IN THE INTEREST OF R.J. and X.W., Minor Children, R.J., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Cheryl E.
Traum, District Associate Judge.
father appeals a permanency review order transitioning two
children from his temporary custody to the custody and care
of their mother.
T. Cobie of Brubaker, Flynn & Darland, P.C., Davenport,
for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
W. Stickle of Stickle Law Firm, P.L.C., Davenport, guardian
ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.
mother's two children were removed from her care and
placed with the father of one of the children. This father
appeals a permanency review order transitioning both children
from his temporary custody to the custody and care of their
Background Facts and Proceedings
department of human services became involved with the family
in mid-2015 based on the mother's heroin and cocaine use.
The district court removed the children from the mother's
care and placed them in the temporary custody of the younger
child's father. Except for a few days, the children
remained in his temporary custody through the permanency
the mother progressed with substance abuse treatment and, in
mid-2016, the district court ruled that the children could
likely be returned to her custody within six months. Given
her continued progress, the court later filed a permanency
order authorizing the children's transition to her care
and custody in the ensuing two months.
this transition period, the department discovered that the
mother had been dishonest with the agency on several fronts.
A month before the permanency review hearing, the department
curtailed overnight visits and moved to fully supervised
visits. At the permanency review hearing, the professionals
involved with the case, including the guardian ad litem,
recommended against returning the children to her care.
district court characterized their concerns as
"valid" but found "no evidence that the mother
has relapsed or that the children have been harmed while in
her care since this case opened." The court determined,
"The adjudicatory harm has lessened to the point that
the mother is a viable placement" and "returning
the children to the custody of the mother is in the
children's best interest." The court ordered the
department "to transition the children back into the
mother's care within 30 days, " with continued
services. The younger child's father appealed.