IN THE INTEREST OF L.A., Minor Child, P.M. and M.M., Intervenors, Appellants.
from the Iowa District Court for Dickinson County, David C.
Larson, District Associate Judge.
child's foster family appeals the juvenile court's
denial of their motion for temporary injunction.
M. Halverson of Klay, Veldhuizen, Bindner, De Jong &
Halverson, PLC, Paullina, for appellant intervenors.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Shannon Sandy, Spirit Lake, guardian ad litem for minor
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.
March 2018, the child at issue, L.A., was removed from his
mother's care and placed in the custody of the Iowa
Department of Human Services ("IDHS") for placement
in foster care. In April 2018, the child was adjudicated in
need of assistance, and the juvenile court ordered the child
remain in the custody of IDHS for placement in family foster
care. IDHS subsequently placed L.A. with a foster family. In
August 2018, IDHS notified L.A.'s foster family it
intended to end placement of L.A. in their home and place
L.A. with a different family, which was already providing
care to L.A.'s older half-sibling. See Iowa Code
§ 232.108 (2018) (recognizing a preference that siblings
be placed together). L.A.'s foster family moved to
intervene in this proceeding and sought a temporary
injunction to prohibit IDHS from changing L.A.'s
placement. The juvenile court granted the foster family's
motion to intervene, but it denied the motion for temporary
injunction. The foster family timely filed this appeal to
challenge the denial of their motion for temporary
review child-in-need-of-assistance proceedings de novo.
See In re D.D., 653 N.W.2d 359, 361 (Iowa 2002). We
examine both the facts and law, and we "adjudicate
[anew] those issues properly preserved and presented."
In re L.G., 532 N.W.2d 478, 480 (Iowa Ct. App.
1995). "Although our review is de novo, we afford
deference to the district court for institutional and
pragmatic reasons." Hensch v. Mysak, 902 N.W.2d
822, 824 (Iowa Ct. App. 2017).
novo review, we conclude the juvenile court did not err in
denying the foster family's motion for temporary
injunction. Here, the dispositional order placed L.A. in the
custody of IDHS for placement in foster family care. As we
explained in a recent case, the particular physical placement
of the child was at IDHS's discretion:
Once the juvenile court selected IDHS to serve as the
child's custodian, it was not the juvenile court's
place to select the particular physical placement of the
child. Instead, IDHS, as legal custodian of the child, was
vested with the authority to select the particular foster
care placement subject to the juvenile court's review.
See Iowa Code § 232.2(11)(b)(1) (providing the
custodian has the right to "maintain or transfer to
another the physical possession of that child"). Even if
the juvenile court could have directed the particular
placement of the child at issue, the physical placement was
in the best interest of the child. Here, IDHS placed the
child in a proven foster home with the child's sibling
and half-sibling. There is a preference for continued sibling
contact. See Iowa Code § 232.108.
In re L.B., No. 18-1165, 2018 WL 4361066, at *2
(Iowa Ct. App. Sept. 12, 2018). There was no legal basis for
the juvenile court to enter a temporary injunction to
prohibit IDHS from doing what it was entitled to do.
review of the record, we are cognizant of the excellent work
this foster family has done in providing care to L.A., and we
understand the family's desire to continue to provide
care for L.A. However, this does not create a legal ground to
interfere with the custodian's placement determination:
The foster care system is designed to provide temporary, not
permanent, homes for children. This is to facilitate the
goals of reunification with the parents or placement in a
relative's home. We certainly recognize the bond that is
developed between a foster parent and child. We also
recognize that a bond between the foster parents and the
child signifies a good foster home. However, if every foster
parent who formed a bond with a child were given enforceable
rights to the children, it would upset the goals of the
system. The legitimate permanency goals of the ...