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In re T.I.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 12, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF T.I. and M.I., Minor Children, K.S., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, Paul G. Crawford, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals the order removing her children from her care.

          Norma J. Meade of Moore, McKibben, Goodman & Lorenz, LLP, Marshalltown, for appellant mother.

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

          Mary Cowdrey of Public Defenders Office, Marshalltown, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.

          DOYLE, JUDGE.

         A mother appeals following the entry of a May 7, 2018 order removing her children from her care, arguing removal was improper. We review her claim de novo. See In re J.S., 846 N.W.2d 36, 40 (Iowa 2014). In doing so, we give weight to the juvenile court's fact findings, although we are not bound by them. See id.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The children were initially removed from the mother's care in September 2017 due to her alcohol and substance abuse, and they were later adjudicated children in need of assistance under the definition set forth in Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n) (2017). The children were placed with their maternal grandparents. Thereafter, the mother made much progress in her sobriety and in addressing her issues with alcohol and marijuana. As a result, the juvenile court entered a stipulated modification of CINA dispositional order on April 13, 2018, continuing the CINA adjudication under section 232.2(6)(c)(2) but returning the children to the mother's care.

         Two weeks later, the children reported discovering marijuana in the mother's home. They were afraid for their safety and expressed their concerns to school officials. The mother was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and child endangerment. A no-contact order was entered.

         The State filed a motion for temporary removal and motion to modify disposition, and the court entered an ex parte order for temporary removal pursuant to section 232.78 finding "removal is necessary to avoid imminent danger to the child[ren]'s life and health and there is insufficient time to file a petition and hold a hearing under Iowa Code section 232.95." The court further found the mother was on probation at the time for child endangerment under similar circumstances. The order provided the children be in the temporary custody of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) for placement in the home of a relative or suitable person or in foster care.

         A removal hearing was set for May 4, 2018-within ten days of the temporary removal order. See Iowa Code § 232.95(1).[1] After the May 4 contested removal hearing, the court ordered the children "remain removed" from the mother's custody. The mother appealed.[2]

         II. ...


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