Submitted On Briefs: June 26, 2019
P. Sullivan, Esq., Sullivan Law, P.C., Gardiner, for
M. Frey, 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, HJELM, and
Scott L. appeals from a judgment of the District Court
(Waterville, Montgomery, J.) terminating his
parental rights to his child pursuant to 22M.R.S.
§4055(1)(B)(2)(a), (b)(ii) (2018). He challenges the
court's determination that termination of his parental
rights is in the child's best interest. See id.
§ 4055(1)(B)(2)(a). We affirm the judgment.
The following facts are drawn from the court's findings,
which are supported by competent record evidence, and from
the procedural record. See In re Children of Corey
W., 2019 ME 4, ¶ 2, 199 A.3d 683.
In March of 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services
filed a petition for a child protection order and preliminary
protection order, requesting that the court place the
child-who was three years old at the time-in the temporary
custody of the Department. See 22 M.R.S.
§§4032, 4034(1) (2018). The petition alleged that
the child was in jeopardy due, in part, to the father's
lengthy criminal history as well as his current
unavailability to parent the child because he was
incarcerated. The court [Stanfill, J.) issued a
preliminary protection order and ordered that the child be
placed in departmental custody.
In April of 2017, the court entered an agreed-upon jeopardy
order as to the father based on the father's ongoing
incarceration, his never having been the child's primary
caregiver, and the issuance of an order for protection from
abuse against the father in an action filed by the mother
after he threatened to kidnap the child. See 22
M.R.S. § 4035 (2018).
The Department arranged a trial placement of the child in the
father's home from February to May of 2018, but that
placement ended unsuccessfully for the reasons described
below, and the child was returned to foster care, where she
has since remained.
During the summer of 2018, the Department petitioned to
terminate the father's parental rights. See 22
M.R.S. §4052 (2018). The following November, the court
[Montgomery, /.) held a hearing on the petition. The
witnesses included several of the child's therapists and
support workers, departmental caseworkers, the child's
foster mother, the father and his therapist, and the guardian
ad litem. The court subsequently entered a judgment
terminating the father's parental rights supported by its
determination, based on clear and convincing evidence, that
the father had been unwilling or unable to take
responsibility for the child and would be unlikely to do so
within a time reasonably calculated to meet the child's
needs. See 22 M.R.S. § 4055(1)(B)(2)(b)(ii).
The court also determined that termination of the
father's parental rights is in the child's best
interest. See id. §4055(1)(B)(2)(a).
The court made the following factual findings, all of which
are supported by competent record evidence. See In re
Child of Jonathan D., 2019 ME14, ¶5, 200A, 3d799.
At the time of the jeopardy hearing, [the father] was
incarcerated for Aggravated Furnishing of Scheduled Drugs. He
was sentenced to two years, all but six months suspended.
[The father] has an extensive criminal history, which
includes multiple theft and ...