IN THE INTEREST OF L.H., Minor Child, R.H., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Gary P.
Strausser, District Associate Judge.
father appeals the juvenile court's dispositional order
confirming the adjudication of his child as a child in need
J. Neary, of Neary Law Office, Muscatine, for appellant
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Strain Linder of Bray & Klockau, P.L.C., Iowa City,
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.
father appeals from the juvenile court's order
adjudicating L.H. to be a child in need of assistance (CINA).
He contends the juvenile court erred in finding the State
proved the grounds for adjudicating the child CINA under Iowa
Code section 232.2(6)(b) and (c)(2) (2017). We reverse.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
L.H. came to the attention of the
Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in June 2016 due to
concerns of physical abuse by the father. It was alleged the
father assaulted L.H.'s older half-sibling, A.D., when he
grabbed A.D.'s neck and pushed him into a doorframe. L.H.
did not witness the event. After the incident, the mother
called 911 and took A.D. to the hospital. A.D. was diagnosed
with a subdural hematoma on the head. Hospital, DHS, and
police reports indicate the mother intended to take the
children to her father's house after the incident; the
mother later testified that she was already residing with her
father at the time of the assault on A.D.
December 2016, during a Family Safety, Risk, and Permanency
visit with the mother, the social worker observed
"extreme bruising" on the mother's face,
including broken blood vessels in her right eye, two black
eyes, and bruises along the mother's forehead and cheeks.
The mother claimed a snowball caused the black eyes, and she
tripped over a toy and hit a door, which caused the facial
bruising. The social worker noted "severe concerns for
the presence of domestic violence in the home."
January 13, 2017, a contested adjudicatory hearing was held.
A DHS representative testified about the June 2016 incident
with A.D. and the lack of participation by the father in DHS
processes. Another DHS worker testified that since the June
2016 incident, the agency has been unable to meet with the
father because he does not respond to phone calls or letters
from DHS. The mother testified that A.D. might have
exaggerated the June incident with the father. On February
23, the court issued an order finding the father assaulted
A.D. in June and adjudicating L.H. and the half-siblings CINA
pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(b) and (c)(2). The
order left L.H. and the half-siblings in the care of their
April 20, a contested dispositional hearing was held. At the
time of the hearing, testimony confirmed the father remained
uncooperative with DHS. He refused to submit social history
information to the department, and he refused to answer
questions asked by the department at the hearing. DHS
representatives also testified the father refused to
cooperate with paternity testing. The district court issued
an order confirming L.H. as CINA, explaining, ...