IN THE INTEREST OF M.T., Minor Child, B.M., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Keokuk County, Daniel
Kitchen, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the juvenile court orders adjudicating the
child as in need of assistance and placing the child outside
Mitchell of Mitchell Law Office, PLC, Washington, for
L. Thompson, Sigourney, for father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
E.M. Lujan of Lloyd, McConnell, Davis & Lujan, L.L.P.,
Washington, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
mother seeks reversal or modification of juvenile court
orders adjudicating her child as in need of assistance (CINA)
and removing the child from the mother's care. We
conclude the evidence supports the CINA adjudication and we
affirm the dispositional order of the juvenile court.
Background Facts & Proceedings
mother, and Ma.T., father, are the parents of M.T., born in
2009. B.M. is married to R.M., and they have a child
together, L.M. M.T. resided with the mother B.M. and R.M.,
about November 1, 2017, M.T. sustained injuries on the right
ear and neck which the child described as cuts. However,
medical personnel later determined the injuries could be
burns, but they were not cuts. M.T. attributed the injuries
to intentional actions by the stepfather with a "shiny
object." The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS)
investigated the reported injury on November 4 and removed
the child from the home. The child was placed with the
father, and the court ordered visitation with the mother and
a no-contact order with the stepfather.
filed a "founded" child-abuse assessment in
December, concluding the stepfather was responsible for
physical abuse to M.T. The mother continued to live with the
stepfather, and denied he caused any harm to M.T. The mother
and stepfather did not provide a credible alternate
explanation for the injuries to M.T.'s ear and neck. The
stepfather sometimes acted in a hostile manner toward law
enforcement, DHS, and Family Safety, Risk, and Permanency
(FSRP) workers- sending accusatory text messages, taking
pictures of the workers and their vehicles, forbidding access
to the house at times, and monitoring the time and place of
visitations between the mother and the child. Throughout the
proceedings, the mother and stepfather exhibited a volatile
relationship; for example, splitting up in February, getting
back together in March, calling in law enforcement during
fights in April, and discussing no-contact orders one day and
driving together for visitation the next.
April 26, 2018, the court adjudicated M.T. as a CINA pursuant
to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(b) and (c)(2) (2017). The
following weekend, the mother called law enforcement multiple
times about the stepfather's mental-health issues and
threatening behaviors, including suicide attempts, locking
himself in with the younger child, and chasing the mother and
L.M. down the street. The mother continued to stay with and
support the stepfather, though he did not comply with any of
the recommendations necessary for the mother to regain
custody of M.T. In July, the stepfather came to the house
where he knew the mother was having visitation with M.T. The
mother kept the stepfather away from the child, but he took