IN THE INTEREST OF G.D. and A.D., Minor Children, K.L., Custodian/Intervenor, Appellant, VICKI R. DANLEY, Guardian ad litem, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Page County, Amy L.
Zacharias, District Associate Judge.
guardian ad litem and the custodian appeal from the juvenile
court's dispositional order, in which the court refused
to waive the State's obligation to provide reasonable
efforts to reunify the family. AFFIRMED.
D. Strait, Council Bluffs, for custodian/intervenor.
R. Danley, Sidney, guardian ad litem for minor children.
William C. Bracker of Law Office of Bill Bracker, Council
Bluffs, for mother.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.
guardian ad litem (GAL) and the custodian of G.D. and A.D.
appeal from the juvenile court's dispositional order, in
which the court denied the GAL's motion to waive the
State's obligation to make reasonable efforts to reunify
the children with their parents. The GAL maintains there was
substantial evidence of aggravated circumstances, pursuant to
Iowa Code section 232.102(14)(b) and (c) (2017),
allowing the court to waive reasonable efforts for
reunification. Additionally, if reasonable efforts are not to
be waived, the GAL argues the department should not be
required to allow visits between the children and the parents
as parts of its reasonable-efforts mandate in this
Background Facts and Proceedings.
not this family's first involvement with the Iowa
Department of Human Services (DHS). A case was opened and
services were provided in both 2014 and 2015; in both
instances, the case was voluntarily dismissed by DHS. The
present involvement began in July 2016, after both parents
were observed to have fresh track marks on their arms and
arrested. The father admitted to the arresting officer that
both he and the mother had been using methamphetamine
intravenously with the children present. At the time, G.D.
was six years old and A.D. was three years old. While the
mother continues to maintain she did not use methamphetamine
on that date, it is undisputed she allowed the father, who
was high and hallucinating he was being chased, to take the
children with him when he left in the family's vehicle.
The mother did nothing to stop the father, and she did not
summon help. Both parents were cited for felony child
result of the incident, the children were removed from the
care of their parents and the State filed a petition alleging
the children were children in need of assistance (CINA).
Following an adjudicatory hearing, on October 12, 2016, the
juvenile court found insufficient evidence to support the
grounds for adjudication; the court ordered the CINA petition
to be dismissed and the children to be returned to the care
of their parents. However, there was a criminal no-contact
order in place preventing the parents from having contact
with the children, so the children's paternal grandmother
took custody of the children through a guardianship.
appealed the dismissal of the CINA petition, and a panel of
our court found sufficient evidence for both children to be
adjudicated pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and
(n) (2016). See In re G.D., No. 16-1895, 2017 WL
512796, at *2 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 8, 2017).
procedendo issued, the juvenile court scheduled a
dispositional hearing. The paternal grandmother, who was
still the guardian of the children, filed a motion to
intervene, and the juvenile court granted it. Additionally,
the GAL filed a motion asking the court to waive reasonable
efforts to reunify the children with their parents.
dispositional hearing took place on April 21, 2017. The
mother testified at the hearing, admitting she has struggled
with the use of illegal drugs throughout much of her life and
has previously had her parental rights terminated to other
children. Testimony from the children's counselors and
the social worker included statements of concern that the
children had been ...