Submitted On Briefs: January 17, 2019
Judgment affirmed. Harold J. Hainke, Esq., Hainke & Tash,
Whitefield, for appellant father Aaron B. Rowden, Esq.,
Waterville, 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
ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
Katie and Bradford W. appeal from a judgment of the District
Court (Skowhegan, Nale, J.) terminating their
parental rights to their children pursuant to 22 M.R.S.
§§4050-4056 (2017). The father advances no
arguments on appeal, and the mother argues that the District
Court erred in taking judicial notice of prior proceedings.
We conclude that the court independently assessed all facts
presented and that its determination that termination of
parental rights was established by clear and convincing
evidence is supported by the record. We therefore affirm.
Following a four-day termination hearing that concluded on
May 11, 2018, the court issued a judgment dated June 13,
2018, in which it found by clear and convincing evidence that
the mother and father were unable to take responsibility for
their children within a time reasonably calculated to meet
their children's needs and that it was in the best
interests of the children that parental rights be terminated.
See 22 M.R.S. § 4055(1)(B)(2)(a), (b)(ii). At
the hearing, the Department requested that all guardian ad
litem reports be admitted in evidence and that the court take
judicial notice of all prior court orders in the case.
Counsel for both the mother and the father stated that they
had no objection. The court accordingly took judicial notice
of its prior orders, the findings and conclusions of law in
those orders, see In re Scott S., 2001 ME 114, U 13,
775 A.2d 1144, and the reports of the guardian ad litem,
see In re Children of Melissa ¶., 2018
ME 110, ¶ 2, 191 A.3d 348.
The District Court included in its findings detailed
descriptions of the children's medical and dental
conditions, which were both numerous significant, and of each
child's serious behavioral challenges. The court's
finding of parental unfitness and its determination of the
children's best interests were based upon the following
findings of fact:
[A]t trial the mother and father did not believe that they
played any role in the Department removing the children from
. . . [T]he father accepts very little responsibility for his
children being in State custody.... [T]he father is unaware
of any diagnoses of his son
During the term of the Department's involvement in this
matter, the father did very little, if anything at all, to
learn of the many needs of his children. The father was
provided all the medicalprovider reports of his children. He
failed to read any of them.... [T]he mother and father have
very little insight as to the many needs of their children.
Their lack of insight is their own doing.
all of the assistance the Department has offered, the
parents, very late in the process, have only recently [begun]
counseling with qualified mental health counselors and have
not yet come to fully understand or accept how their behavior
has so badly impacted their children[T]here is no time-line
as to when the parents will have their own issues ...