In Re: Paige
A court may consider judgment, mental health, pursuit of gender reassignment and finances, when it considers whether to terminate parental rights. The respondent parents allegedly agreed to an "open relationship," in which either could have a relationship with a same sex partner. The father allegedly had a relationship with an opposite sex partner, which broke the "open relationship" agreement, then decided to change his gender. The mother become involved with another woman, Sheri, who was married to Adele. Adele reported that Sheri stabbed her with a knife. Later, Adele claimed that Adele stabbed herself. Whoever stabbed Adele, the respondent mother, who did not believe Sheri, a convicted sex offender, would harm her children, allegedly struggled for control of the knife. After Adele was stabbed, the Department of Children and Families obtained temporary custody of the minor children, who have resided with the maternal grandparents for 21 of the past 28 months. The department filed a permanency plan, to terminate the rights of the biological parents, and to permit adoption by the maternal grandparents. The biological parents objected. Allegedly, neither parent is actively seeking new work. The court ordered a psychological evaluation. The mother allegedly was diagnosed with depression. The mother would not permit a social worker to inspect her apartment, allegedly because a roommate used drugs. Although clinicians testified that visitation and parenting skills have improved, the court found the parents remain unable to provide a secure and stable future for the minor children. The court approved the department's permanency plan, to terminate the parental rights of the biological parents. The court wrote, "Given the [parents'] history of poor judgment, their precarious and marginal financial situation with neither parent seeking employment to provide some financial stability, their real mental health concerns, their established record of homelessness and the psychological, emotional and financial impact of the father's pursuit of gender re-assignment upon himself, his wife and the children, the plan of termination of parental rights to secure a permanent, safe and structured home for the children seems reasonable, especially given the length of time the children have been in foster care."