Submitted On Briefs: February 20, 2019
E. Meggison, Esq., Belfast, for appellant mother
T. Mills, Esq., 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.
Amanda H. appeals from a judgment of the District Court
(Bangor, Jordan, /.) terminating her parental rights
to her child. 22 M.R.S. §4055(1)(B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii)
(2018). She argues that the court erred in
concluding that she is unfit to parent and that it is in the
best interest of the child to terminate her parental rights.
We affirm the judgment.
On April 26, 2017, when the child was three days old, the
Department of Health and Human Services filed a child
protection petition and a request for a preliminary
protection order. See 22 M.R.S. § 4032 (2018).
The petition alleged that the mother, who has an extensive
history with the Department with her other children, failed
to address her untreated mental health issues, was unable to
identify and continued to associate with unsafe persons, and
maintained an unsanitary home that was hazardous to children.
The court [Lucy, J.) entered an order transferring
custody of the child to the Department on the same day.
On September 28, 2017, the court (Jordan, J.) held a
jeopardy hearing and, thereafter, issued an order finding
jeopardy based, in part, on the mother's past behavior
and her untreated mental health issues. See 22
M.R.S. § 4035(1)-(2) (2018). The Department then
petitioned for termination of the mother's parental
rights on December 27, 2017. See 22 M.R.S. §
4052 (2018). The court held a two-day hearing on the petition
and, on September 19, 2018, found by clear and convincing
evidence that the mother is unwilling or unable to protect
the child from jeopardy or take responsibility for the child
within a time which is reasonably calculated to meet the
child's needs and that termination of the mother's
parental rights is in the best interest of the child.
See 22 M.R.S. § 4055(1)(B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii).
The court based its decision on the following factual
findings, all of which are supported by competent evidence in
[The mother] does not take responsibility for her conduct.
She repeatedly blames others for her situation. She also does
not seem to recognize unsafe individuals ... which is
supported by the numerous protection from abuse and
protection from harassment complaints she has filed against
[The mother] has never acknowledged being an unsafe parent.
[U]ntil recently, [the mother's] life was chaotic. Her
involvement with unsafe people and her extremely filthy
housing continued. . . . [T]he combination of [the
mother's] untreated mental health problems and low
intellectual functioning have rendered her unable to correct
the jeopardy regarding her child [T]he evidence is clear and
convincing that those same circumstances are what lead to the
[The mother] has apparently made some progress regarding her
living conditions and has been receiving mental health
treatment. However, the Court finds by clear and convincing
evidence that her progress is too little and comes too late
for the Court to allow more time to pass before [the child]