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In re K.E.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 8, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF K.E., Minor Child, C.E., Father, Appellant, R.E., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Jennifer S. Bailey, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and father appeal separately the termination of their parental rights to their child.

          Shane M. Wiley of Hirsch, Adams, Putnam, Cahill & Wiley, P.L.C., West Burlington, for appellant father.

          Heidi D. Van Winkle of Van Winkle Law Office, Burlington, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Joshua P. Schier of Cray Law Firm, P.C., Burlington, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and McDonald, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, JUDGE.

         The mother and father appeal separately the termination of their parental rights to their child, K.E., born in September 2015. Both parents' rights were terminated pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2017). Both parents argue there is not clear and convincing evidence to support the statutory grounds for termination and termination is not in K.E.'s best interests.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) became involved with the family shortly after the child's birth due to concerns the parents were unable to care for him. The mother had suffered a head injury at age three and continues to have issues with her short-term memory as a result. The father suffers from a seizure disorder and also has issues with memory.

         The family received daily safety services for four weeks in October 2015, with providers coming into the family home each day for hands-on interactions. Even after several repetitions, service providers reported to DHS the parents were still unable to correctly prepare bottles for K.E. and they were not feeding him the appropriate amounts. The providers also had concerns the parents were unable to read K.E.'s cues in regards to eating, sleeping, and needing his diaper changed. There were medical concerns about K.E. losing, rather weight.

         In late October, DHS became aware of a video posted to the father's social media account. According to a report from DHS, [1] the video showed the father lifting K.E. by his legs and the father using his hands to aggressively shake K.E.'s chest and rotate K.E.'s arms and legs. DHS filed for the immediate removal of K.E. from his parents' care, and the court granted the request. K.E. was placed in the care of a foster family.

         Following K.E.'s removal, the parents were responsive to the idea of participating in more services, with the father admitting he has an anger issue and both parents agreeing ...


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