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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Trevor M. v. State, Dept. of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's Services (3/11/2016) sp-7086

Trevor M. v. State, Dept. of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's Services (3/11/2016) sp-7086

           Notice:   This opinion is subject to correction before publication in the P                        ACIFIC  REPORTER.  

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           303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501, phone (907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878, email  

                                                                                                                                

           corrections@akcourts.us.  



                        THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA                                          



TREVOR  M.,                                                             )  

                                                                        )      Supreme  Court  No.  S-15913  

                                  Appellant,                            )  

                                                                        )      Superior  Court  No.  3AN-14-00036  CN  

           v.                                                           )  

                                                                        )      O P I N I O N  

                                                                                                    

STATE OF ALASKA, DEPARTMENT                                             )
  

                                        

OF HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES,                                            )      No. 7086 - March  11, 2016
  

                                                                                                                     

                                              

OFFICE OF CHILDREN'S                                                    )
  

                       

SERVICES,                                                               )
  

                                                                        )  

                                  Appellee.                             )  

                                                                        )  



                      Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third  

                                                                                                                   

                       Judicial District, Anchorage, Frank A. Pfiffner, Judge.  

                                                                                                        



                      Appearances:               Olena         Kalytiak          Davis,         Anchorage,             for  

                                                                                                                     

                      Appellant.           Joanne  M.  Grace,  Assistant  Attorney  General,  

                                                                                                              

                      Anchorage,   and   Craig   W.   Richards,   Attorney   General,  

                                                                                                             

                       Juneau, for Appellee.  

                                           



                       Before:          Fabe,  Winfree,  Maassen,  and  Bolger,  Justices.  

                                                                                                             

                       [Stowers, Chief Justice, not participating.]  

                                                                       



                       MAASSEN, Justice.  

                                              



I.         INTRODUCTION  



                       The Office of Children's Services (OCS) took custody of a young girl due  

                                                                                                                                             



to her mother's neglect and substance abuse.  The father was incarcerated at the time, but  

                                                                                                                                              



on his release he made limited efforts to participate in his case plan.  OCS filed a petition  

                                                                                                                                       


----------------------- Page 2-----------------------

to terminate his parental rights, asserting that he had abandoned his daughter, and the                                                                                                                          



superior court granted the petition and terminated his rights.                                                                                       The father appeals, arguing                      



that he did not abandon his daughter and that if he did he was not given enough time to                                                                                                                             



remedy the problem.                                  Because the superior court's findings are not clearly erroneous, we                                                                                          



affirm.  



II.              FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS                

                                                                                                                                                                                               1  Trevor's  

                                 Maya S. is the three-year-old daughter of Sarah S. and Trevor M.                                                                                                   



criminal history includes a number of assault charges and domestic violence restraining  

                                                                                                                                                                                               

orders  involving  different  victims;2   he  has  also  struggled  with  substance  abuse.                                                                                                                      He  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 



testified that he "rarely got to see" Maya while she was a baby because it was up to Sarah  

                                                                                                                                                                                                           



to decide "when she felt like bringing [him his] daughter."  He also testified, however,  

                                                                                                                                                                                                  



that he "always call[ed] [Sarah] to check on [his] daughter" and that he gave "her money  

                                                                                                                                                                                                        



plenty of times for whatever she needed."  

                                                                                                          



                                  OCS twice removed Maya from Sarah's custody after receiving reports of  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    



neglect  -  once  in  October  2012,  when  Maya  was  five  months  old,  and  again  in  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   



December 2013.  Each time OCS placed Maya with her maternal grandparents, Dennis  

                                                                                                                                                                                                       



S. and Sylvia E.  The second time OCS took custody, Maya had cocaine in her system at  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     



such a high level that it was determined she had probably ingested the drug.  Trevor was  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                



in jail at the time for assaulting Sarah.  Since then, Maya has remained with her maternal  

                                                                                                                                                                                                   



grandparents.  

