionally, the mother reported an extensive history of domestic violence between her and the children's father, with the father as the perpetrator. At the time DHS began its involvement, the mother and the children were living at the home of the maternal grandparents.

         Shortly thereafter, in May, the mother left the children in the care of relatives and left town in order to resume her relationship with the father. The children were then officially removed from the parents' care by court order.

         The parents went a number of months without seeing the children or beginning services. The department had concerns regarding the mother's mental health, as she had a longstanding diagnosis of bipolar schizophrenia disorder, and the possibility of substance abuse.

         In August 2014, the parents stipulated to adjudicating all three children in need of assistance (CINA). The children were then moved from the maternal relatives' home to a foster home closer to where the mother and father had moved, but the parents continued to refuse services for a period of time.

         By June 2015, things were going well enough for the family that DHS initiated a trial home visit, placing the children in the care of the parents with DHS supervision. It was ordered the family continue participating in family safety, risk, and permanency (FSRP) services and the mother participate in mental-health services as recommended to deal with her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and bipolar schizophrenia. DHS had ongoing concerns regarding the cleanliness and safety of the home and the general instability in the ...


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