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In re J.D.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 10, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF J.D., T.D., CD., D.D., and E.R., Minor Child, S.B., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Montgomery County, Amy L. Zacharias, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals the juvenile court order temporarily removing her children from her care. AFFIRMED.

          Sarah M. Hart of Reisinger, Booth, and Associates, P.C., L.L.O., Omaha, Nebraska, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Karen L. Mailander of Mailander Law Office, Anita, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, Judge.

         A mother appeals the order temporarily removing her children from her care. We find the children were properly removed pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.102(5)(a) (2017). We affirm the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         The five children in this case ranged in age from three to twelve at the time of the removal hearing. In April 2017, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) received a report of physical abuse against the father of four of the children. The father was arrested and charged with child endangerment. The mother and father were no longer in a relationship at the time of the incident. However, during the course of the investigation, it was discovered the mother's boyfriend, W.B., who lived in the mother's home with the children, was a registered sex offender.[1] DHS and law enforcement informed the mother and W.B. and he was required to leave the home. Two days later, the mother and W.B. married in order to avoid his removal.

         After approximately one month, the mother and W.B. signed a safety plan requiring W.B. to leave the home. The children made statements to the caseworker they wanted W.B. to come back to the home and that his victim had been lying about the abuse. Near the end of May, the children were adjudicated to be children in need of assistance (CINA), and a no-contact order between W.B. and all of the children was entered. The mother did not understand why the no-contact order was entered and why allowing W.B. around the children presented a safety concern. It was also discovered the mother was pregnant with W.B.'s child. However, the children were allowed to remain in the care of the mother.

         DHS was immediately suspicious W.B. still had contact with the children, though it had no proof. The juvenile court specifically reminded the mother any violation of the no-contact order would result in the children being removed from her care. W.B. was pulled over in a traffic stop approximately two weeks later, and the mother and all five children were in the car with him. An ex-parte removal order was filed July 12, 2017. The juvenile court noted, the mother "now claims she will not allow contact between [W.B.] and the children and will do whatever is necessary to have her children returned to her care. Given [her] behaviors to this point, the Court finds that the children are not safe in her care and should be temporarily removed."

         The children were placed in foster care, and the mother was granted supervised visitation. The mother complied with the case-plan requirements, but DHS remained concerned about her continued relationship with W.B. When the mother was directly asked by the juvenile court if she was comfortable allowing her children to have contact with a sex offender, she did not directly answer the question. Instead she noted W.B. planned to appeal his conviction and that she had spoken to some of W.B.'s children and they believed his victim lied about the abuse.

         II. ...


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