Submitted On Briefs: July 19, 2017
Matthew A. Hunter, Esq., Caribou, for appellant Father
McNally, Esq., Woodman Edmands Danylik Austin Smith &
Jacques, P.A., Biddeford, for appellant Mother
T. Mills, Attorney General, and Hunter C. Umphrey, 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, and HJELM,
The parents of Bradyn B. appeal from a judgment entered by
the District Court (Presque Isle, O'Mara, J.)
terminating their parental rights to Bradyn 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 that they are unfit, and the father also
challenges the courts discretionary determination that
termination is in Bradyns best interest. Because the
evidence supports the courts findings and discretionary
determination, we affirm the judgment.
[¶2] After a two-day termination hearing, the court
found, by clear and convincing evidence, that the parents
were unwilling or unable to protect the child from jeopardy
or take responsibility for the child within a time reasonably
calculated to meet his needs, that they had failed to make a
good faith effort to rehabilitate and reunify with the child,
and that termination of their parental rights was in the
childs best interest. See 22 M.R.S.
§4055(1)(B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii) & (iv); In re
Robert S, 2009 ME 18, ¶ 15, 966 A.2d 894. The
judgment terminating the parental rights of the mother and
father includes the following findings of fact, all of which
are supported by the evidence. See In re Gabriel W.,
2017 ME 133, ¶¶ 2-3, ___ A.3d ___.
The father assaulted four women-including the childs mother
and his own mother, i.e., the childs paternal
grandmother-either before this action was commenced, while it
was pending, or both; he only "superficial [ly]"
engaged in a batterers intervention program and was unable to
complete the program because he was arrested one month before
the termination hearing and remained in custody at the time
of the hearing; because he was incarcerated, he was also
unable to continue participating in other reunification
services, including substance abuse counseling and visits
with the child; several months before his most recent arrest,
and nearly one year after the child had been removed from his
care, he had pleaded guilty to a Class C drug furnishing
charge and was subject to a deferred disposition,
see 17-AM.R.S. §§1348 to 1348-C
(2015); he continued to abuse "multiple
substances" while this matter was pending even though
jeopardy was based in part on his "polysubstance
abuse"; he was not "open and honest" with his
providers; he has made statements, which the court
discredited, that he does not understand what the Department
and providers expect of him; and he feels he is "the
victim" in this proceeding.
The mother "has a lengthy history of substance abuse,
both before and during this proceeding"; "admits
using drugs until February 2016 and alcohol to excess until
after an altercation with her sister" in the summer of
2016, which was several months before the termination
hearing, even though-as with the father-jeopardy was based in
part on her "polysubstance abuse"; and she
"continues to maintain a relationship with [a person]
... who she should well know should not be in [the childs]
life, and who may well be a threat to her sobriety, "
and for whom she had, in fact, recently provided
transportation when he was released from prison.
Finally, the child, who was nearly five years old when the
termination hearing was held, had been in foster care for
approximately a quarter of his life, and his need for
"permanency, stability, certainty, and competent
parenting ... in a safe and loving home" was being
fulfilled at his current placement where he was "settled
These findings are sufficient to support the courts
determinations that the parents have not ameliorated
"the serious issues of substance abuse, healthy
relationships, and violence" that resulted in the
removal of the child from their care; and that "[o]ver
the 15 or so months [that] this case [was pending], neither
parent... demonstrated the skills, ability, or ... the desire
to put [the childs] ... needs  and his safety first."
Accordingly, the court did not err or abuse its discretion in
determining that the parents are unfit and that termination
of their parental rights is in the childs best interest.
See In re Cameron B., 2017 ME 18, ¶¶
10-11, 154 A.3d 1199; In re Hannah S., 2016 ME 32,
¶ 9, 133 A.3d 590; In re Thomas H., 2005 ME
123, ¶¶ 16-17, 30, 889 A.2d 297.