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In re K.K.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 21, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF K.K. and K.K., Minor Children, S.K., Grandmother (guardian), Appellant, S.K., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Christine Dalton Ploof, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and grandmother appeal a juvenile court order terminating the mother's parental rights and the grandmother's guardianship over two children, born in 2005 and 2008. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.

          Michael A. Woods of Zamora, Taylor et al., Davenport, for appellant grandmother (guardian).

          Steven W. Stickle of Stickle Law Firm, P.L.C., Davenport, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Margaret M. Moeller of Maria K. Pauly Law Firm, Davenport, guardian ad litem for minor children.

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

          VAITHESWARAN, Presiding Judge.

         A mother and grandmother appeal a juvenile court order terminating the mother's parental rights and the grandmother's guardianship over two children, born in 2005 and 2008. The mother contends (A) the State failed to prove the grounds for termination cited by the district court, (B) the department of human services failed to make reasonable efforts towards reunification, and (C) termination is not in the children's best interests. The grandmother argues the juvenile court's termination of the guardianship "is not supported by clear and convincing evidence" and, alternatively, she should have been afforded more time to "get the children back in her care."

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         The department began investigating the family in 2007 based on domestic violence in the home. The department issued the first of several founded child abuse reports and offered the mother services to address the problem. Two years later, the department issued a second founded report based on the mother's threat of harm to herself and the younger child. Again, the department offered services to correct the problem.

         Meanwhile, the mother was domestically abused by her boyfriend in the presence of the younger child, who was also injured. The mother responded by threatening to cut her boyfriend with a knife. The department issued a third founded child abuse report.

         Violence in the mother's home continued. The mother hit her sister with a guitar in the presence of the children, triggering a fourth founded child abuse report.

         The juvenile court removed the children and they were placed in non-relative foster care and, later, with their maternal grandparents. The department learned that the grandparents were not providing proper supervision and issued a founded ...


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