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In re Nathaniel B.
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MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT					Reporter of Decisions
Decision:	1998 ME   99
Docket:	Som-97-228
Submitted
 on Briefs:	January 8, 1998
Decided:	May 5, 1998

Panel:  WATHEN, C.J., and ROBERTS, CLIFFORD, RUDMAN, DANA, LIPEZ, and SAUFLEY, JJ.




In re NATHANIEL B. et al.


DANA, J.

	[¶1]  The parents of Nathaniel B. appeal from the judgment of the
District Court (Skowhegan, Cote, J.) terminating their parental rights.  The
mother also appeals from the termination of her parental rights to her child
Joseph G.  They assert that the court erred by applying an inappropriate
time period when determining parental unfitness, and that there was
insufficient evidence to support the court's findings of parental unfitness. 
We disagree and affirm the court's judgment.
	[¶2]  The court may order termination if it finds, by clear and
convincing evidence, that termination is in the best interests of the child
and, either:
(i)The parent is unwilling or unable to protect the child from
jeopardy and these circumstances are unlikely to change
within a time which is reasonably calculated to meet the
child's needs;

(ii)The parent has been unwilling or unable to take
responsibility for the child within a time which is
reasonably calculated to meet the child's needs;

(iii)	The child has been abandoned; or
(iv)The parent has failed to make a good faith effort to
rehabilitate and reunify with the child pursuant to section
4041.
22 M.R.S.A. § 4055(1)(B)(2)(a), (b) (1992).
	[¶3]  The two children were removed from their home by the
Department of Human Services in July 1994.  The court held a hearing on
the Department's petition for a child protection order in January 1996.  At
that time the court found that the children were in circumstances of mental
and emotional jeopardy, and it issued the child protection order.
	[¶4]  During the nearly 19 months between the removal of the
children from the home and the issuance of the child protection order, the
parents' visitation with the children was suspended because they refused to
cooperate in reunification efforts and they failed to participate in necessary
services provided by the Department.  At one point the father threatened a
Department worker with physical harm.
	[¶5]  The parents argue that the court should not have considered
their actions over the entire course of the child protection proceedings
when assessing their parental fitness.  Rather, they assert that the court
should have looked only at their actions after it issued the child protection
order.
	[¶6]  We have held that, while the inquiry concerning parental
unfitness pursuant to sections 4055(1)(B)(2)(b)(i) and (ii), concerning the
parents' inability or unwillingness to protect the children from jeopardy and
to take responsibility for the children, is prospective, the evidence to be
considered is retrospective.  In re Leona T., 609 A.2d 1157, 1159 (Me.
1992).  As to section 4055(1)(B)(2)(b)(iv), concerning the parents' failure to
rehabilitate and reunify, its plain meaning requires the court to undertake a
retrospective analysis.  There is nothing in the statute, and nothing in our
past decisions, that limits the temporal scope of the court's examination of
evidence to any particular period.  We decline to impose such a limit.
	[¶7]  The parents' contention that the court's findings of parental
unfitness were not supported by clear and convincing evidence does not
warrant substantial discussion.  They argue that the court should not have
considered the emotional and psychological harm that would occur if the
children were taken out of their foster home as jeopardy within the meaning
of section 4055(1)(B)(2)(b)(i).  Contrary to that contention, we have held
that "the emotional difficulties that may attend foster care are included
within the statutory definition of jeopardy."  In re Colby E., 669 A.2d 151,
152 (Me. 1995).
	[¶8]  Turning to their general challenge to the sufficiency of the
evidence, the court reasonably could have been persuaded that the required
factual findings necessary for termination of parental rights were proved to
be highly probable.  In re Ashley A., 679 A.2d 86, 89 (Me 1996).
	The entry is:
					Judgment affirmed.

Attorneys for appellants: Karen JM Mitchell, Esq. Law Offices of P. J. Perrino, Jr. P O Box 747 Augusta, ME 04330 (for father) Pamela J. Ames 237 Main Street Waterville, ME 04901 (for mother) Guardian ad Litem: Lawrence P. Bloom, Esq. P O Box 924 Skowhegan, ME 04976 Attorneys for appellee: Andrew Ketterer, Attorney General Marci A. Alexander, Asst. Atty. Gen. Pat Stevens, Asst. Atty. Gen. Janice S. Stuver, Asst. Atty. Gen. 6 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333-0006