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In re J.M.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 24, 2019

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

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cherokee County, Mary L. Timko, Associate Juvenile Judge.

         A mother appeals a child in need of assistance permanency order. AFFIRMED.

          Theresa Rachel of Fankhauser Rachel, PLC, Sioux City, for appellant mother.

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

          Lesley D. Rynell, Sioux City, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Mullins, P.J., Bower, J., and Danilson, S.J. [*]

          DANILSON, SENIOR JUDGE.

         A mother appeals a child in need of assistance (CINA) permanency order. We find the juvenile court properly denied the mother's request to dismiss or modify the permanency order placing the child in the care of the father. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         K.M. is the mother and C.M. is the father of J.M., born in 2010. The parents were married but living separately and shared care of the child.[1] The mother has two older children, born in 2003 and 2006, who also lived in the home. The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) became involved with the family in November 2016 due to the mother's methamphetamine use. The children were removed from the mother's care on March 3, 2017. The children were placed in the care of C.M.

         The children were adjudicated CINA. The mother tested positive for methamphetamine in March and August 2017. The mother participated in services, including an extended outpatient treatment program for substance abuse and individual therapy for mental-health concerns.

         In February 2018, the children were returned to the mother's care on a trial basis but were returned to the care of the father on April 19. The court found, "[I]t does appear that the return home of the children has been fraught with issues that have not been conducive to allowing the children to be returned home full time." The court noted the conditions in the mother's home were chaotic and caused regression in J.M.'s behaviors.

         The mother tested positive for marijuana in October. In a permanency order filed on October 29, the court noted J.M. had been having extensive visitation with the mother but determined the child should be placed in the sole care of the father, pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.104(2)(d)(2) (2018). The court found the two oldest children, who were fifteen and twelve years old, should be placed in the mother's care, as they "appear[ed] to be old enough to self-care." These two children stated they did not want to continue to live with C.M., who was not their biological father.

         The mother sought dismissal of the juvenile court proceedings. The juvenile court entered an ...


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