                                    



                 1               We use pseudonyms to protect the parties' privacy.                                                          



                 2               For example, in 2012 Trevor was convicted of assaulting his then-girlfriend,  

                                                                                                                                                                                    

the mother of his other child; in 2013 Sarah accused him of assaulting her; and in 2014  

                                                                                                                                                                                                             

a different girlfriend was granted a long-term domestic violence protective order based  

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

on the finding that Trevor posed a threat to her safety.  

                                                                                                                      



                                                                                                         -2-                                                                                                7086
  


----------------------- Page 3-----------------------

                     In February 2014 OCS assigned caseworker Rick Mitcham to Maya's case.  

                                                                                                                                            



Mitcham met with Trevor a few weeks later, after Trevor's release from prison.  Trevor  

                                                                                                                                



said he was willing to participate in anger management classes; also included in his case  

                                                                                                                                    



plan were a substance abuse assessment and regular urinalyses (UAs).  

                                                                                                                 



                     Mitcham and Trevor met again on March 1.  Mitcham described Trevor as  

                                                                                                                                        



"receptive to engaging in services" at that time, and after the meeting Mitcham made a  

                                                                                                                                         



referral for supervised visitation.  For the rest of the month Mitcham and another OCS  

                                                                                                                                   



worker  tried  to  contact  Trevor  to  follow  through  with  the  referral,  but  Trevor  never  

                                                                                                                                  



answered the phone or returned messages. On March 27 Mitcham made an unannounced  

                                                                                                                      



visit and found Trevor at home; he talked to Trevor "about the case and about . . . setting  

                                                                                                                                 



up the family contact."   According to Mitcham, Trevor still seemed willing to engage  

                                                                                                                               



with his case plan.  

                                



                     But Trevor failed to show up for an April meeting with Mitcham, and they  

                                                                                                                                    



did not meet again until May.  At that time they discussed Trevor's case plan again, but  

                                                                                                                                      



Trevor was reluctant to pursue it because he believed he was likely to be reincarcerated  

                                                                                                                    



soon, making his efforts pointless. Around this time another OCS worker made a number  

                                                                                                                                



of attempts by telephone to facilitate visitation, but Trevor's phone was disconnected.  

                                                                                                                   



                     Trevor and  Mitcham  met  again  in  early  June.   By  this time  Trevor had  

                                                                                                                                     



learned he was not going back to jail, and he again seemed willing to follow his case plan  

                                                                                                                                    



and to submit to the required UAs.  He signed the plan and records releases for anger  

                                                                                                                                  



management classes and a substance abuse assessment.  But after this meeting OCS was  

                                                                                                                                     



again unable to reach him to coordinate a visitation schedule, despite many attempts.  

                                                                                                                                         



                     Trevor did attend a substance abuse assessment and another assessment for  

                                                                                                                                       



a batterers' intervention program.  The batterers' program met once a week for 36 weeks.  

                                                                                                                                            



Trevor attended two classes in June, three in July, one in August, and two in October,  

                                                                                                                             



                                                                   -3-                                                            7086
  


----------------------- Page 4-----------------------

after which he was discharged from the program because of unexcused absences.  His  

                                                                                                                                     



experience with substance abuse treatment was similar.   He did not follow up on the  

                                                                                                                                      



assessment's recommendations for intensive outpatient treatment; he later testified that  

                                                                                                                                     



he had limited funds to put toward his rehabilitation and chose to spend them on the  

                                                                                                                                      



batterers' intervention course instead.  He testified that he discussed this decision with  

                                                                                                                                    



Mitcham  and  another  OCS  employee  and  they  understood  his  reasoning  -  though  

                                                                                                                               



Mitcham declined to confirm this.  Trevor missed most of the scheduled UAs, showing  

                                                                                                                             



up for only four of 26 appointments and twice testing positive for marijuana.  

                                                                                                                             



                     In late June Trevor gave Mitcham his new phone number, and OCS was able  

                                                                                                                                     



to schedule weekly visitation.  Trevor visited Maya three times:  on July 1, 17, and 31.  

