Workers with the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) in British Columbia say they moved to seize a newborn from Kamloops Royal Inland Hospital two weeks ago because medical staff reported “numerous” instances of “neglect,” namely that the mother, who’d undergone a C-section and was heavily medicated by her doctor, wasn’t tending to the baby.
APTN News has obtained a recording of a meeting between the father, the maternal grandmother, and several social workers.
One worker, identified only as being with Kamloops MCFD, did most of the talking.
It was recorded on June 16, two days after newborn Baby H was seized at the hospital.
Social workers had initially tried to take the baby 90 minutes after she was delivered on June 12 but the baby’s grandmother warded them off.
In the recording, Baby H’s shell-shocked dad said, “I still see no reason why (mom) and I aren’t capable of loving our child and taking care of her.”
The Kamloops social worker said, “I don’t think anyone is saying you’re not capable of loving (Baby H). Everyone’s concerned about baby being cared for and her immediate basic needs being met and we don’t have time to assess that.”
Instead of taking that time to assess, the agency deemed the child as being at a high risk for injury or death and that declaration alone is enough to seize an infant.
Listen to the Recording:
The social worker, whose name the family doesn’t remember because they’ve dealt with a revolving door of social workers from multiple agencies over the past two weeks, went on to explain that from birth until the child was taken 48 hours later, medical staff at the hospital reported the baby was being neglected.
The family denies this and said when mom wasn’t tending to the baby it was because she was medicated by doctors.
In the recording, the Kamloops social worker admonishes the father saying, “(Mom) can’t even be roused for this meeting because she’s so out of it.” The baby’s dad replied incredulously, “Yeah, from the prescription medication she was given from her doctor.”
The social worker advised the distraught father that,“We’re not going to change our decision. Time will change our decision, how you interact with support services outside the hospital and engage in child-centered services. So learning about child-centered cues and learning what it looks like to be a parent, I think, we need to see you demonstrate that in the services before we’d consider allowing the baby to be returned to your care.”
When APTN broke this story the family said they’d been told by at least one medical staff that social workers wanted to apprehend the baby because someone had called them before Baby H was born and said they would be unfit parents.
Another hospital staff member told the family that a social worker told them they were apprehending because the couple is homeless, later changing the story to say it was because they lived in a group home.
Neither is true.
The couple lives in a two-bedroom apartment.
The social worker heard on the tape only mentions the mom being sedated in the hospital as reason for the concern of neglect.
The paternal grandfather says these are first time parents, adding they have no previous interaction with child protective services, and they don’t drink or do drugs.
Tiffany Evans, a Metis mother who was featured on APTN InFocus last month, knows too well what happens when medical staff decide to paint a negative picture of a family and involve child protection workers.
Her son was seized from a Winnipeg hospital in 2013 when he was five months old after a doctor decided her sick child was being starved by his mother.
There was no medical evidence of this – just the doctor’s hunch.
After the doctor made that clear to staff, the child’s medical file was suddenly filled with entries from other medical staff that took the tone of the doctor.
Soon after he was apprehended by Manitoba Child and Family Services, tests showed the baby had gastroesophageal reflux disease, which explained the vomiting and weight loss.
These symptoms continued in foster care, according to daily care logs, but despite this, government employees fought the family in court to keep the child in care.
After 10 long months and $200,000 in legal fees, the Evans family got their child back when he was 15 months old.
They’d missed many of his firsts while he was in care.
(Baby H just after being born)
APTN provided Evans with the audio recording from the Baby H matter.
She said it reminds her of her own family’s ordeal.
She’s well versed in the foster system from working within it as a respite caregiver for children with high needs before her son was seized, and also from fighting the system tooth and nail to get him back.
She’s concerned that social workers heard on the tape take an authoritative and condescending tone with the baby’s father and maternal grandmother (the baby’s mom was asleep from post-surgical medications when the meeting was recorded).
“It seems like they’re placing hurdles to aggravate the family and make them angry to prove they are unfit,” Evans said.
She suggests the parents immediately get the baby’s health records from the hospital to see what exactly the medical staff wrote because if MCFD seeks custody and a court grants it, those records won’t be available to her biological parents.
