IN THE INTEREST OF T.G., N.G., A.G., and J.G., Minor Children, C.G., Father, Appellant, D.B., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Scott
Strait, District Associate Judge.
father and mother separately appeal the termination of their
parental rights. REVERSED AND REMANDED ON BOTH APPEALS.
Joseph Narmi, Council Bluffs, for appellant father.
Heims, Council Bluffs, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Roberta J. Megel of State Public Defender's Office,
Council Bluffs, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.
VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.
mother and father had four children together, born in 2013,
2015, 2016, and 2018. The department of human services
intervened after two of the children were hospitalized for
failure to thrive. On their discharge, the department
initiated in-home services. The parents informed the
department that "members of their family are of small
stature." The department agreed but found there stature
was not inconsistent with malnourishment.
State sought and obtained an order temporarily removing the
three oldest children from the parents' custody. When the
youngest child was born, he too was removed.
adjudicatory hearing, the father again asserted the
children's weight and size was a familial trait. He
sought genetic testing to confirm his assertion. The mother
seconded the request. She also noted her first three children
were born prematurely.
district court concluded it lacked "the ability to order
or require medical staff to undergo" genetic testing
"at this point in time." The court encouraged the
department to "continue to pursue this avenue of
questioning with medical personnel." The children were
adjudicated in need of assistance over the parents'
parents continued to assert a belief that the children did
not suffer from malnutrition but were genetically predisposed
to low height and weight. At the parents' behest, the
oldest child was evaluated by a gastroenterologist, who
substantiated their belief. Following an initial evaluation,
he noted the child's "overall body . . . [was] quite
similar to that of his father's." He recommended a
"full genetic consultation." Testing uncovered
"a chromosomal abnormality involving the 18th
chromosome." Based on the result, the gastroenterologist
confirmed that "the likely cause for [the child's]
decreased growth parameters was an underlying genetic problem
which extended through numerous family members." He
further stated the disparity in the child's "bone
age" and chronological age could "only be accounted
for on a chromosomal basis, since there appear to be no
underlying endocrine abnormalities." He opined that the
child would not "benefit from participating in a
structured feeding therapy program." The department did
not complete genetic testing on the remaining children.
State petitioned to terminate parental rights. Following a
hearing, the district court granted the petition as to both
parents pursuant to Iowa Code section ...