In re Children of Troy P., 123019 MESC, Cum-19-295

Docket Nº:Cum-19-295
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Party Name:IN RE CHILDREN OF TROY P.
Attorney:Vicki Mathews, Esq., Scarborough, for appellant Father Deborah Munson Feagans, Esq., Gorham, for appellant Mother Aaron M. Frey, Attorney General, and Meghan Szylvian, Asst. Atty. Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee Department of Health and Human Services
Judge Panel:Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
Case Date:December 30, 2019
Court:Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
 
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2019 ME 177

IN RE CHILDREN OF TROY P.

No. Cum-19-295

Supreme Court of Maine

December 30, 2019

Submitted On Briefs: December 17, 2019

Vicki Mathews, Esq., Scarborough, for appellant Father

Deborah Munson Feagans, Esq., Gorham, for appellant Mother

Aaron M. Frey, Attorney General, and Meghan Szylvian, Asst. Atty. Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee Department of Health and Human Services

Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

PER CURIAM

[¶1] Troy P., the father, and Paige D., the mother, appeal from a judgment of the District Court (Portland, Eggert, J.) terminating their parental rights to their three children.1 Both parents contend that the evidence is insufficient to support the court's findings of parental unfitness. The mother also challenges the finding that she failed to make a good faith effort to rehabilitate and reunify with the children. The father also challenges, among other things, the court's determination that the termination of his parental rights was in the best interests of the children. We affirm the judgment.

[¶2] In its judgment terminating the mother's and father's parental rights, the court made the following findings of fact: Following the previous Child Protection proceeding being dismissed with the custody of the children being returned from the Department to [the] Mother, a Parental Rights and Responsibilities Order was put in place which required that Father have no unsupervised contact with the children. Mother and the children moved to Portland from a shelter in Ellsworth with the assistance of Father and initially stayed in a motel with Father. Upon running out of money and help from a friend, they all had to rely for a short time upon staying with friends, then they ended up homeless and on the streets of Portland. On May 23, 2018 the parents called DHHS to report that they would be sleeping on the streets that night and had no place to go ... . Right away the Department filed for a Preliminary Protection Order which was granted. The children were placed in foster care within a week with the foster parents where they are still residing.

On June 4, 2018 the parents waived their right to a Summary Preliminary Hearing and the Preliminary Order remained in effect pending the Case Management conference on July 2, 2018 at which time the case was continued to September 4, 2018 for Trial Management Conference. On that date the parents agreed to the entry of a Jeopardy Order. The Court found that "Jeopardy as to each parent is based upon the following factors: the parents have prior child protective history regarding these children. [The two older children] were previously in custody and the cases were dismissed in 2017, upon entry of [a] Parental Rights and Responsibilities Order, with a provision for supervised contact for the father. More recently, the mother and father moved with the children to the Portland area, without a place to live. The parents were unable to make a plan to keep the children safe. The father has a number of serious mental health issues . . . which put the children at risk of harm." After the entry of the Jeopardy Order Rehabilitation and Reunification plans were developed for both parents.

Father was known to have serious mental health issues and he was required to complete a mental health evaluation, follow all recommendations, and consistently engage in mental health treatment. He was to arrange for safe and stable housing for the children. He was also required to attend regular visitation with the children. [The] father has failed to meet any of these requirements.

Early in the case he had at least one visit with the children, but then indicated he was done with the Department including any visitation. In March 2019 he changed his mind on that and had one visit after which [the two older children] severely acted out and visits were stopped as to them, and [the] father refused to visit with [the youngest child] alone. No visits have since occurred. Father is presently living with a friend in Bath in a situation which he agrees would not constitute safe and stable housing for the children. Father has not been consistently engaging in mental health treatment and taking medications which would treat his mental health issues. He indicated a refusal to do...

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