IN THE INTEREST OF E.R., Minor Child, M.K., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, Julie
mother appeals the order modifying the dispositional order in
a child-in-need-of-assistance proceeding. AFFIRMED.
S. Moeller of John S. Moeller, P.C., Sioux City, for
appellant mother. Rosalynd J. Koob of Heidman Law Firm,
P.L.L.C., Sioux City, for appellee father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Thali of Juvenile Law Center, Sioux City, for minor child.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Doyle, JJ.
mother appeals the order modifying the dispositional order
entered after her child was adjudicated to be a child in need
of assistance (CINA) to transfer legal custody of the child
to the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) for placement
of the child with a relative or foster family. She contends
the juvenile court erred in denying her motion to dismiss the
CINA action, in transferring legal custody of the child, and
in placing certain terms and conditions on her.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
parents of the child at issue were married when the child was
born in 2004. The DHS first had contact with the family
in 2006 after an altercation between the parents led to the
father's arrest for domestic assault and child
endangerment. The 2007 decree dissolving the parents'
marriage granted them joint legal custody and shared physical
care of the child. As described by the juvenile court, the
parents' relationship following the divorce was
"extremely contentious" and remained so. A 2011
order modified the dissolution decree to grant the mother
physical care of the child. The DHS continued to have contact
with the family in the years that followed.
State filed a CINA petition in December 2013. The juvenile
court adjudicated the child to be a CINA pursuant to Iowa
Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) (2013) (defining a CINA as a
child who "has suffered or is imminently likely to
suffer harmful effects as a result of . . . [t]he failure of
the child's parent, guardian, custodian or other member
of the household in which the child resides to exercise a
reasonable degree of care in supervising the child").
The mother appealed and this court reversed the adjudication.
In re E.R., No. 14-0850, 2014 WL 4937999, at *1
(Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 1, 2014). This court concluded the
mother's conduct did not fall within the purview of
section 232.2(6)(c)(2). Id. at *4. But, this court
had "no doubt these children are in need of
assistance" and that "adequate protection for these
children can be found in a plain reading of section
232.2(6)(c)(1), because both children have sustained mental
injury at the hands of both parents." Id. at
*4. The State then filed another CINA petition concerning the
child on October 17, 2014. In March 2015, the juvenile court
entered an order adjudicating the child to be a CINA pursuant
to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(1) (2014) (defining a CINA
as a child who "has suffered or is imminently likely to
suffer harmful effects as a result of . . . [m]ental injury
caused by the acts of the child's parent, guardian, or
custodian"). The court entered a dispositional order in
April 2015, which found the least restrictive placement
available was for the child to remain with the mother under
the supervision of the DHS. See Iowa Code §
232.101(1). The order set forth terms and conditions for both
the parents and child, which included the child's
attendance at individual counseling. The court continued the
CINA adjudication and the child's placement with the
mother following each subsequent dispositional-review
hearing. It also denied the State's 2016 motion to modify
the dispositional order and the mother's 2017 motion to
dismiss the CINA case and terminate the dispositional order.
January 2018, the mother again moved to dismiss the CINA
case. The father moved to modify the dispositional order in
March 2018. The court held a hearing on the motions in March
2018. On April 20, 2018, before the court had ruled on the
motions, the mother filed another motion to dismiss the case
pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.101(2) on the basis that
more than three years had elapsed since the entry of the
initial dispositional order. Another hearing was held in May
2018. In July 2018, the juvenile court overruled the
mother's motions to dismiss and it transferred legal
custody of the child to the DHS for placement with a relative
or in foster care. It is from this order that the mother
Scope and Standard of Review.
review CINA proceedings de novo. See In re K.N., 625
N.W.2d 731, 733 (Iowa 2001). We give weight to the juvenile
court's factual findings, though they are not binding on
us. See id. Our ...