IN THE INTEREST OF A.S., Minor Child, A.S., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Monroe County, William S.
Owens, Associate Juvenile Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.
REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.
F. Bozwell, Jr. of Bozwell Law Office, Centerville, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
R. De Vries of De Vries Law Office, PLC, Centerville,
guardian ad litem for minor child/appellee.
Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights,
asserting several claims. Because we agree, based on the
unique facts of the case, that a guardianship should have
been created rather than terminating the mother's
parental rights, we reverse the juvenile court's
termination-of-parental-rights ruling with respect to the
mother. We remand the case back to the juvenile court to
enter an order transferring guardianship and custody of the
child to the maternal grandparents pursuant to Iowa Code
section 232.104(2)(d)(1) (2017).
Background Facts and Proceedings.
the mother and J.S. is the father of A.S., born in 2015. The
family came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) in 2016 after it was reported the child had
been sexually abused. Specifically, on February 4, 2016, the
mother left the child, then about three months old, in the
care of the father, who she knew was intoxicated, for
approximately two hours.
Upon [the mother's] return home, she observed [the
father] "passed out" and [the child] crying and
shaking in a baby swing. [The mother] noticed blood coming
from [the child's] diaper. When [the mother] removed the
diaper, she noticed injury to [the child's] genitals.
[The mother] took [the child] to the . . . hospital. Injuries
were observed and [the child] was taken to Blank
Children's Hospital by ambulance. [The child] ha[d]
suffered injuries from forced sexual abuse. The injuries
required surgery. [The mother] made statements she didn't
want to believe the child's father caused such injuries.
child was removed from the parents' care and subsequently
adjudicated a child in need of assistance
(CINA). The child was placed in the custody of the
child's maternal grandparents, where the child has since
remained. The mother also moved into the maternal
grandparents' home and continued to live there throughout
directed by the juvenile court, the mother saw a psychologist
for a mental-health evaluation in May 2016. The
psychologist's report that followed advised:
During [the mother's] schooling, she was in special
education services and reported current reading problems.
Psychological testing administered during this evaluation
placed her intellectual ability in the mildly intellectually
disabled/borderline range. Brief screening measures placed
her reading and oral comprehension ability at the fourth
grade level, with her memory ability in the low average
range. . . . [S]he appeared perplexed by more conceptual,
open ended questions. ...