IN THE INTEREST OF J.C. and O.C., Minor Children, J.C., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E.
Seymour, District Associate Judge.
father appeals the juvenile court's decision to waive the
department of human services' obligation to make
reasonable efforts towards reunification.
Christine E. Branstad of Branstad & Olson Law Office, Des
Moines, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Charles K. Phillips,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Garbis Nolan of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, attorney and
guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
Vaitheswaran, Presiding Judge.
children were removed from parental custody after a state
trooper saw them in the bed of a pickup truck driven by their
father, who appeared to be under the influence of drugs. The
children were adjudicated in need of assistance.
children's attorney and guardian ad litem filed a motion
to waive the department of human services' obligation to
make reasonable efforts towards reunification. See
generally In re C.B., 611 N.W.2d 489, 493 (Iowa 2000)
(explaining the obligation and a statutory amendment
permitting waiver of the obligation). The attorney cited a
prior juvenile court action involving the parents of these
children and their abuse of drugs and asserted there were
aggravated circumstances warranting the waiver under Iowa
Code section 232.104(14)(b) (2018). The department resisted
the motion. In written argument to the court, counsel for the
department asserted, "The Department does not believe
services would be futile in this case" and the risk of
termination of parental rights if reasonable efforts were
waived is not a risk that should be taken "at this
juncture," given the children's needs and interests,
as well as those of the father. Following an evidentiary
hearing, the juvenile court waived the reasonable-efforts
father filed a petition for interlocutory appeal. The Iowa
Supreme Court concluded the question of whether the appealed
order was final would be determined with the appeal. The
appeal was transferred to the court of appeals for
father argues the juvenile court abused its discretion in
waiving reasonable efforts. He also asks for bifurcation of
the role of the children's attorney, who also serves as
guardian ad litem.
Finality of Order Waiving Reasonable Efforts
we address the supreme court's inquiry "whether the
dispositional order waiving reasonable efforts is a final
order appealable as a matter of right or an interlocutory
Code section 232.133(1) states in part: "An interested
party aggrieved by an order or decree of the juvenile court
may appeal from the court for review of questions of law or
fact." "The statute provides no special basis for
an appeal as a matter of right. As with all other orders,
appealability depends on whether a juvenile court order is
found to be 'final.'" In re W.D., 562
N.W.2d 183, 185 (Iowa 1997). "[A]n appealable order in a
juvenile case is one that disposes of all issues, including
disposition." In re Long,313 N.W.2d 473, 476
(Iowa 1981). A child-in-need-of-assistance adjudication
without a disposition is not a final order. Id. at