                                                                                                                                            



Regular visitation was then suspended because Trevor started a new job on the North  

                                                                                                                                 



Slope.  Although OCS had instructed him that he would need to call to restart visitation  

                                                                                                                            



when he returned, it did not hear from him again and was unable to reach him despite  

                                                                                                                               



continued efforts.  In October OCS petitioned to terminate Trevor's and Sarah's parental  

                                                                                                                              



rights.  



                     In  January   2015  Trevor  was  again  incarcerated.                                   Sarah  voluntarily  

                                                                                                                        



relinquished her rights to Maya, and in March the superior court held a two-day trial on  

                                                                                                                                       



Trevor's parental rights. Trevor participated telephonically from jail. He had not had any  

                                                                                                                                     



contact with Maya since his last visit in July 2014, seven and a half months earlier.  

                                                                                                                                       



                     At  trial,  two  OCS  employees  described  their  unsuccessful  attempts  to  

                                                                                                                                       



contact Trevor and facilitate visitation from March to the end of June 2014; one testified  

                                                                                                                              



about  the  further  loss  of  contact  following  Trevor's  three  visits  with  Maya  in  July.  

                                                                                                                                            



Mitcham testified that he had explained to Trevor when they first met that time was of the  

                                                                                                                                      



essence, and that Trevor appeared to understand.  But Mitcham also testified that after he  

                                                                                                                                       



last met with Trevor in June 2014 he was unable to reach him again.  

                                                                                                              



                                                                   -4-                                                            7086
  


----------------------- Page 5-----------------------

                                                                     Maya's maternal grandfather, Dennis, testified that he had provided all of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 



Maya's financial support since her birth and that he had never asked for or received any                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                



help   from   Trevor.     He   testified   that   Maya   never   asked   about   Trevor   and   that   to   his  



knowledge Trevor had spent time with Maya maybe ten times in her life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  



                                                                     Trevor testified on his own behalf.                                                                                                                                                  He explained that he had rarely seen                                                                                                                                      



Maya   when   she   was   a   baby   because   Sarah   limited   his   access.     He   testified   that  



participating in his case plan was difficult because he had no driver's license, had started                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             



a new job in June 2014, and had trouble paying for classes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              He denied that Mitcham had                                                                                                      



told him time was of the essence.                                                                                                                                     But he acknowledged OCS's offer to provide him a bus                                                                                                                                                                                                           



pass, which he never picked up, and he admitted that OCS never denied him visitation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           



                                                                     The superior court terminated Trevor's parental rights to Maya, making both                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      



oral and written findings.                                                                                                       The court found by clear and convincing evidence that Trevor                                                                                                                                                                                                                            



had abandoned Maya without justifiable cause, that he had failed to remedy the conduct                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             



or   conditions   that   put   Maya   at   a   substantial   risk   of   harm,   and   that   OCS   had   made  



reasonable   efforts   to   provide   services   designed   to   enable   Maya's   return   to   Trevor's  



custody   and   care.    Finally,   the   court   found   by   a   preponderance   of   the   evidence   that  



terminating Trevor's parental rights was in Maya's best interests.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            



                                                                     Trevor appeals, challenging the superior court's findings that he abandoned                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     



Maya and that he had a reasonable time to remedy the conduct that put her at risk of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           



harm.  



III.                               STANDARD OF REVIEW                                                                           



                                                                     "In a CINA case, 'we review the trial court's factual findings for clear error                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                   3   "Conflicting evidence is generally not sufficient  

and its legal determinations de novo.' "                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                  3                                  Sylvia  L.  v.  State,  Dep't  of  Health  &  Soc.  Servs.,  Office  of  Children's  Servs.,  



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         (continued...)  