APTN also provided the recording to Jillian Wheeler, a former Manitoba social worker who had been involved in many child apprehensions during her career before getting out of the business because she felt it was too often about seizing kids who didn’t need to be, and ripping families apart – mostly Indigenous ones.
After listening, she was appalled.
“What I’m hearing is mom was put on powerful pain meds after a C-section and therefore drowsy. Other family members, including dad, are ready to help and parent and they are denying them this,” Wheeler said.
“Most first time parents have questions and aren’t made to take a class or not be able to take the baby home,” said Wheeler, who advocates for parents of apprehended kids on many social media pages.
She also took issue with the social worker who said they “don’t have time to assess” if the baby would be safe in the parents’ care.
“The social worker didn’t do her own investigation and how can there be multiple staff reports in 90 minutes?”
Baby H is 13 days old today, June 25. She’s been in foster care for 11 of those days.
Her dad says they’re getting over their shock and disbelief and focusing on “getting her back soon.”
Her parents have had two visits with her but were late by a couple of minutes for one, as the mother struggles to walk the 30 minutes to the visitation location, due to the major surgery she had to deliver the baby. A social worker reportedly told them if they were ever late again, all visits would be cancelled.
The father’s home community has also gotten involved.
“There are no grounds to take that child and no need for that child to have gone through this,” said Dr. Rohan Ghatak, health director for Tl’etinqox band.
“We’re trying to come to a reasonable understanding so we can get things right.”
(The mother with Baby H just prior to the infant being seized by social workers)
The paternal grandfather says both parents are frustrated and exhausted and disappointed a mediation meeting discussed for Tuesday didn’t happen ahead of the court date set for Friday.
“(Agencies) are playing all kinds of games,” said the grandpa. “(The parents) are under a lot of stress. I took my son to a sweat lodge . . . to help out but they have a lot of anxiety and stress.”
He also believes they were stereotyped.
“They saw them as being vulnerable and this being an easy baby to take and when the family stepped up they did everything to keep the family out of it.”
The B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development responded to the incident Friday via an emailed statement that, in part, said, “We know that children thrive when they are able to be with their families, connected to their communities and their culture; and that the first few days with an infant are critical – not just for bonding, but ensuring that their needs are met, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
But despite knowing this, they apprehended Baby H.
The ministry says it can’t discuss specifics but “is focussed on balancing the safety of a child or infant and keeping kids with families or extended family.”
Baby H is not with family or extended family. She is in a non-Indigenous foster home – something Wheeler points out violates MCFD’s own policy.
As for having any grounds to take the baby, the ministry would only say “by law, the ministry can only remove if the child is in immediate danger and no less disruptive measures are available.”
32 thoughts on “Audio recording of B.C. social workers reveals hospital staff called to report neglect of 90-minute old infant”
Seems to me that these new parents, so distraught, would make damn sure they would be on time, I’d be EARLY if it were me, for a visitation. If you have to jump through their hoops, at least TRY to make an effort. If this couple has so much extended family support, why is the new mother having to WALK thirty minutes? No one could drive her? They couldn’t leave on time? There’s always more to stories like this; whether indigenous parents, white parents or persons of color.
“They’d missed many of his firsts while he was in care.”…can someone please explain why people refer to the state depriving an infant from their very own unique Mother, being “in care”? It seems this baby is currently “out of care”.
What an infuriating story. Because of the racial prejudice of the health worker who made the complaint 90 minutes after a c-section (90 minutes!!) and racial prejudice of the social worker involved and the mandated racial prejudice prevalent in the department of social services we are lucky any of our kids make it out of the hospital. Shame on those involved. When we want them to protect a child they don’t give a rats ass yet here they are saying see we do a good job.
This is genocide.
Social worker’s head should roll, pompous ass
Once again the ministry is taking easy kids away from vulnerable young parents. They want the kids to keep up their quotas because more often it’s about them and not the family’s and keeping them together.
