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Heather C., continued.
[¶27]  We look next to the State's interest underlying the chosen
procedure.  In enacting the legislation that allows the court to relieve the
Department of its responsibilities under section 4041, the Legislature made
it clear that it sought to facilitate "expeditious action in child protection
cases."  L.D. 2246, Summary (118th Legis. 1998).  The State's interest in
protecting children is substantial and important.  See In re Alexander D.,
1998 ME 207, ¶¶ 14-15, 716 A.2d at 227.  More specifically, the statutory
goal of the "early establishment of permanency plans for the care and
custody of children," 22 M.R.S.A. § 4003(4), is significant, see In re Randy
Scott B., 511 A.2d 450, 453 (Me. 1986).
	[¶28]  The process established by the Legislature addresses not only
the need for expeditious action when a child's health and safety are at issue,
but also addresses other significant State interests.  First, when a parent has
acted toward another child, or the child in the proceeding before the court,
in a way that resulted in a child's death or serious bodily injury, see
22 M.R.S.A. § 4002(1-B)(B), the State has a legitimate interest in assuring
that the child now before the court is not placed in similar circumstances
through a misguided effort at reunification.  Similarly, if a parent has
subjected the child before the court to the kinds of serious harm
enumerated in 22 M.R.S.A. § 4002(1-B)(A) (including, e.g., rape, gross
sexual assault, torture, etc.), the State has a legitimate interest in assuring
that the child is not unnecessarily subjected to a risk of recurrence.  In such
cases, where an aggravating factor is found to exist, the State's interest in
protecting the child from such risk is substantial.{10}
	[¶29]  The State also has a legitimate interest in making the best use
of its limited resources.  There is no dispute from parents or agency
representatives that the Department's resources are limited and in many
instances are insufficient even to meet the needs of parents who are able
and willing to work on the impediments to the return of their children. 
When a parent has previously been determined, after notice and opportunity
to be heard, to be unable to care for a child, such that the parent's rights
must be terminated, that parent may not be a good candidate for further
expenditures of limited child protective resources in order to pursue
rehabilitation again.{11}  If difficult decisions regarding allocation of scarce
resources must be made, the Legislature's determination that a prior
involuntary termination is a factor to be considered is both reasonable and
legitimate.
	[¶30]  The court in this case considered the Department's previous
extensive provision of resources in its effort to reunify the mother with her
other children.  It also considered the severity of the harm suffered by those
children, noting the devastating lack of success of her recent efforts at
parenting.  The court appropriately placed considerable weight on the
circumstances in which her two sons, Daniel and Vernal, had recently been
found.  More importantly, the court directly addressed the mother's current
capacity as a parent in its final protection order:
The reliable evidence is virtually undisputed that it would [be]
dangerous to place this child in the [parents'] home without
some very intrusive and extensive supervision.  Even if such
extensive service was available, the likelihood of one or both of
these parents becoming able to prevent this child from suffering
the same fate of their two sons and [the mother's] five other
children is extremely remote.  These parents suffer from deeply
rooted debilitating personality/psychological conditions which
will require extensive and long term therapy, assuming a
recognition and good faith commitment.  This child should not
be subjected to the strong likelihood of neglect or abuse simply
in the name of ignoring the past and letting parents who have
been shown recently to lack the ability to adequately parent
children start with a clean slate with each birth.  

	[¶31]  It is evident that the court did not rely merely on the prior
involuntary terminations and that it considered all relevant factors and
exercised its discretion in finding that further attempts at reunification
were not warranted.  Moreover, the court's careful consideration of the
mother's current abilities, even in the face of the extreme neglect to which
she had recently subjected her sons, Daniel and Vernal, belies the mother's
claim that the court erroneously relied entirely or too heavily on the earlier
involuntary termination.  We find no constitutional infirmity in the process
or the application of the statute in these circumstances. 
	[¶32]  In sum, we conclude that the procedures followed by the court,
including the finding of an aggravating factor under section 4002, and the
order relieving the Department of the need to provide reunification
services, "were well-tailored to protect the [mother's] constitutional rights,
while at the same time to protect the State of Maine's interest in
determining the child's status without undue delay."  In re Randy Scott B.,
511 A.2d at 453.  The court did not abuse its discretion nor violate any
constitutional right of the mother in determining that the Department
should be relieved of any further responsibility to assist the mother in
rehabilitating and reunifying with Heather.
	The entry is:
Judgment affirmed.


