Submitted On Briefs: September 10, 2019
Jeffrey S. Dolley, Esq., Lewiston, for appellant mother
Richard Charest, Esq., Lewiston, for appellant father
M. Frey, Attorney General, and Zack Paakkonen, Asst. Atty.
Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee
Department of Health and Human Services
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM,
Kimberly K. appeals from a judgment of the District Court
(Lewiston, Martin, J.) terminating her parental
rights to her child, as does the child's father. The
father challenges the sufficiency of the evidence with
respect to the court's determination that he is unfit
within the meaning of 22 M.R.S. §4055(1)(B)(2)(b)(i),
(ii), (iv) (2018), and both parents contend that the court
erred by determining that the termination of their parental
rights is in the child's best interest, see 22
M.R.S. § 4055(1)(B)(2)(a) (2018). We affirm the
The following facts, which are supported by the evidence, are
drawn from the court's judgment and the procedural
record. See In re Children of Nicole M., 2018 ME 75,
¶ 2, 187 A.3d 1. On December 7, 2016, the Department of
Health and Human Services filed a petition for a child
protection order as to both parents, alleging that the mother
had an untreated substance use disorder, was homeless, and
was leaving the child alone for long periods of time with
people who are not well-known to the child and are not
considered by the Department to be safe caregivers.
See 22 M.R.S. § 4032 (2018). The petition
further alleged that the father was unable to care for the
child because he was incarcerated.
On April 11, 2017, the court entered an agreed-to jeopardy
order, granting custody to the Department and maintaining the
child's placement with his paternal grandmother.
See 22 M.R.S. §4035 (2018). The court entered
agreed-to judicial review and permanency planning orders on
August 17, 2017 [Beliveau, J.); January 11, 2018
[Dow, J.); April 12, 2018 [Beliveau, J.);
August 16, 2018 [Ham-Thompson, J.); and December 13,
2018 [Dow, /.), maintaining custody of the child
with the Department.
Meanwhile, in October 2018, the Department filed a petition
for the termination of both parents' rights to their
child. See 22 M.R.S. § 4052 (2018). Following a
hearing held on the petition, see 22 M.R.S. §
4054 (2018), the court entered a judgment granting the
petition to terminate the parents' rights. The court
based its decision on the following findings of fact, all of
which are supported by competent evidence in the record.
See In re Child of Domenick B., 2018 ME 158, ¶
5, 197 A.3d 1076.
[The mother's] drug use is longstanding and significant.
Her drug[s] of choice [have] been cocaine and suboxone. She
has lived with her ex-boyfriend's mother for the last
year. Her drug abuse has landed her in jail on several
occasions and she is now facing her third probation
violation, which could result in a maximum 18-month jail
The Jeopardy Order dated April 7, 2017, required [the mother]
to participate actively and consistently in substance abuse
treatment with a mental health component; participate in a
follow-up interview with Family Treatment Drug Court (FTDC);
to not use or possess alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription
drugs except when used as prescribed by a qualified health
professional; subject to random drug and alcohol testing;
participate in a parenting education program; be involved in
[the child's] appointments; sign all necessary releases;
maintain safe and stable housing free from domestic violence,
drugs and alcohol; and refrain from any/all criminal
involvements and abide by the terms of probation conditions.
Over the last 24 months, [the mother] has failed to do any of
the above required conditions. During this case she had
promised to enroll in FTDC but failed to do so. FTDC case
manager and DHHS caseworkers have reached out to her many
times to enroll in FTDC; although she acknowledges her need,
she has failed to enroll. While she did complete an intensive
outpatient program (IOP) a few years ago, the evidence
presented reveals that she has never engaged in services
throughout this case and is currently not in any services.
Her visits with [the child] have been intermittent at best.
For that reason, the visits were canceled
[The mother] admits not being in a position to parent [the
child] at this time and suggests she would need additional
time to complete her sentence, obtain housing, get into the
FTDC and substance abuse counseling, attend another IOP and