Wow and depriving an infant of parentls bonding is the answer? The ministry damages this child every day it’s away from its parents but hey that’s wht they do. Create victims for later business. My daughter was not even allowed to see her baby after a csection until she could move her legs. Prob more than 90 min. But of course social workers and nurses with false information were giving her the runaround too. Wanting to drug test her and the baby because when she found out she was pregnant she told her doctor she had smoked marijuana before knowing she was pregnant. She was 17. Lies about me had her unable to come home and get my support for a month after birth. The ministry does not help kids they harm 100%. They destroyed my family and the judge in my.trial reprimanded them for their abuse of power. I am so sorry for what they are going through. This baby needs her parents. Ministry doesnt care about the babies needs. Look at all the paychecks this case is paying. Vultures. Disgusting inhuman vultures.
This is horrifying
Very disturbing article.
This is another Missing Indigenous Girl
Baby H has been kidnapped
I’ve been looking for coverage of this news on CBC & Global, nothing!!
Please get this out to people who can help
This is heartbreaking! I strongly believe that the social worker, the hospital Starr & the doctor are wrong!!! The. Babe should be given back to the parents!!!
I am going through the same thing in Alberta. they took my baby from the hospital saying that even tho I was housed they don’t consider me to
be stable enough to have her until living in the same house for a year.claiming this is community standard but they have shelters for families where they go to a different church nightly to sleep because of homelessness and they don’t loose their kids. Community standard doesn’t exist it’s based on the individual investigators interpretation of the so called standard. They also say my partner is abusive but there are no reports to substantiate their aligations. I have asked many times who I can talk to about my concerns with child welfare I was told their teamt lead bu its the team lead that makes the choices in the first place he it’s the , there is no independent whatch dog for child welfare. we have independent boards for every other level of government to make sure they do their job appropriately but child welfare governs themselves. they don’t have to prove their aligations. instead they say what they want and it’s on you to prove otherwise. the court system is more like civil court and if you need legal aid (most do) it’s garanteed that your lawyer has or is working with them as clients in other cases against other families. to me it seems like a huge conflict of interest. ive been told that I have to agree with their aligations and do the things demanded because if I fight them in court the judge will likely side with them and I will loose my kids. we all could use extra parenting classes but when I have given documents disproving their claims they still tell the judge otherwise and demand I do what they want or it sum how is proof they are right. to say that you hurt or neglect children is a criminal offense but they don’t need anything other than their word to convict you taking what means most to you slandering your name treating you like you are nothing, this is a broken system they don’t seem to investigate people who are above lower income. when you go to court the room is full of parents fighting for their kids but all are dressed casually the only ones who can afford the presentable court attire are the lawyers and child welfare workers. I do not believe only poor abuse or neglect their kids but that’s the message I’ve seen in the court room. they prey on the lower income families because they can’t afford a real lawyer that actually fights for them and unfortunately lower income people are more likely to be undereducated expecially as to rights and how to communicate in a way that is heard. we say this is a free and fair country that they ended residential schooling but really all they did was stop picking on one racial group and pick on all the poor regardless of race. no matter how you look at it it’s a business kidnapping children to support job security and here in Alberta business is booming can’t even get a lawyer from legal aid because all the lawyers have already full case loads so I am left without proper representation against trained lawyers to hopefully get my daughter back
Disgusting. MCFD should focus on actual cases of neglect!!! How many children have died in homes because they were overlooked by social workers and nothing done. This is appalling. this couples band(s) need to step up, fight, and make a case of discrimination.
…another baby in #$$fostercare, noone cares but the biological parents.
We are caring biological parents. We want the best for our Child.
And then when she and her husband express their shock and outrage at the way they are being treated, they are labelled as unstable and having anger issues.
This is what happens when government has too much power.
It’s obvious the social worker needs to take courses to educate herself on the medications a woman is given during a c section. And shame on the medical staff for initiating that call 90 minutes post c section. It’s imperative that ALL persons working in medical and social programs take courses on Indigenous studies to limit the bias that is rampant in our society. This type of ignorance is what perpetuates discrimination. If we put a blind fold on, and listened to what was actually taking place, they would hear a loving and caring family and extended family. I wish the family all the best, and may justice be yours!
How is this still happening? The entire country should be appalled over this. Such blatant racism and deliberate malice.
And when she and her husband express their shock and outrage at the way they are being treated, they are labelled as unstable and having anger issues.
