Submitted On Briefs: September 27, 2017
M. Paakkonen, Esq., Portland Legal LLC, Portland, for
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, and
The mother of Noah B. appeals from a judgment of the District
Court (Portland, Eggert, J.) terminating her
parental rights to Noah pursuant to 22 M.R.S.
§4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii)
(2016). She challenges the sufficiency of
the evidence to support the judgment and the courts
discretionary determination of the childs best interest.
Because the evidence supports the courts findings and
discretionary determination, we affirm the judgment.
Based on competent evidence in the record, the court found,
by clear and convincing evidence, that the mother is
unwilling or unable to protect the child from jeopardy and
these circumstances are unlikely to change within a time that
is reasonably calculated to meet his needs and that she is
unwilling or unable to take responsibility for the child
within a time reasonably calculated to meet his needs.
See 22 M.R.S. § 4055(1)(B)(2)(b)(i)-(ii);
In re Cameron B., 2017 ME 18, ¶ 10, 154 A.3d
1199. The court also found that termination of the mothers
parental rights is in the childs best interest. See
22 M.R.S. § 4055 (1)(B)(2)(a); In re Cameron
B., 2017 ME 18, ¶ 10, 154 A.3d 1199. The court
based its findings of parental unfitness and its
determination of the childs best interest on the following
findings of fact:
[The mother] has previously had her parental rights to four
In this case, on February 3, 2016, [the child] was ... found
to have petechial bruising on the right side of his face....
When asked about the injuries, [the mother] first blamed the
father for inflicting them. Once confronted with evidence
that the father was not available to inflict the injuries at
the time they were inflicted, she admitted that she had been
the one who inflicted them. As a result of the injuries, a
Preliminary Protection Order was entered, and subsequently a
Jeopardy Order was entered. A Rehabilitation and
Reunification plan was put in place, and [the mother] began
to make good progress with that plan. Because of the progress
[the mother] was allowed weekly unsupervised visits with [the
child] .... After the third such visit [the child] returned
to his foster home with bruises on his arm....
Again [the mother] was asked about the bruises and denied
that she had inflicted them. . . . [The child] was in her
care at a time when the injuries were most likely to have
occurred. [The child] told his foster mother that his mother
had done it... . The Court finds that [the mother] again
struck [the child] even when she was progressing on her
rehabilitation and reunification plan.
... This is the second time that [the child] has been removed
from [the mothers] care and placed with foster parents. He
should not have to go through this process again and needs to
have permanency at this time.
... He is well bonded to the members of his foster family and
needs to move on in that safe and stable family setting....
The court further found that the childs "physical
conditions" and "cognitive challenges" make
him incapable of "protecting himself from harm."
The court found that the mothers "personality disorder
with narcissistic and borderline traits and a history of
antisocial features, " characterized by
"rigid" thinking, "low tolerance for stress,
" and a "lower ability to adapt to and react to
novel situations, " is "difficult to treat and may
require extensive time to allow treatment to be
effective." Due to the mothers condition, history of
abuse, and the childs high needs, the court found that it
could not "allow placement with [the mother], or even to
move again to unsupervised visits given the risk that [the
child] would again have an injury inflicted upon him."
The court stated that it "does not know when [the
mother] might ... be considered a safe placement" and
"there is no guarantee that. . . therapy will remediate
[the mothers] problem, and it may take a long time, measured
in years, to find out if [therapy] has worked." Noting
that "[t]ime is measured from [the childs] perspective,
" the court found that the mother-despite her effort and