                                                                                                                                                                                                                       -5-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                7086  


----------------------- Page 6-----------------------

                                                                                 4  

to overturn a trial court's factual findings . . . ."                                "Whether a child is in need of aid, [and]                   



whether a parent has remedied the conditions that place the child in need of aid . . . are                                                          



                                           5    "Whether  factual  findings  satisfy  the  requirements  of  the  

factual   determinations."                                                                                                                          



applicable child in need of aid (CINA) statute is a question of law that we review de  

                                                                                                                                                      

novo."6  



IV.	        DISCUSSION  



                                                                                                                                             

            A.	         The  Superior  Court  Did  Not  Clearly  Err  In  Finding  That  Trevor  

                                                                                                                         

                        Abandoned Maya By Failing To Maintain Regular Visitation.  



                                                                                                                                           

                        Before terminating parental rights, a superior court must find by clear and  



                                                                                                                                          

convincing evidence that "the child has been subjected to conduct or conditions described  



                                7  

                                                                                                                                                       

in AS 47.10.011."                   Among the described "conduct or conditions" is that the "parent or  



                                                                                                                                                        

guardian has abandoned the child as described in AS 47.10.013, and the other parent is  



                  

absent or has committed conduct or created conditions that cause the child to be a child  



                                                                 8  

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                      The  referenced  statute,  AS  47.10.013,  in  turn  

in  need  of  aid  under  this  chapter." 



            3(...continued)  



343 P.3d 425, 430 (Alaska 2015) (quoting  Emma D. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc.  

                                                                                                                                                   

Servs., Office of Children's Servs., 322 P.3d 842, 849 (Alaska 2014)).  

                                                                                                               



            4  

                                                                                                                                                       

                        Emma D. , 322 P.3d at 849 (quoting Chloe O. v. State, Dep't of Health &  

                                                                                                                                      

Soc. Servs., Office of Children's Servs., 309 P.3d 850, 856 (Alaska 2013)).  



            5  

                                                                                                                                       

                        Sherman B. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., Office of Children's  

                                                                                                  

Servs., 310 P.3d 943, 948-49 (Alaska 2013) (footnotes omitted).  



            6  

                                                                                                                                       

                        Theresa L. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., Office of Children's  

                                                                                                                                                   

Servs., 353 P.3d 831, 837 (Alaska 2015) (citing Ralph H. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc.  

                                                                                                               

Servs., Office of Children's Servs., 246 P.3d 916, 920 (Alaska 2011)).  



            7  

                               

                        AS 47.10.088(a)(1).  



            8  

                                                                                                                                               

                        AS 47.10.011(1).  Trevor does not dispute that Sarah, Maya's other parent,  

                                                                                                                                  (continued...)  



                                                                          -6-	                                                                   7086
  


----------------------- Page 7-----------------------

identifies eight ways in which abandonment may occur.                                             In this case the superior court            



found   that   Trevor   abandoned   Maya   in   four   of   those   ways,   each   corresponding   to   a  



different   subsection   of   the   abandonment   statute:     (1)   he   failed   to   maintain   regular  

visitation for more than six months;                         9                                                                         10  

                                                                                                                                

                                                               (2) he failed to participate in his case plan;                                     

                                                                                                                                           (3) he  



                                                                                                                                11  

                                                                                                                       

was absent from the home for a period of time that put Maya at risk of harm;                                                        and (4) he  

                                                                                                                                                  

was unwilling to provide Maya care, support, or supervision.12   Trevor argues that these  

                                                                                                                                             



findings are clearly erroneous.  

                                                      



                       As OCS correctly observes, the various ways abandonment can be shown  

                                                                                                                                          



under AS 47.10.013(a) are listed disjunctively, and a single adequately supported finding  

                                                                                                                                          

is therefore enough to establish  that Maya was a child in need of aid.13  

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                Because the  



            8(...continued)  



was absent or caused Maya to be in need of aid for purposes of this provision.  

                                                                                                                                        



            9  

                                                                                                                                                

                       AS 47.10.013(a)(3) provides that abandonment may be found "when the  

                                                                                                                                         

parent or guardian, without justifiable cause, . . . failed for a period of at least six months  

                                                                  

to maintain regular visitation with the child."  



