IN THE INTEREST OF L.R., Minor Child, M.R., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Thomas G.
mother appeals from a dispositional order and the removal of
her child from her custody.
Christine E. Boyer, Iowa City, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen Witte Kraemer,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
J. Neary of Neary Law Office, Muscatine, guardian ad litem
for minor child.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
DANILSON, CHIEF JUDGE.
mother appeals from a dispositional order and the
removal of her child, L.R., from her custody. The mother
contends there is not clear and convincing evidence
supporting the grounds for adjudication of the child as a
child in need of assistance (CINA), there was insufficient
evidence to order the child's removal, and reasonable
efforts to achieve reunification were not provided. Because
the record reflects the mother's progress in addressing
her mental-health issues has not eliminated the imminent
likelihood L.R. will suffer harm and will not receive
adequate care, we affirm.
born October 2016, is under the age of one. The mother is
diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder, factitious
disorder imposed upon another with a rule out, and borderline
intellectual functioning. The mother's mental-health
issues interfere with her ability to maintain stability in
general life functions and to process information, and they
cause the mother to engage in attention-seeking behavior. For
example, the mother mismanages finances- often buying
unneeded clothing and toys for her children and then
struggling to retain money to pay rent and utilities bills.
Additionally, the mother has frequently moved residences and,
when able, has kept an unreasonably large number of animals
in her home.
concerning is the danger posed to L.R. due to the
mother's factitious disorder imposed upon another.
L.R.'s older sibling, E.R., was removed from the
mother's care because the mother was administering
seizure medication to E.R. despite knowing the medication was
not needed. A department of human services (DHS) worker
reported the mother overfeeds L.R. and feeds L.R.
inappropriate food, causing L.R. to vomit. Instead of taking
L.R. to a pediatrician, the mother took L.R. to a
chiropractor to address the vomiting. The mother did not heed
the advice of professionals when told she was overfeeding
L.R., and she directed L.R.'s daycare provider to
continue feeding L.R. the same quantity of food. The mother
also directed the daycare provider to continue treating L.R.
for eczema when L.R.'s eczema had already cleared up.
was adjudicated a CINA on May 3, 2017, pursuant to Iowa Code
section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and 232.2(6)(n) (2017). After a
hearing held July 6, the district court concluded the mother
had not made the necessary progress in addressing her
mental-health issues to ensure L.R.'s safety and entered
a dispositional order removing L.R. from the mother's
care. The mother now appeals.
review of child-in-need-of-assistance proceedings is de novo.
In re J.S., 846 N.W.2d 36, 40 (Iowa 2014). "In
reviewing the proceedings, we are not bound by the juvenile
court's fact findings; however, we do give them weight.
Our primary concern is the child[ ]'s best
interests." Id. "CINA determinations must
be based upon clear and convincing evidence."
Id. at 41.
to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2), a CINA means a child
"who has suffered or is imminently likely to suffer
harmful effects as a result of . . . [t]he failure of the
child's parent, . . . to exercise a reasonable degree of
care in supervising the child." And section 232.2(6)(n)
defines a CINA as a child "[w]hose parent's . . .
mental capacity or condition, . . . results in the child not
receiving adequate care." In the adjudicatory order, the
district court explained:
[T]he mother has histrionic personality disorder, which
caused her to misinterpret [E.R.]'s behaviors and to
exaggerate those behaviors and make decisions based upon a
desire for attention which put [E.R.] in harm's way, and
caused [E.R.] to experience traumatic events. The mother is
still suffering from that diagnosis. She has a significant
history of lying, which includes lying about a pregnancy. The
court finds that the mother lied to medical professionals
about [E.R.]'s health, misinterpreted [E.R.]'s
health, and the mother ...