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In re E.S.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 10, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF E.S., Minor Child, M.S., Father, Appellant, N.S., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Sioux County, Brian L. Michaelson, Judge.

         A father and a mother separately appeal the termination of their parental rights. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.

          Kevin J. Huyser of Rensink Pluim Vogel & Huyser, Orange City, for appellant father. Timothy J. Kramer of Kramer Law Firm, PLC, Sioux Center, for appellant mother.

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

          Jenny L. Winterfeld of Winterfeld Law, PLC, Sioux Center, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Tabor, JJ.

          DANILSON, CHIEF JUDGE

         A father and a mother separately appeal from the termination of their parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d), (h), and (i) (2018). Because we find clear and convincing evidence supports termination under paragraph "h" [1] and that termination of parental rights is in the child's best interests, we affirm.[2]

         In our de novo review of the April 2018 termination proceedings, [3] we find the following. The mother has four children. The child at issue in this appeal, E.S., was born in May 2015. E.S. has two older siblings; B., age fifteen at the time of termination, and P., age twelve; and one younger sibling, E.J.S., born in November 2017 during the underlying child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) proceedings. The father of E.S. is also the father of E.J.S.

         The father is an over-the-road trucker. He has a history of anxiety and depression and has admitted to prior use of marijuana. He takes medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

         The mother works in the service industry. She has acknowledged using drugs in the past. She has previously been diagnosed with ADHD, manic-depressive bipolar disorder, and an anxiety disorder. More recently, the mother was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, recurrent episode, moderate; generalized anxiety disorder, unspecified trauma; and a stress-related disorder.

         On September 7, 2016, child protective services received allegations of physical abuse of P., then ten years old, who had a black right eye, a scratch from his left eye to his nose, bruising by both ears, a swollen jaw, circular bruises on his arms, and bruises on his thigh and chest. P.'s explanation for the injuries was inconsistent with the nature of his injuries. A medical expert who reviewed photographs taken of the child determined the injuries were inflicted.

         Family Safety, Risk, and Permanency (FSRP) services were implemented with the family in September 2016-when the investigation began. The unsanitary condition of the home when the children were still living with the parents was a concern to service providers.

         On December 9, 2016, E.S., P., and B. were adjudicated CINA. The underlying reasons included nine child-abuse assessments completed concerning these children spanning eight years, including a founded child-abuse report where P. was the victim of physical abuse with the perpetrator unidentified at the time. At the CINA adjudicatory hearing, both parents asserted P.'s injuries were self-inflicted. The mother wanted the department of human services (DHS) ...


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