In re Interest of MM, CAAP-21-0000542

CourtCourt of Appeals of Hawai'i
Citation151 Hawai‘i 167,509 P.3d 1130 (Table)
Docket NumberCAAP-21-0000542
Parties In the INTEREST OF M CHILDREN: MM, CM1, JM, CM2, PM, UBBM (FC-S NO. 17-00216) In the Interest of CM3 (FC-S NO. 19-00222)
Decision Date25 May 2022

151 Hawai‘i 167
509 P.3d 1130 (Table)

In the INTEREST OF M CHILDREN: MM, CM1, JM, CM2, PM, UBBM

(FC-S NO. 17-00216)

In the Interest of CM3

(FC-S NO. 19-00222)

NO. CAAP-21-0000542

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai‘i.

May 25, 2022


On the briefs:

Rebecca S. Lester, for Mother-Appellant/Cross-Appellee.

Tae Chin Kim, for Father-Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

Maria F. Williams, Julio C. Herrera, Deputy Attorneys General, for Petitioner-Appellee/Cross-Appellee, Department of Human Services.

(By: Hiraoka, Presiding Judge, Wadsworth and McCullen, JJ.)

SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER

Mother-Appellant/Cross-Appellee (Mother ) appeals and Father-Appellee/Cross-Appellant (Father ) cross-appeals from the Family Court of the First Circuit's (Family Court ) October 1, 2021 Orders Terminating Parental Rights.1

Upon careful review of the record and the briefs submitted by Mother and Father (collectively Parents ) and having given due consideration to the arguments advanced and the issues raised, we resolve Parents' arguments as follows, and affirm.

The Family Court may grant a motion to terminate parental rights where the following occurs:

(a) At a termination of parental rights hearing, the court shall determine whether there exists clear and convincing evidence that:

(1) A child's parent whose rights are subject to termination is not presently willing and able to provide the parent's child with a safe family home, even with the assistance of a service plan;

(2) It is not reasonably foreseeable that the child's parent whose rights are subject to termination will become willing and able to provide the child with a safe family home, even with the assistance of a service plan, within a reasonable period of time, which shall not exceed two years from the child's date of entry into foster care;

(3) The proposed permanent plan is in the best interests of the child. In reaching this determination, the court shall:

(A) Presume that it is in the best interests of the child to be promptly and permanently placed with responsible and competent substitute parents and family in a safe and secure home; and

(B) Give greater weight to the presumption that the permanent plan is in the child's best interest, the younger the child is upon the child's date of entry into foster care; and

(4) The child consents to the permanent plan if the child is at least fourteen years old, unless the court consults with the child in camera and finds that it is in the best interest of the child to proceed without the child's consent.

Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS ) § 587A-33(a) (2018).

We review the Family Court's findings of fact (FOF ) for clear error and will vacate only when the record lacks substantial evidence to support the finding, or despite substantial evidence, we are left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made. In re Doe, 95 Hawai‘i 183, 190, 20 P.3d 616, 623 (2001). "Substantial evidence" is "credible evidence which is of sufficient quality and probative value to enable a person of reasonable caution to support a conclusion." Id. Unchallenged FOF are binding on appeal. In re Doe, 99 Hawai‘i 522, 538, 57 P.3d 447, 463 (2002). Likewise, we review conclusions of law (COL ) that present mixed questions of law and fact for clear error, which include determinations of whether a parent is willing and able to...

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