            10  

                                                                                                                                                

                       AS 47.10.013(a)(4) provides that abandonment may be found "when the  

                                                                                                                                                  

parent or guardian, without justifiable cause, . . . failed to participate in a suitable plan or  

                                                                                                        

program designed to reunite the parent or guardian with the child."  



            11  

                                                                                                                                                

                       AS 47.10.013(a)(6) provides that abandonment may be found "when the  

                                                                                                                                           

parent or guardian, without justifiable cause, . . . was absent from the home for a period  

                                                                                                                               

of time that created a substantial risk of serious harm to a child left in the home."  



            12  

                                                                                                                                                

                       AS 47.10.013(a)(8) provides that abandonment may be found "when the  

                                                                                                                                        

parent or guardian, without justifiable cause, . . . was unwilling to provide care, support,  

                                       

or supervision for the child."  



            13  

                                                                                                                                   

                       See Lucy J. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., Office of Children's  

                                                                                                                                        

Servs., 244 P.3d 1099, 1112 (Alaska 2010) ("Because we affirm the trial court's findings  

                                                                                                                                                

with respect to Lucy's drug and alcohol abuse and neglect of the children, we do not  

                                                                                                                                               

reach whether Lucy failed to remedy the other two grounds for finding that Jack and  

                                                                                                                              (continued...)  



                                                                        -7-                                                                 7086
  


----------------------- Page 8-----------------------

superior court's                 first abandonment finding                            -   that Trevor failed                      "to   maintain   regular  



visitation" for six months "without justifiable cause" -                                                          is   not   clearly erroneous, we                  



affirm the superior court's decision of this issue.                                             



                          The superior court found that Trevor last visited Maya on July 31, 2014,                                                             

seven and a half months before trial.                                  14                                                                                            

                                                                            The court found that Trevor knew how to set up  



                                                                                                                                                                            

visitation thereafter but failed to do so even though OCS continued to try to engage him:  



                                                                                                                                                             

according to the court, "[e]ssentially, [Trevor] dropped off the face of the child's world"  



                                                                                                                                                                       

after July.  The court recognized that Trevor was back in jail as of January 2015, but it  



                                                                                                                           

found that his failure to pursue visitation was nevertheless not justified.  



                                                                                                                                                                  

                          Trevor does not dispute the superior court's finding that he failed to visit  



                                                                                                                                                                   

Maya at all for more than seven months immediately before trial, nor does he argue that  



                                                                                                                                                 

this failure had a "justifiable cause."   Instead  he argues that the months immediately  



                                                                                                                                                                 

preceding trial cannot count toward the abandonment period, "because the State also must  



                                                                                                                                                                      

prove by clear and convincing evidence that [he] has had a reasonable opportunity to  



                                                                                                                                                                  

remedy the abandonment.  And if this period immediately prior to the termination trial  



                                                                                                                                                                

is the basis of an abandonment finding, there can necessarily be no opportunity for [him]  



                                                                                                                                                                  

to remedy the conduct."  Trevor contends, in other words, that before parental rights may  



                                                                                                                                                 

be terminated for abandonment under AS 47.10.013(a)(3), the six months set by statute  



                                                                                                                                                                    

must be followed by another undefined period during which the parent may remedy the  



             13(...continued)  



Carmen were in need of aid.");   see  also Dan A. v. State, Dep't of Health & Human  

                                                                                                                                                           

Servs., Office of Children's Servs., No. S-14249, 2012 WL 104482, at *5 (Alaska Jan. 13,  

                                                                                                                                                                     

2012)   ("Because   we   uphold   the   termination   based   on   abandonment   under   AS  

                                                                                                                                                                  

47.10.013(2)  and  (3),  we  do  not  reach  either  Dan's  appeal  of  the  superior  court's  

                                                                                                                                                            

abandonment findings under subsections (4) and (7) or OCS's cross-appeal.").  

                                                                                                                                                            



             14  

                                                                                                                                                                        

                          See  AS 47.10.013(a)(3) (defining abandonment to include  failing "for a  

                                                                                                                                    

period of at least six months to maintain regular visitation with the child").  



