Submitted On Briefs: January 11, 2018
Kristina Dougherty, Esq., Wise Old Law, 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
ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
The mother of Corey T. appeals from a judgment entered by the
District Court (Portland, Eggert, J.) finding
jeopardy as to the mother pursuant to 22 M.R.S. § 4035
(2017). She contends that the evidence was
insufficient to support the trial court's finding of
jeopardy. Because the record evidence supports the
court's finding and determination of jeopardy, we affirm
The Department of Health and Human Services initiated a child
protection proceeding, and the court [Dobson, J.)
entered a preliminary protection order and placed the child
in Department custody on April 22, 2017, the day the child
was born. After a contested hearing, by order dated September
14, 2017, the court [Eggert, J.) found jeopardy to
the child's health and welfare. The court based its
jeopardy determination on the following findings of fact:
The mother ... has been diagnosed with Schizoaffective
Disorder, and she has been working with [a service provider]
for at least the past year. Based on the testimony, it is
clear that the mother struggles with daily functioning and
social interactions due to her mental health diagnosis.
According to her psychiatric nurse practitioner, the mother
is only able to manage her own activities of daily living and
there are no signs that she can do much more than that,
preventing her from being able to appropriately care for an
[The mother] has been living at [a women's homeless
shelter] for the past seven years, but cannot live there with
a child. She may soon be getting more permanent housing at a
[supported housing] group home, which would provide her with
24-hour support and would be good for her. The group home is
only for adults. There is no way to determine how long she
would be a resident there, but estimates of six months to two
years are too long to wait for permanency for this infant.
Based on these findings, the court determined, by a
preponderance of the evidence, that the child was in
circumstances of "jeopardy to his health and welfare in
the absence of a Jeopardy Order." See 22 M.R.S.
§ 4035(2). The mother timely appealed. See 22
M.R.S. § 4006; M.R. App. P. 2B(c)(1).
Contrary to the mother's contentions, the court's
findings are supported by competent evidence in the record
that can rationally be understood to establish as more likely
than not that the child was in circumstances of jeopardy to
his health and welfare. See 22 M.R.S. § 4035(2);
In re Nicholas S., 2016 ME 82, ¶¶ 9, 13,
140 A.3d 1226.