Submitted On Briefs: April 27, 2017
M. Frey, Esq., Bangor, for appellant father.
Christopher D. Smith, Esq., Law Office of Christopher D.
Smith, Esq., Dexter, for appellant mother.
T. Mills, Attorney General, and Meghan Szylvian, Asst. Atty.
Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee
Department of Health and Human Services.
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and
The parents of Jesse B. appeal from a judgment of the
District Court (Bangor, Jordan, J.) terminating
their parental rights to Jesse pursuant to 22 M.R.S.
§4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2) (2016). Both parents
challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support the
courts findings of parental unfitness, and the mother also
challenges the courts discretionary determination of the
childs best interest. We affirm the judgment.
Contrary to the parents contentions, there is competent
evidence in the record to support the courts findings, by
clear and convincing evidence, that the parents are unwilling
or unable to protect the child from jeopardy or take
responsibility for the child within a time reasonably
calculated to meet the childs needs. See 22 M.R.S.
§ 4055(1)(B)(2)(b)(i)-(ii); In re Logan M.,
2017 ME 23, ¶¶ 2-3, 155 A.3d 430. That evidence,
described in the courts thorough decision, included the
The child, who was nearly three years old at the time of the
termination hearing, suffers from chronic, severe medical
conditions causing a number of developmental delays. His
conditions include a missing corpus callosum-a band of nerve
fibers that would normally connect the two halves of his
brain-which diminishes some of his intellectual functions; an
underdevelopment of the optic nerve that makes it difficult
for him to learn language and may prevent him from reading;
spastic quadriparesis, a type of cerebral palsy affecting
both sides of his body, which results in muscle rigidity and
impaired mobility; and an atrial septal defect, which is a
hole between the upper two chambers of his heart. He is also
being monitored for hormonal and urological issues.
Because of his conditions, the child requires regular
treatment and monitoring by a team of more than ten
educational specialists and medical providers. The child also
requires an unusually high degree of competence and
engagement by his caretakers, who must provide in-home
treatment and accurately inform the childs specialists and
providers about his progress. The failure to ensure that the
child attends close to 100 percent of his appointments would
pose a serious risk that the child would regress and suffer
additional medical issues, as demonstrated by the following:
• The childs developmental pediatrician testified that
if the child does not receive consistent physical therapy his
joints may become "frozen" in place, negatively
affecting his mobility-a condition that could only be
corrected with surgery, if at all; and that if the child does
not "get regular care" his doctors "may miss
some medical complications that could certainly impair [his]
quality of life" and that his development "would at
best plateau" and may decline.
• The childs speech therapist testified that if the
child does not consistently attend appointments there would
be "safety concerns" because the child might be
unable to comprehend verbal warnings about dangerous
• The childs neurologist testified that the failure to
follow through with the childs speech therapy could cause him
to become frustrated and aggressive due to challenges with
communication, and that the frustration could become so
severe that he ...