IN RE DOMINIC B. et al.
Submitted On Briefs: June 29, 2017
Richard Charest, Esq., Lewiston, 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 mother of Dominic B. and Channing T. appeals from a
judgment of the District Court (Lewiston, Dow, J.)
terminating her parental rights to her
children. See 22 M.R.S. § 4055(1)(A),
The mother does not challenge the court's findings that
she is unfit to parent the children because (1) she has
abandoned them, (2) she is unwilling and unable to protect
them from jeopardy and these circumstances are unlikely to
change within a time reasonably calculated to meet their
needs, and (3) she has failed to make a good faith effort to
rehabilitate and reunify with them. See 22 M.R.S.
§ 4055(1)(B)(2)(b)(i), (iii), (iv). She contends only
that the court committed clear error or abused its discretion
when it determined that termination of her parental rights is
in the children's best interests. See 22 M.R.S.
The mother's primary concern is that the children's
current placement, with their maternal grandparents, is
unsafe, and she contends that permanent placement there would
not be in the children's best interests. The court's
best interests determination in connection with the
termination of the mother's parental rights, however, was
not a determination of who will adopt the children or that
any particular placement is in their best interests. See
In re Kenneth S, 2017 ME 45, ¶¶ 6, 8, 157 A.3d
244. It was a determination that terminating the
mother's parental rights is in the children's
best interests. Id.
In support of that determination, the court made the
following findings of fact:
[The mother] has inexcusably failed, for a period of more
than six months, to communicate meaningfully or maintain
regular visitation with either Channing or Dominic. She has
also failed to participate in a plan or program of
. . . [The mother] missed every drug screen arranged by DHHS,
roughly 15-20 drug screens, offering the excuses of
transportation problems or work conflicts.
[The mother] has repeatedly exposed the children to domestic
violence in her relationships with men, and she has
undertaken no services aimed at improving her insight or
building her skills for preventing that in the future.
. . . [F]or much of the period of reunification, [the mother]
chose an abusive boyfriend ... over the children.
. . . [The mother] testified that her lack of contact with
the children was the fault of DHHS and her mother and