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In re Children of Travis G.

Supreme Court of Maine

February 5, 2019

IN RE CHILDREN OF TRAVIS G.

          Submitted On Briefs: January 17, 2019

          Mary Kellett Gray, Esq., Brooklin, for appellant mother.

          William B. Blaisdell, IV, Esq., Blaisdell & Blaisdell, Ellsworth, for appellant father.

          Janet T. Mills, Attorney General, and Hunter Umphrey, Asst. Atty. Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee Department of Health and Human Services.

          Panel: ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

          PER CURIAM.

         [¶1] Travis G. and Kathleen T. appeal from an order entered by the District Court (Ellsworth, Roberts, J.) finding that their minor children are in jeopardy pursuant to 22 M.R.S. § 4035 (2017). The mother and father challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the court's findings, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the children are in jeopardy. We affirm the judgment.[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         [¶2] The Department of Health and Human Services filed a child protection petition against the mother and father as to their three minor children in February 2018, alleging that the mother and father chronically neglected the children's medical and developmental needs, failed to provide safe and sanitary housing, and failed to adequately supervise the children. After a three-day testimonial hearing, by order dated July 31, 2018, the court found by a preponderance of the evidence that the children were in circumstances of jeopardy to their health and welfare. See 22 M.R.S. § 4035.

         [¶3] The court based its findings of jeopardy on the following factual findings, which are supported by competent record evidence.[2] See id. § 4035(2). With regard to the mother, the court found:

Mother: [Infant child] has gross motor delays. She was in the 1st percentile for weight when she entered State custody. [Middle child's] vaccinations were delayed. [Middle child and oldest child] had elevated Ages and Stages evaluation scores indicating significant developmental delays. [Mother] lacks the ability to care for 3 children on her own at this time. She needs to learn [to] develop better parenting skills and demonstrate an attachment to her children. Their current residence, with Father's parents [, ] is not suitable for children of their ages due to unsanitary conditions. [Mother's] level of commitment to her relationship with [father] is questionable and may impact her attachment to their children.

         With regard to the father, the court found:

Father . . . lacks the ability to provide significant assistance to [paternal grandmother]. He does not have the ability to care for the children on his own as he is working and attempting to establish a safe home for the family. [Father's] level of commitment to [mother] is questionable as well. He cannot provide the children the assistance that they need at this time to overcome their developmental delays.

         [¶4] The mother and father timely appeal the court's findings of jeopardy. See 22 M.R.S. ยง ...


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