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In re K.G.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 24, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF K.G., Minor Child, M.G., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Benton County, Cynthia S. Finley, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals an order modifying the permanency goal in a child-in-need-of-assistance proceeding. AFFIRMED.

          Andrew C. Abbott of Abbott Law Office, P.C., Waterloo, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Ray Lough, Vinton, for appellee father.

          Mark D. Fisher of Nidey Erdahl Fisher Pilkington & Meier, PLC, Cedar Rapids, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Tabor, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]

          SCOTT, SENIOR JUDGE

         A mother appeals an order modifying the permanency goal in a child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) proceeding. We conclude the modification of the permanency goal to placement with the father is in the best interests of the child and is supported by clear and convincing evidence. The juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in denying the mother's request to submit written closing arguments. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         M.G., mother, and B.L., father, are the parents of K.G., born in 2015. The parents lived separately. The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) became involved in January 2018 due to concerns the mother was using illegal substances while caring for the child. The mother had a hair test that was positive for methamphetamine.

         The child was adjudicated to be a CINA, pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) (2018). In June 2018, the mother again tested positive for methamphetamine. The mother obtained a protective order due to domestic violence in her relationship with her paramour. On July 3, the juvenile court removed the child from the mother's care based on her mental-health and substance-abuse problems. The child was placed with the maternal grandparents. In September, DHS began a trial home placement of the child with the father. The permanency goal was reunification with the mother.

         In a review order, filed on November 6, the court placed the child in the father's care. The court stated modification of the permanency goal "will be set for hearing upon filing of [a] motion." On November 8, the father filed an application to modify the permanency goal to having the child placed with him. He requested a bridge order so physical care of the child could be established by the district court.

         The mother successfully completed a substance-abuse treatment program but tested positive for methamphetamine in February 2019. She was inconsistent in participating in drug tests. There were also concerns about the mother's use of alcohol. She ...


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