On Briefs January 28, 2016.
M. Corbett, Esq., Law Office of Dawn M. Corbett, PA,
Ellsworth, for appellant father.
T. Mills, Attorney General, and Meghan Szylvian, Asst. Atty.
Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee
Department of Health and Human Services.
ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
[¶1] The father of Daphne appeals from
a judgment of the District Court (Ellsworth, Mallonee,
J. ) terminating his parental rights pursuant to 22
M.R.S. § 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2) (2015). The father
argues that the court impermissibly based its decision
terminating his parental rights on his incarceration.
Additionally, the father argues that the Department of Health
and Human Services failed to make a meaningful effort at
reunifying the father with the child.
[¶2] Because the court properly considered
the length of the father's unavailability due to
incarceration in determining whether he is able to take
responsibility for the child within a time reasonably
calculated to meet the child's particular needs, and
because the court was not required to make a separate finding
regarding the extent of the Department's reunification
efforts, so long as it had an adequate basis for its finding
of parental unfitness, we affirm the judgment.
[¶3] The court found the following facts by
clear and convincing evidence, which are supported by
competent record evidence. See In re M.S.,
2014 ME 54, ¶ 13, 90 A.3d 443. The father is
incarcerated. His earliest possible date of release is in
October 2016, approximately fifteen months after the
court's July 2015 hearing. Addressing the father's
incarceration, the court found: " In prison, [the
father] has taken classes and participated in services to
overcome his own problems--in particular his substance
abuse--and to develop skill and insight as a parent."
The father " presented himself in court as thoughtful
and realistic. He loves his daughter, wants what is best for
her, and is willing to work to provide it."
[¶4] The child's play therapist opined
that the child's play therapy indicates that she "
has suffered some form of trauma in her life,"
and she " has a particular, immediate need for stability
and permanency." The therapist further recommended that
" to maintain her in long-term foster care would be
harmful to her." The child is in a pre-adoptive foster
placement, with foster parents who " are able to provide
for all of [the child]'s needs, particularly those
implicated by events in [the child]'s play therapy
[¶5] The father's brief on appeal argues
that " [p]rior to the Department's involvement"
he was " a typical devoted, full-time parent raising his
child in a loving home." The Department's
involvement in the child's life began in July 2013. At
that time, the child, then a little over a year old, was
hospitalized after she ingested a strip of
Suboxone while in her father's care. The
father was prescribed Suboxone at the time. Neither of the
child's parents could provide any explanation for how
their child could have accessed or been given the
[¶6] Shortly after the child ingested the
Suboxone, the father was removed from the home pursuant to a
Department safety plan. About two months later, the father
was arrested for drug trafficking and operating after license
revocation. He remained incarcerated throughout the
[¶7] We review the court's factual
findings for clear error, evaluated pursuant to the clear and
convincing evidence standard of proof. In ...