                                                                                  -8-                                                                           7086
  


----------------------- Page 9-----------------------

problem - essentially that an abandonment finding requires the statutory six months  

                                                                                                                                



plus  X.  

         



                      We  do  not  consider  this  to  be  a  reasonable  reading  of  the  statute.  

                                                                                                                                             



Abandonment may place a child at substantial risk even if for a day, a week, or a month.  

                                                                                                                                             



Although a lapse in regular visitation must last six months before it may be the basis of  

                                                                                                                                         



 an abandonment finding under AS 47.10.013(a)(3), in most circumstances a responsible  

                                                                                                                          



parent can be expected to attempt to remedy the conduct within that six-month period.  

                                                                                                                                             



We do not believe the legislature could have intended the end of the six-month period to  

                                                                                                                                         



mark only the beginning of a parent's duty to remedy the conduct that put the parent's  

                                                                                                                               



 child at risk.  

              



                      In any event, AS 47.10.013(a)(3) gauges abandonment not by a complete  

                                                                                                                             



 failure of visitation but by a failure "to maintain regular visitation."  (Emphasis added.)  

                                                                                                                                             



 In this case the evidence was undisputed that Trevor visited Maya only three times - all  

                                                                                                                                        



 in a single month - during the 15 months between December 2013, when OCS last took  

                                                                                                                                     



 custody of her, and March 2015, when trial occurred.   Even excluding the periods of  

                                                                                                                                        



 Trevor's incarceration, there were still 11 months during which he failed to visit Maya  

                                                                                                                                   



 at all while she was in OCS custody.  And it was undisputed that OCS consistently tried  

                                                                                                                                     



to set up a visitation schedule as early as March 2014, without success.  

                                                                                                                     



                      The  evidence  plainly  supports  a  finding  that  Trevor  rarely  visited  his  

                                                                                                                                       



 daughter, made little effort to do so regularly at any time in her life, and failed to take  

                                                                                                                                     



 advantage of the scheduled visitation arranged by OCS.  Our conclusion is thus the same  

                                                                                                                                    



whether the six months of failed regular visitation is calculated from Maya's birth, from  

                                                                                                                                    



the second time OCS removed her from Sarah's custody, or from Trevor's last visit in  

                                                                                                                                         



                                                                    -9-                                                            7086
  


----------------------- Page 10-----------------------

July   2014:    The superior court did not clearly err in finding that Trevor "failed for a                                                                    



                                                                                                                                          15  

period of at least six months to maintain regular visitation with the child."                                                                 



                                                                                                                                                      

             B.	         The Superior Court Did Not Clearly Err In Finding That Trevor Failed  

                                                                                                                                                      

                         To Remedy The Conduct That Placed Maya At Risk Of Harm.  



                                                                                                                                         

                         Closely related to Trevor's challenge to the superior court's abandonment  



                                                                                                                                                      

finding is his challenge to the finding that he failed to remedy, "within a reasonable time,"  



                                                                                                                                      16  

                                                                                                                                                          

the problem of abandonment that caused Maya to be a child in need of aid.                                                                   Trevor first  



                                                                                                                                                               

argues that OCS could not have proven that he failed to remedy his conduct within a  



                                                                                                                                          

reasonable time because abandonment occurred during the seven months immediately  



                                                                                                                                                      

before trial; we address this argument in section IV.A above and reject it.  Trevor argues  



                                                                                                                                                          

alternatively that even if abandonment occurred earlier, OCS's "rushed timetable . . . [for]  



                                                                                                                                                          

his  case  plan  did  not  provide  a  reasonable  opportunity  to  demonstrate  that  he  had  



                                                                                                                                                        

remedied his conduct."  He supports this argument by identifying cases in which OCS  



                                                                                                                         17  

                                                                                                                                                      

waited longer before filing a petition to terminate parental rights                                                          and cases in which  



                                                                                                                                                         

parents whose conduct was arguably worse than his were given more time to remedy their  



             15	         AS 47.10.013(a)(3).   



             16  

                                                                                                                                                                   

                         AS 47.10.088(a)(2)(B) (stating that before terminating parental rights, the  

                                                                                                                                                               

court must find by clear and convincing evidence that the parent "has failed, within a  

                                                                                                                                                              

reasonable time, to remedy the conduct or conditions in the home that place the child in  

                                                                                                                                              

substantial risk so that returning the child to the parent would place the child at substantial  

                                                 

risk of physical or mental injury").  



