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Case No. 20-0081

In the Interest of J.H., Minor Child

State of Iowa, Appellant

A.H., Grandfather-Intervenor-Appellant

Attorney for State

Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General

Attorney for Appellant Intervenor

Linda A. Hall

Attorney for Appellees

Andrew C. Abbott

Guardian ad Litem

Melissa A. Anderson-Seeber

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
20-0081
Date Published:
Jun 03, 2020
Summary

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F. Staudt, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Greer, J.  Special Concurrence by Ahlers, J.  (25 pages)

            The State and the paternal grandfather separately appeal the juvenile court’s order removing the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) as the child’s guardian.  OPINION HOLDS: We conclude DHS acted unreasonably and not in the best interests of the child by failing to follow Iowa Administrative Code rule 441-200.4(3) in selecting an adoptive family and by overruling the adoption selection staffing’s choice of the foster parents as the adoptive family for this child.  We affirm the juvenile court order removing DHS as the child’s guardian.  SPECIAL CONCURRENCE ASSERTS: Although I concur in the outcome, I write separately for two reasons.  First, I disagree with the conclusion the DHS followed an improper procedure because I do not believe the regulation at issue gives binding decision-making authority to the persons selected to participate in the conference required by the regulation.  Second, I believe it is important to emphasize that the DHS’s failure to give proper preference to the child being placed with the child’s half-sibling is the key factor in deciding to remove the DHS as guardian.

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