Submitted On Briefs: April 10, 2018
Heather Gonzales, Esq., Strike, Gonzales & Butler Bailey,
Portland, for appellant mother.
Richard Charest, Esq., Lewiston, for appellant father.
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 and father appeal from a judgment of the District
Court (Lewiston, Dow, J.) terminating their parental
rights to their daughter pursuant to 22 M.R.S. §
4O55(1)(A)(1)(a), and (B)(2)(a), (b)(T), (ii), and (iv)
(2017). Both parents challenge the sufficiency of the
evidence supporting the court's findings of unfitness. In
addition, the father challenges the court's determination
that termination of his parental rights is in the child's
best interest. The evidence supports the court's findings
and discretionary determinations, and we affirm the judgment.
Based on competent evidence in the record, the court found,
by clear and convincing evidence, that both parents are
unwilling or unable to protect the child from jeopardy or
take responsibility for her in a time reasonably calculated
to meet her needs, that both parents had failed to make a
good faith effort to rehabilitate and reunify with the child,
and that termination of both parents' parental rights is
in the child's best interest. See id.; In re Haylie
W., 2017 ME 157, ¶ 2, 167 A.3d 576. The court based
its conclusion on the following findings of fact:
[T]he Department has made reasonable efforts to rehabilitate
and reunify the family, and has made reasonable efforts to
identify and pursue an alternative permanency plan. Those
efforts include: safety assessment; rehabilitation and
reunification planning; family team meetings; supervised
visitation for the parents; kinship placement foster care;
transportation assistance; referrals for the parents to case
management, individual counseling, medication management, and
parenting education; parental assessment for the mother, and
DHHS social work services.
[The mother] has not consistently participated in medication
management or mental health counseling. These services would
have been very important for reunification
[The mother's] visits with the child do not go very well.
She was regularly prompted to engage with the child, but she
remained quite withdrawn
[The mother] is the victim of significant violence and
intimidation by [the father].... They remain together as a
couple, living together in a two-bedroom apartment[The
mother] has chosen [the father] over [the child]. In the four
months prior to the TPR trial, she had declined to visit with
[the child] because [the father's] visits had been
The father failed to participate in the [Court Ordered
Diagnostic Evaluation], which would have been helpful to the
Court in assessing his mental health, cognitive functioning,
and parental capability. However, the TPR trial itself
provided the Court some insight into the father's
behavior .... The father is nearly unmanageable in a
courtroom. Despite warnings from the Court and attentive,
professional coddling by his attorney, the father ...