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In re Jeffrey E.

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
557 A.2d 954 (Me. 1989)


Maine’s Department of Human Services (the Department) (plaintiff) filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Linda E. and her husband, James E. (defendants), as to their infant son, Jeffrey E., whose health was placed in jeopardy because Linda and James routinely failed to provide Jeffrey with medication and therapy to treat his lingering pneumonia. Jeffrey was hospitalized several times due to his pneumonia. Each time Jeffrey returned home from the hospital, Linda, the family’s primary caretaker, failed to provide his medication, even with the assistance of a nurse from a home-health agency. James was a passive parent who did not contribute in any meaningful way to rearing Jeffrey. The Department temporarily removed Jeffrey from Linda and James’s custody and placed Jeffrey in foster care, where Jeffrey thrived emotionally and developmentally. After a hearing, the trial court found that it was not in Jeffrey’s best interests to be returned to Linda and James. Subsequently, the Department attempted to reunite Jeffrey with Linda and James through three written service agreements that addressed the family’s health, discipline, and structure, as well as ways to stimulate Jeffrey’s learning and development. Linda and James failed to comply with the plans, however, and the Department discontinued reunification efforts and petitioned to terminate Linda and James’s parental rights. The trial court terminated the parental rights of both Linda and James, who appealed, arguing that the trial court’s order was not supported by clear and convincing evidence.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Clifford, J.)

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