IN THE INTEREST OF E.M., Minor Child, A.M., Mother, Appellant, I.M., Grandfather, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Daniel L.
Block, Associate Juvenile Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her
nine-year-old daughter; the girl's grandfather/custodian
appeals the denial of a guardianship.
G. Martin, Cedar Falls, for appellant mother.
A. Milder of Mark Milder Law Firm, Denver, for appellant
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ellen Ramsey-Kacena,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Banning, Waterloo, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and Schumacher, JJ.
concerned here with the future of nine-year-old E.M. Worries
about her troubling behaviors and tenuous health led to her
removal from home. She has been in family foster care since
May 2018. In October 2019, the juvenile court issued an order
terminating the rights of her mother, Azra. In that same
order, the court refused to create a guardianship with
E.M.'s grandfather, Izet.
Azra and Izet appeal that order, urging a deferral of
permanency for E.M. and guardianship over
termination. After independently reviewing the record,
we reach the same conclusion as the juvenile
court-termination of parental rights offered E.M. the best
chance at a healthy and nurturing childhood.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
spring of 2018, E.M.'s father-who lives in
Bosnia-discovered what he believed to be a compromising
photograph of his eight-year-old daughter posted on her
grandfather's Facebook page. The father contacted Izet.
The grandfather told investigators E.M. used his phone to
access the internet and post the photograph when he was not
paying attention. Izet testified "that was my big
that was not his only error, according to the Iowa Department
of Human Services (DHS). Even after the DHS admonished the
grandfather and mother to monitor E.M.'s access to the
internet, they failed to do so. The DHS discovered
pornography available to the child through the
month later, the juvenile court ordered E.M. removed from
Izet's care after she revealed that he touched "her
breasts and privates" while helping her shower. The DHS
also learned E.M. had been engaging in sexually inappropriate
behavior at school. E.M. told social workers she could not
live with her mother, Azra, because "her mother hits her
and her mother's boyfriend hits her mother." Azra
also had a history of substance abuse. In 2016, the DHS found
Azra and her paramour responsible for denying critical care
to E.M.'s sibling based on their ...