Attorneys for appellant:

Patricia A. Peard, Esq., (orally)
Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, P.A.
P O Box 9729
Portland, ME 04104

Brenda M. Buchanan, Esq.
Warren Currier & Buchanan, LLC, P.A.
57 Exchange Street
Portland, ME 04101-5020

Attorneys for appellee:

Andrew Ketterer, Attorney General
Matthew Pollack, Asst. Attorney General (orally)
Patricia Stevens, Asst. Attorney General
6 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0006

Guardian ad Litem:

Charles Veilleux, Esq.
P O Box 568
Skowhegan, ME 04976

Attorney for father:

Charles Reeves, Esq.
179 Main Street, suite 402
Waterville, ME 04901
FOOTNOTES******************************** {1} . The statute provides: Aggravating factor. "Aggravating factor" means any of the following circumstances with regard to the parent. A. The parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances including, but not limited to, the following: (1) Rape, gross sexual misconduct, gross sexual assault, sexual abuse, incest, aggravated assault, kidnapping, promotion of prostitution, abandonment, torture, chronic abuse or any other treatment that is heinous or abhorrent to society; or (2) Refusal for 6 months to comply with treatment required in a reunification plan. B. The parent has been convicted of any of the following crimes and the victim of the crime was a child for whom the parent was responsible or the victim was a child who was a member of a household lived in or frequented by the parent: (1) Murder; (2) Felony murder; (3) Manslaughter; (4) Aiding, conspiring or soliciting murder or manslaughter; (5) Felony assault that results in serious bodily injury; or (6) Any comparable crime in another jurisdiction. C. The parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been terminated involuntarily. D. The parent has abandoned the child. 22 M.R.S.A. § 4002(1-B). {2} . At the jeopardy hearing, the court is not required to make a determination that the child is in immediate risk of serious harm. See 22 M.R.S.A. § 4035(2). That factual determination, therefore, is not revisited. {3} . The petition also alleged that the mother's current husband suffered from substance abuse and uncontrollable rages. {4} . During discussions with counsel, the court made it clear that the mother's current abilities were foremost in his mind. So let's just not pretend that I am approaching this thing without knowing full well what the history is, but that doesn't mean that this child necessarily falls into the same category. . . . This summary hearing should get to a fair decision as to what's happened since I last touched this file and these people actually in January. {5} . The court declined to make a similar order with respect to the father. The Department had based its petition in this regard on the father's "heinous or abhorrent" treatment of the older children. The court held that the statute, however, requires that such heinous and abhorrent treatment be of the child at issue, not another child. See 22 M.R.S.A. § 4002(1-B)(A)(1). {6} . Once a final protection order is issued in a child protection case, any preliminary order becomes moot. See In re Misty B., 2000 ME 67, ¶ 7, 749 A.2d 754, ----. We also hold today, in a similar but unrelated case, that orders following a preliminary hearing are interlocutory, and that the statutory prohibition of appeals from such orders does not violate due process. See In re Kristy Y., 2000 ME ---, ¶ --, --- A.2d ----, ----. Accordingly, we treat this appeal as being solely from the final jeopardy order. {7} . Recognizing the difficulties inherent in mounting a purely facial due process challenge, the mother has abandoned her original facial challenge and now argues only that the statute violates her due process rights as applied. See, e.g., United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 745 (1987) (holding that, in a facial challenge, "the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the [statute] would be valid"). But see Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Penn. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 898 (applying an "undue burden" test in the context of a reproductive rights challenge). See also Dombrowski v. Pfister, 380 U.S. 479, 494 (1965) (applying "overbreadth" test in the context of First Amendment challenges). For a discussion of the debate on application of appropriate tests in facial challenges, see Planned Parenthood of the Blue Ridge v. Camblos, 155 F.3d 352, 359 n.1 (4th Cir. 1998). {8} . The mother's argument that the statute punishes a parent for exercising her right to contest a termination is unpersuasive. First, a contested termination hearing results in a finding that termination is appropriate in a case that is actually litigated, which may reasonably be accorded more weight than a termination without such findings. Second, a voluntary termination may occur in the absence of any jeopardy to the child or actual parental inability, as may be the case when an infant is placed for adoption, and thus a voluntary termination arguably may be less reliable as an "aggravating factor" than an involuntary termination. Moreover, an involuntary termination is more likely to occur only after substantial efforts have been made to assist the parent to rehabilitate and improve parenting abilities. Thus, the statute is not a "punishment," as the mother labels it, because there is, in fact, a distinction between the two classes of termination that is pertinent to the court's decision regarding additional efforts at reunification. {9} . We defer to the trial court's ability to give weight to the appropriate factors when it has correctly understood the facts and circumstances material to the decision at hand, and will find abuse only where the court makes a "serious mistake" in weighing those factors. See West Point-Pepperell, Inc. v. State Tax Assessor, 1997 ME 58, ¶ 7, 691 A.2d 1211, 1213 (quoting Coon v. Grenier, 867 F.2d 73, 78 (1st Cir. 1989)). {10} . As always, the court retains the discretion to require reunification efforts in circumstances where the effort can be made safely and expeditiously. {11} . A parent who seeks services to reunify with his or her child, notwithstanding the court's order relieving the Department of its responsibility to help that parent, may still have access to services funded through medicaid (or medicare) and other public programs.

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