             17  

                                                                                                                                              

                         See Sherman B. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., Office of Children's  

                                                                                                                                                        

Servs., No. S-15075, 2014 WL 72730, at *1-2 (Alaska Jan. 8, 2014) (stating that OCS  

                                                                                                                                        

took custody in May 2010 and petitioned to terminate in February 2012); C.W. v. State,  

                                                                                                                                                         

Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs. , 23 P.3d 52, 53-54 (Alaska 2001) (stating that OCS took  

                                                                                                                      

custody in July 1995 and petitioned to terminate in July 1999).  



                                                                             -10-	                                                                     7086
  


----------------------- Page 11-----------------------

                       18  

conduct.                     He further argues that his time to remedy his conduct was unreasonably short                                                                                                               



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   19  

because OCS failed to inform him about the case timelines and the need for urgency.                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

                                    "A reasonable time is statutorily defined as 'a period of time that serves the  



                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

best  interests  of  the  child,  taking  in  account  the  affected  child's  age,  emotional  and  



                                                                                                                                                                                                        20  

                                                                                                                                                                                                      

developmental needs, and ability to form and maintain lasting attachments.' "                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Any fact  



                                                                                                                                                                              21  

                                                                                                                                                                                                 

relating to the child's best interests is relevant to the determination.                                                                                                             The determination  



                                                                                                                                                                      

"must be made on a case-by-case basis and the amount of time considered 'reasonable'  



                  18               See Lance H. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., Office of Children's                                                                                            



Servs., No. S-14510, 2012 WL 3870821, at *2-6 (Alaska Sept. 5, 2012) (stating that OCS                                                                                                                                  

took custody in September 2008 and termination trial occurred in August 2011);                                                                                                                                    Dan A.   

v.  State, Dep't of Health & Human Servs., Office of Children's Servs.                                                                                                           , No. S-14249, 2012                    

WL 104482, at *2-3 (Alaska Jan. 13, 2012) (stating that OCS took custody in January                                                                                                                             

2007 and termination trial began in October 2009);                                                                                     Jeff A.C., Jr. v. State , 117 P.3d 697,                                           

700-02 (Alaska 2005) (stating that OCS took custody in February 2001, State petitioned                                                                                                                     

to terminate parental rights in March 2002, and termination trial began in March 2003).                                                                                                          



                  19  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                   Mitcham testified, on the other hand, that Trevor understood that time was  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

of the essence.  We defer to the trial court's resolution of conflicts in testimony.  Emma  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

D. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., Office of Children's Servs., 322 P.3d 842, 849  

                                           

(Alaska 2014).  



                  20  

                                                                                                                                                                                                        

                                   Shirley  M. v. State, Dep't of Health  & Soc. Servs., Office  of Children's  

                                                                                                                                                     

Servs., 342 P.3d 1233, 1240 (Alaska 2015) (quoting AS 47.10.990(28)).  



                  21  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                    Chloe W. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., Office of Children's Servs.,  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

336 P.3d 1258, 1268 (Alaska 2014) (citing AS 47.10.088(b)).  See also Barbara P. v.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., Office of Children's Servs., 234 P.3d 1245, 1263  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

(Alaska 2010) ("[T]he superior court . . . is permitted to 'consider any fact relating to the  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

best interest of the child, including'  the  statutory factors, when evaluating whether a  

                                                                                                                                              

parent has remedied his or her conduct." (quoting AS 47.10.088(b))).  



