IN THE INTEREST OF E.S., Minor Child, M.S., Father, Appellant, N.S., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Sioux County, Daniel P.
Vakulskas, District Associate Judge.
mother and a father separately appeal the termination of
their parental rights.
J. Huyser, Orange City, for appellant father.
Timothy J. Kramer of Kramer Law, P.C., Sioux Center, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler (until
withdrawal) and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorneys General,
for appellee State.
L. Winterfeld of Winterfeld Law, P.L.C., Sioux Center,
attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., Mullins, J., and Gamble, S.J.
GAMBLE, SENIOR JUDGE.
mother and father separately appeal from the termination of
their parental rights in their child, E.J.S. On appeal, both
parents challenge the statutory grounds authorizing
termination, whether termination is in the child's best
interests, and the juvenile court's refusal to grant
additional time to work toward reunification. The father also
challenges the juvenile court's refusal to apply
permissive factors to preclude termination. We affirm.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
the second termination appeal involving this family before
this court in less than two years. We previously affirmed the
termination of both parents' parental rights to another
child, E.S. See In re E.S., No. 18-1114, 2018 WL
4923174, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 10, 2018). Both the
present and prior action stem from the physical abuse of the
mother's two oldest children, P. and B. We recounted the
following relevant facts and events in our previous opinion:
On September 7, 2016, child protective services received
allegations of physical abuse of P., then ten years old, who
had a black right eye, a scratch from his left eye to his
nose, bruising by both ears, a swollen jaw, circular bruises
on his arms, and bruises on his thigh and chest. P.'s
explanation for the injuries was inconsistent with the nature
of his injuries. A medical expert who reviewed photographs
taken of the child determined the injuries were inflicted.
Family Safety, Risk, and Permanency (FSRP) services were
implemented with the family in September 2016-when the
investigation began. The unsanitary condition of the home
when the children were still living with the parents was a
concern to service providers.
On December 9, 2016, E.S., P., and B. were [each] adjudicated
[as a child in need of assistance] [(]CINA[)]. The underlying
reasons included nine child-abuse assessments completed
concerning these children spanning eight years, including a
founded child-abuse report where P. was the victim of
physical abuse with the perpetrator unidentified at the time.
At the CINA adjudicatory hearing, both parents asserted
P.'s injuries were self-inflicted. The mother wanted the
department of human services (DHS) involved to try to
determine why the child was acting out. B. also told
authorities that P.'s injuries were self-inflicted.
P. and B. later reported the father physically abused both of
them. On February 3, 2017, all three children were removed
from the custody of the mother and father.
On February 17, 2017, criminal charges were filed against the
mother and the father. Combined, they were charged with
twenty-two counts of felony neglect of a dependent person and