This is what happens when government has too much power.
There needs to be an inquiry with all of the medical professions in bc especially in the north..does anyone know how we can start this process?
This is appalling and horrifying! I can believe that this happens here, because while we may be very polite to other cultures, Canada is racist to our indigenous communities. THIS NEEDS TO STOP. This is unacceptable!!
When CPS took my baby from the hospital, they took her before i even woke up from anesthesia and they said it was because the hospital said i was going to have to stay in the hospital because i had pre eclampsia. Then they wouldn’t allow me to visit her or even met her for the first time ever until two months later because they were busy and had scheduling difficulty during the holidays. By then i already did everything on a parenting plan and they would never give me any type of increased visits. Just once a week. They would not give me an adjudication hearing. I begged them to please give me a hearing all the time…but months went by… A year went by. My attorney finally got an emergency adjudication hearing and the cps atty said she needed to continue this as she was not prepared because she was only notified x days ago. So my attorney said you’ve had 10 months to prepare for a hearing that by law is to be done within 30 days! But the judge said it was continued. So finally after a year and two months… They gave me an adjudication hearing. The same judge ruled no adjudication and my baby came home immediately. The judge ruled they never had any legal basis to take her.
UPDATE : 4 months later the old foster parent called the police with false allegations and cps took my baby and gave her directly to the old foster parent. She has been taken from me once again.
I am in the same situation, my first grandchild is still in foster care and he’ll be 1 years old Aug 10,2019. Taken at birth without the consideration of placing him with me. When they did consider it, I had passed the home study and safety assessment, I get a 2 hour supervised visit. Medicine Hat CFS has so far deprived him of any and all traditional and cultural way of life.
Next court is Tuesday July 2nd to take my son for Permanent guardianship. Mother is not in baby’s life.
When my wife had twins by c-section she was out of it for 24 hours. I stepped in and fed and cared for the children. When most women have a c-section they are out of it for at least a day. BC children “service” should be investigated by an independent 3rd party. This is happening WAY to much in a disproportionate amount. This is Colonialism/racism, pure and simple.
I do not think you will find a more dysfunctional and racist ministry than the MCFD. They regularly violate their own policies, their ill trained, ill mannered, and racist “social workers” seem to operate on a quota system of how many apprehensions they can do in order to justify their continued existence. The truth of any matter is not sought at all, they make it as difficult as possible on those whose children they stole, as well as anyone who might speak out in protest of their illegal behaviours!
This “ministry” must be swept clean, and rebuilt from the ground up, charges should be preferred against those in charge, as well as those who make the decision to kidnap, (yes, kidnap!) these children and who chose to continue to persecute the families of those children. I firmly believe this is the reason for the genesis of “privacy concerns”, that the bureaucrats have a place to hide so they can carry on their reprehensible acts with impunity!
I would suggest that more children are harmed or killed because of this “ministry” than it ever manages to “protect”!! A pox on the management of this blight in our society!!
Walahi I an seething mad, I am almost blind with rage
Unreal. In less than 2 hours the mother was supposed to recover fully to be present with the baby? And someone decided none of the family was fit to parent while she recovered??? The baiting tactic is well-known in rcmp and police measures as well. They try to bait you into reacting in angernso that they can act on that. F’in BS!!!
the recording will not play audio for me 🙁
this is an utter disgrace!!! over reaching MCFD workers … wow..
the grounds for apprehension appear to be questionable at best. The fact the social worker had no time for an assessment is far from a reason to remove the baby from the parents care. There is no mention of a doctors input as to the Mother being under sedation. I think it is time for a lawyer and a lawsuit. Unless of course the CPS is going to do this with every Mother that has a C section in order to justify their actions. As for the staff, I doubt that they called neglect 90 minutes after birth. Any report the CPS got prior to the birth is really non admissible as they weren’t parents yet so how can they prove they were unfit? Somebody is making excuses to cover their butts big time.
I can’t believe that why?? are they racist??
Canadians have been seizing children from FN since we got here. This is genocide and it is time for Canadians to end this shameful practice and the entire mindset that makes us feel entitled to destroy a culture that has lived here for 30000 years.
This makes me livid.
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