B.C. family questions visitation schedule imposed on Baby H

Baby H and her parents at the Williams Lake courthouse. Social services returned the infant on the eve of a court hearing.

A supervised visitation schedule obtained by APTN News and imposed on a British Columbia couple fighting to have their newborn returned from the child welfare system, underscores the frustration expressed by those who say the system doesn’t work for families.

Baby H, who is now three months old, was taken by Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) workers from a Kamloops hospital two days after she was born in June, based on the allegation that the mother was neglecting the infant 90 minutes after she delivered by C-section.

The MCFD gave the couple, first-time parents in their 30s, a September visitation schedule that allows them supervised visits with their daughter.

It was devised without consultation of the parents, they say, including the dad who in taking university courses that conflict with the timetable.

Monday visits are from 10 a.m. until noon, Tuesdays from noon until 2 pm, Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursdays noon to 2pm and Fridays 9 to 11 a.m.

“Their schedule makes no sense,” said the paternal grandfather, as a baby’s naptime or feeding schedule doesn’t differ by day of the week but the times she’s available to her parents does.

“It can’t be good for a baby and they (MCFD) refuse to change it or even explain how or why they come up with it without consultation with the family.

Baby H’s father was told the schedule is not negotiable despite conflicts with his university courses.

The mother is able to see the child every day during those times.

APTN cannot lawfully name the family as the child is in care.

The parents say they’ve still not been told what the vague “safety concerns” are that are keeping them from caring for the girl, other than the “neglect” reported by the hospital.

In an audio recording after the newborn was taken  the soft-spoken, 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.”

A Kamloops social worker can be heard saying, “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.

The worker on the recording went on to say that in the first 48 hours of the baby’s life “numerous” medical staff made notes that the baby was being neglected. That’s why they showed up when the baby was 90 minutes old.

The family said the mom wasn’t responding to the baby’s cues because she was exhausted and either sleeping or sedated – not uncommon within 48 hours of having a C-section.

In the recording, the 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.”

Read More:

B.C. CFS moves in to seize 90 minute old baby on report of neglect

Audio recording of B.C. social workers reveals hospital staff called to report neglect of 90 minute old infant 

B.C. ends birth alerts but families question what it means for babies already in care 

The parents and their families have been fighting ever since to have the baby returned.

MCFD workers have had the infant in five foster homes in her short life.

No one in the Minister Katrine Conroy’s office has responded to request to clarify whether MCFD workers can impose a visitation schedule on parents without consultation.

The baby’s grandpa said that questioning case workers and recording meetings with them – which MCFD confirms is not against its own rules – along with the story being in the media, has resulted in punitive blowback against the family. Longer waits, fewer phone calls returned and seemingly no movement for a timeline to return the baby.

All of this comes as B.C. says it will end the controversial birth alert practice that separate moms and babies shortly after birth, and a damning review  of the child welfare system in B.C. that disproportionately preys on Indigenous families.

Host/Producer - Winnipeg

Melissa is a proud Red River Metis and award-winning journalist who has spent more 14 years covering crime, courts, politics, business and entertainment for newspapers in four provinces.
She then joined APTN Investigates in 2009 and APTN National News in 2018 and in that time has garnered numerous awards and nominations including from the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network (2013), Canadian Association of Journalists (2016, 2019) and Canadian Screen Awards (2018, 2019).

4 thoughts on “B.C. family questions visitation schedule imposed on Baby H

  1. Two issues are not clear to me about this absurd abuse of power:

    1) Why doesn’t the family sue? They should have had an attorney on this case the same day & take everyone down, from the hospital staff to the agency. Everyone belongs in prison & the family should be set for life with the punitive damages they should win.

    2) Breastfeeding is necessary for health. It is child abuse/neglect not to breastfeed. By taking this baby from her mother, the child is prevented from receiving breastmilk. By having foster parents feed formula, the infant is now ruined for life, truly neglected & abused. She should be able to sue for this when she grows up, but that will be too late to undo the severe health damage from being formula-fed. Breastfeeding is the most important aspect of infant health. Social services should not be legally allowed to prevent a child from breast-feeding. That alone should be punishable by life in prison for severe child abuse.

