Submitted On Briefs: May 30, 2019
A. McNamara, Esq., Drake Law, LLC, Berwick, for appellant
M. Frey, Attorney General, and Hunter C. Umphrey, Asst. Atty.
Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee
Department of Health and Human Services.
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and
Shannon S. appeals from a judgment of the District Court
(Lewiston, Ham-Thompson, J.) terminating her
parental rights to her child. 22 M.R.S.
§4055(1)(B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii) (2018). The mother
challenges the court's determination that termination of
her parental rights is in the best interest of her child. We
affirm the judgment.
On November 9, 2015, the Department of Health and Human
Services filed a child protection petition. See 22
M.R.S. § 4032 (2018). The petition alleged that the
mother struggled with substance abuse and exposed the child
to domestic violence between the parents in the
home. On February 5, 2016, the court [Dow,
J.) entered a jeopardy order, with the parents'
agreement, see 22 M.R.S. §4035(1)-(2) (2018);
however, custody remained with the mother until May 22, 2017,
when the court (Oram, J.) granted the Department
custody of the child after the mother was charged with two
counts of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs. The child
was placed with a relative.
The Department petitioned for termination of the mother's
parental rights on May 18, 2018. See 22 M.R.S.
§4052 (2018). The court [Ham-Thompson, J.) held
a three-day hearing on the petition and, on November 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 that is
reasonably calculated to meet the child's needs, and that
termination of the mother's rights is in the best
interest of the child. See 22 M.R.S. §
The court based its decision on the following factual
findings, all of which are supported by competent evidence in
[The mother] has a significant history of substance abuse. By
her own admissions, she has had multiple relapses during the
pendency of this case. [The mother] has participated in two
residential treatment programs, multiple [Intensive
Outpatient Programs], and individual counseling. Despite
these services, [the mother] has and continues to actively
abuse substances. [The mother] also has significant mental
health issues and has been inconsistent in attending mental
health treatment. During her testimony, [the mother]
indicated that she did not see a correlation between her
mental health issues and the impact on her child.
... [The mother] has failed to do the things required in
order to eliminate jeopardy. She has failed to refrain from
using illicit substances, failed to adequately address her
substance abuse history, failed to address her mental health
issues, failed to provide a safe and stable home environment
for her [child], and failed to demonstrate that she can be an
emotionally stable parent to her [child].
court found further that the mother's "substance
abuse has resulted in her having a fairly extensive criminal
history from 2004 to present" including "multiple
OUIs, thefts by unauthorized taking, illegal possessions of