IN THE INTEREST OF D.C., Minor Child, E.A., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark Fowler,
District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the transfer of guardianship and custody of
W. Stickle of Stickle Law Firm, P.L.C., Davenport, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
J. Kieffer-Garrison, Davenport, guardian ad litem for minor
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and McDonald, JJ.
mother appeals the permanency order, which transferred
guardianship and custody of her child, D.C., to the
child's maternal grandparents. First, she argues the
district court failed to account for the progress she has
made. Second, she argues the Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) has failed to make reasonable efforts toward
first took notice of this family on May 10, 2017, when
D.C.'s school reported abuse injuries to the child. D.C.,
born in January 2011, had puffiness to one eye, scratches on
his neck, and bruises on his ear and arm. A DHS worker went
to the school and spoke with D.C., who reported his
mother's paramour had caused the injuries and has injured
D.C., his older sister, and his mother on various
occasions. On May 22, D.C. and his sister were
removed from the mother's care and placed in the care of
their maternal grandparents.
and his sister were adjudicated as children in need of
assistance (CINA) on July 28, 2017. DHS reported the mother
would not acknowledge the paramour harmed the children and
refused to engage in therapy to address her own issues. After
more than one year of offered services, the children and the
mother's family members reported the mother continued the
relationship with the paramour. A permanency hearing was held
on August 8, 2018. Following the hearing, the district court
ordered guardianship and custody of D.C. be transferred to
D.C.'s maternal grandparents.
review a permanency order de novo." In re K.C.,
660 N.W.2d 29, 32 (Iowa 2003). The mother first argues the
transfer of guardianship was not justified due to her
progress. She asserts, "Based on the return of the
child's sibling and discharge of proceedings, it is clear
that the Court made a determination in the sibling case that
the mother had made sufficient progress in case plan goals
for the return of the sibling and safe case closure for the
sibling." "Even though a mother may be able to
parent some of her children does not necessarily mean she is
capable of providing appropriate care to all her children.
The special needs and best interests of each child must be
evaluated." In re T.J.O., 527 N.W.2d 417, 421
(Iowa Ct. App. 1994); accord In re E.B.L., 501
N.W.2d 547, 550-51 (Iowa 1993) (holding the individual
child's needs and best interests should be taken into
consideration when determining if the parent is capable of
parenting that child). The district court noted D.C.'s
sister was about to turn fifteen years old and was "old
enough to self-protect if the need should arise." On the
contrary, D.C. is only seven years old and is unable to
protect himself. The record supports the district court's
findings of a lack of progress by the mother necessary to
safely return D.C. to her care.
mother also argues DHS did not provide reasonable efforts
toward reunification. Specifically, she claims DHS failed to
provide visitations with D.C. A DHS report notes DHS limited
the mother's unsupervised visits because the mother
continues to be deceptive about her relationship with the
paramour. The mother was always able to visit D.C. at the
grandparents' home; however, she failed to take advantage
of this opportunity at any time during June and July 2018.
The mother's assertions regarding a lack of visitation
opportunities simply ring hollow. Therefore, we agree the
guardianship of D.C. was appropriately transferred. We affirm
without further opinion. See Iowa Ct. R.
21.26(1)(a), (d), (e).