  2. wow, I can explain exactly why these heads have made so many different dates and times to see baby that’s how they trap you into maybe being late or forgetting what time the visit was at….. so that they can use any dumb excuse to prove you are unfit… What has happened to Our rights? Oh,ya… Agenda 21 and bill C-51…. way to go Canadians on voting for Us as Canadian citizens to have NO RIGHTS….. if it wasn’t already bad enough that Our Children According to Canadian Laws have no rights and no say Canada put children in the same catagories house items CHILDREN= POSSESSIONS…= SICK..+ Come on [people we need to take back rights as familys have all turned on one another we need to stand strong again with our family members thick or thin no matter the cost … I have fought for my 3 girls whom have all been in foster care since mid august of 2018 they were apprehended while I was in the hospital from a really bad hernia attack n my stomach I had left my girls with my boyfriend of 4 years whom my girls absolutely adored He passed away may 7, 2019 amd I wasn’t allowed to tell my girls about him passing away. My girls are 9,9 and 11. They are very intelligent girls and are very energetic , I think cps in Alberta honestly doesn’t give children enough credit. There was elligation that I was selling drugs because of my location at the time there was an abnormal amount of people knocking on our door when we first moved in ,and all the people knocking I didn’t know one of them, I think either my kids dads family or CPS themselves were sending and paying these people to keep knocking on my door to make me look bad like a drug dealer,someone had slipt a note under the door of the house while I was in the hospital ..the note saidplease stop selling drugs on this property , You are to dumb to sell drug you are caught on camera”. WOW…..what a joke!!! There was absolutely no opened investigation , through my CPS experience they first have to follow through with any alligations people made and then decide whether the sourses of the complaints are credible and I would bet my life that there was no credible witnesses except one which was a city cop and it hd nothing to do with drugs we lived directly across from the mall and the girls had took off while I was making supper caught shop lifting … well needless to say I grounded them and delt with it they never got caught stealing again … Anyways while I was in the hospital someone knocked on my door at 7am everyone in the house was still sleeping and so was my boyfriend, the person continued to knock until My one daughter answered and told the person to”come back later everyone is sleeping and moms in the hospital” ithink it was CPS … of course they would think perfect timing we can go get the police and apprehend the children while their mom is in the hospital and arrest her boy..he was suppose to be staying with his brother but I had know one else to watch my kids while I went in an ambulance to hospital .. I couldn’t move I couldn’t barely breathe… the doctor had given me some morphine and wow that was the most relief I had in three days I was like that …CPS now has my girls and the very first call they make is to my mother ..Of course they tell her a bunch of pure speculation and rumour and now my mother is so mad she wouldn’t answer my calls from the hospital … So Ya I would like to give a huge thankyou to slimmy CPS workers for turning my entire family against me thankyou for twisting the facts to benifet your own agenda … I have always though you all are nothing but a bunch of baby snatching creeps and one day all your sick little lies will be revieled

  3. I totally understand how BC takes indigenous children and put them in non native homes. I know first hand what they do to us. I had one heck of a time with them for over a year when they took my grandson into their care. The social workers say their intent is to keep first Nations children with their parents that a crock of bull crap. They either don’t reply to our calls or push us off to someone other worker that just came on to your case. I feel that BC family and children services are no different then the priest and Nuns in residential schools. I feel they enjoy distroying families
    and abusing the children they say they are protecting from loving parents

  4. This is criminal…racist and INHUMAN.Those nurses and the entire hospital should be charged with criminal harrassment along with promoting racial profiling. That this has occurred in 2019 shows the world how deeply racism is embedded in Canada. Our dirty and attempted cover-ups reveal that we have yet to truly accept responsibility for the racist behavior and actions against our first nations people. I am sickened by what I read.

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