                                                                                                             -11-                                                                                                      7086
  


----------------------- Page 12-----------------------

                    22                                                                                       23  

will   vary";            it   "is   likely   to   be   shorter   for   young   children."                          "The   superior   court   is  



entitled   to   rely   on   a   parent's   documented   history   of   conduct   as   a   predictor   of   future  



                   24  

behavior."               



                                                                                                                                               

                        In this case the superior court made extensive findings relevant to whether  



                                                                                                                                                      

OCS  gave  Trevor  a  reasonable  time  to  remedy  his  conduct,  in  light  of  Maya's  best  



                                                                                                                                                       

interests.   The court noted Trevor's extensive criminal record, Maya's young age and  



                                                                                                                                                      

need  for  permanency,  Trevor's  failure  to  engage  in  services,  and  the  likelihood  that  



                                                                    

resolving his legal issues would take a long time.  The court found that Trevor's failure  



                                                                                                                                        

to attend substance abuse treatment, his limited participation in batterers' intervention  



                                                                                                                                                        

classes, and his recent criminal convictions established that his efforts to remedy  his  



                                         25  

                                                                                                                                                       

conduct were minimal.                        It found based on his history that Trevor's harmful conduct was  



                                 26  

                                                                                                                                                           

likely  to  continue                 and  that  it  was  unlikely  Maya  could  return  to  his  care  within  a  



            22          Christina J. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc Servs., Office of Children's                                         



Servs., 254 P.3d 1095, 1108 (Alaska 2011).                          



            23  

                                   

                        Id.  at 1107.  



            24  

                                                                                                                                                  

                        Sherry R. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., Office of Children's Servs.,  

                                                                                                                                                 

332 P.3d 1268, 1274 (Alaska 2014) (quoting Sherry R. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc.  

                                                                                                                     

Servs., Div. of Family & Youth Servs., 74 P.3d 896, 903 (Alaska 2003)).  



            25  

                                                                                                                                                          

                        See AS 47.10.088(b)(2) (stating that the court can consider "the amount of  

                                                               

effort by the parent to remedy the conduct").  



            26  

                                                                                                                                                     

                        See  AS  47.10.088(b)(4)-(5)  (stating  that  the  court  may  consider  "the  

                                                                                                                                                        

likelihood that the harmful conduct will continue" and "the history of conduct by . . . the  

parent").  



                                                                           -12-                                                                     7086
  


----------------------- Page 13-----------------------

                                   27  

reasonable   time.                        It   found   that   Maya   did   not   know   her   father   and   that   she   would  



                                                                                                                                 28  

continue to be harmed as long as she was deprived of a parent.                                                                        



                                                                                                                                                                               

                            On  appeal  Trevor  does  not  challenge  the  superior  court's  discussion  of  



                                                                                                                                                                              

Maya's best interests, nor does he discuss Maya's needs.  He fails to demonstrate that the  



                                                                                                                                                                             

superior  court  clearly  erred  in  finding  that  he  made  minimal  attempts  to  change  his  



                                                                                                                                                             

conduct, that he was unlikely to be available to parent Maya in the reasonably foreseeable  



                                                                                                                            

future, and that Maya's best interests favored permanency.  



                                                                                                                                                                      

                            Because the evidence supports the superior court's findings that (1) Trevor  



                                                                                                                                                                           

failed to remedy the conduct or conditions that put Maya at risk of harm, and (2) the time  



                                                                                                                                                                 

Trevor was given to remedy his conduct was reasonable given Maya's best interests,  



                                                                                                                                                                      

including her need for permanency, we conclude that the superior court did not clearly  



                                                      

err in finding grounds for termination.  



V.            CONCLUSION  



                                                                                                                                                                   

                            We AFFIRM the superior court's decision to terminate Trevor's parental  



rights.  



              27            See  AS 47.10.088(b)(1) (stating that the court may consider "the likelihood                                                       



of returning the child to the parent within a reasonable time based on the child's age or                                                                                      

needs").  



              28  

                                                                                                                                                                      

                            See AS 47.10.088(b)(3) (stating the court may consider "the harm caused  

              

to the child").  



                                                                                      -13-                                                                               7086
  

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