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In re Dylan B.
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MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT					Reporter of Decisions
Decision:	2001 ME 31 
Docket:	Pen-00-461
on Briefs:	January 11, 2001
Decided:	February 9, 2001




	[¶1]  Dylan's paternal grandparents petitioned for termination of the
parental rights of Dylan's father and mother as part of their adoption
petition.  The Penobscot County Probate Court (Woodcock, J.) entered a
default judgment against the father.  After a hearing, the court entered a
judgment against the mother on the grounds that the mother is unwilling or
unable to take responsibility for Dylan within a time reasonably calculated to
meet Dylan's needs and termination is in Dylan's best interest.  The mother
appeals the judgment terminating her parental rights on the ground that the
court lacked sufficient evidence to support its conclusions.  Because there is
no recording or transcript of the termination hearing, we vacate the
judgment and remand for a recorded hearing.
	[¶2]  A petition for termination of parental rights may be brought as
part of an adoption petition.  18-A M.R.S.A. § 9-204(a) (1998).  The
termination petition "is subject to the provisions of Title 22, chapter 1071,
subchapter VI [22 M.R.S.A. §§ 4050-4058 (1992 & Supp. 2000)]."  18-A
M.R.S.A. § 9-204(b) (Supp. 2000).  We have also construed some provisions
of subchapter I of the Child and Family Services and Child Protection Act, 22
M.R.S.A. §§ 4001 to 4010-A (1992 & Supp. 2000), to apply in a termination
proceeding brought as part of an adoption petition in the Probate Court.  See
In re Shane T., 544 A.2d 1295 (Me. 1988) (applying 22 M.R.S.A.
§ 4007(2)-(3) (1992), which establishes the right of a court to interview a
child witness and to order mental or physical evaluations pursuant to M.R.
Civ. P. 35); see also In re Hope H., 541 A.2d 165, 167 (Me. 1988) (citing 22
M.R.S.A. § 4002(10)(B) (1992) as establishing symptoms evidencing
	[¶3]  According to 22 M.R.S.A. § 4007(1) (1992), "[a]ll the [child
protection] proceedings shall be recorded."  The definition of a child
protection proceeding includes "a proceeding on a termination petition
under subchapter VI . . . ."  22 M.R.S.A. § 4002(3) (1992).  Because this
termination proceeding was subject to the provisions of subchapter VI, a
recording was mandatory.  We must remand this case for a recorded hearing
that will produce a record sufficient for our review.  Without a more
complete record, we cannot address the mother's contentions on appeal. 
For instance, we cannot, on the basis of the current record, review the
mother's claim that the grandparents took advantage of her because she
lacked legal representation when she agreed to grant the grandparents
temporary guardianship, when she defended against a protection from abuse
order filed against her, and when she agreed to grant permanent
guardianship to the grandparents.  The mother's right to be assisted by
counsel, and, if she qualifies, to be advised of her rights to receive
court-appointed counsel, should be addressed in the same manner as in any
other termination of parental rights proceeding.
	[¶4]  Furthermore, the court failed to make sufficient findings of fact.  
As in the case of In re Kenneth H., 1997 ME 48, 690 A.2d 984, the decision
issued by the court contains no findings of fact, but instead provides merely
a synopsis of the testimony offered at trial.  See id. at 985.  "Without an
indication as to what evidence the court relied on in its order, we are unable
to undertake appellate review '[b]ecause of the absence of specific findings
of fact that would inform the parties or this court of the basis of its
decision.'"  Id. (quoting In re Amber B., 597 A.2d 937, 938 (Me. 1991)).
	The entry is:
Judgment vacated.  Remanded to the Probate
Court for further proceedings consistent with
this opinion.
Attorney for appellant: Kenneth W. Fredette, Esq. P O Box 70 Newport, ME 04953 Attorney for appellees: Lawrence A. Lunn, Esq. Hall & Lunn 107-111 Columbia Street Bangor, ME 04401 Guardian ad Litem: Randy G. Day, Esq. P O Box 58 Garland, ME 04939