Baby H, the B.C. infant who was seized from hospital after medical staff reported her mother was neglecting her 90 minutes after having a C-section is back in a stranger’s care after her aunt asked for a break.
The child, who is now five weeks old, hasn’t lived with her parents in that time and has been bounced from foster home to foster home to an aunt and now to another non-Indigenous foster home, says the grandfather.
“Not sure if she is with the same people or not. Could be her sixth (home),” said the frustrated granddad.
The two-day-old baby was controversially taken June 14 from the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, B.C. Staff and social workers complained the mother wasn’t caring for the baby 90 minutes after she had surgery.
The grandfather said medical staff told the family that Ministry of Children and family Development social workers told them that the couple is homeless, then changed their story to that they live in a homeless shelter.
The couple in fact, lives in a two bedroom apartment.
(Baby H and her parents at the Williams Lake courthouse. Social services returned the infant on the eve of a court hearing. Photo courtesy: the Family)
In a meeting recorded June 16 two days after the hospital apprehension 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.”
An unidentified Kamloops MCFD social worker is 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.”
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.”
After that she was taken to a foster home in Williams Lake where her parents live.
She was abruptly taken home one night on the eve of a court appearance and given to her parents on the condition one of the baby’s grandmothers stayed with them.
The next day the grandmother left after a dispute about child care and called police who returned with social workers to take the baby again.
APTN News cannot name the baby or her family as she’s in government care.
APTN has not been able to independently verify this information or the status of the relationship between MCFD and the family.
Her grandfather said MCFD staff are also no longer in communication with the family because they started recording meetings with social workers over concerns the ministry was saying one thing and doing another.
The recording below has been edited by APTN News for length, and to redact personal information
In a meeting last week, social workers are heard telling the family things won’t proceed if they’re recording meetings.
A male social worker with MCFD says “we’re concerned you’re recording the meetings so if you’re going to be recording us, and we don’t consent to that, and ask you to leave if you’re recording us.”
A female social worker with MCFD then says “not asking you to leave but the meeting won’t proceed, OK. We brought some pens and paper if you want to take notes, you’re welcome to do that.”
The grandfather is heard saying “I’ve never been to your white mans’ school, I don’t write worth a shit so if you’re ashamed of what you’re doing and don’t want a recording, admit it.”
The woman told the family “I’m happy to take notes for the purpose of today’s meeting and give you a copy.”
In the end social workers left the meeting and have had no further communication with the family.
APTN obtained the number of one of the social workers heard on the recording and called Friday.
It went direct to voicemail and his message said “I’m unexpectedly out of the office and do not know when my return date will be.”
MCFD also told the family to remove all social media posts about the questionable apprehension.
But it appears the social workers made up their own protocol around meetings being recorded.
“There is no policy prohibiting someone from recording their interactions with a social worker,” said a statement from MCFD.
As well, the nine-day silent treatment also appears to be contrary to their stated mission to “work with the parents and provide supports so that the child can be safely reunited with the family.”
Baby H’s mother and father are first-time parents in their early 30s.
The chaos created by MCFD has taken a toll on them mentally and emotionally, said the granddad
“Right now they are both pretty depressed over the whole bullshit,” he said.
“The infant’s aunt has been caring for her but is “taking a break.”
Meanwhile MCFD says they’re reconsidering how they seize newborns.
A statement to APTN said “we are actively reviewing our policies around hospital alerts and are guided in this work by our commitment to keep children and infants with their families or extended family.”
APTN has made a number of requests to speak with Katrine Conroy, the minister of Children and Family Development.
She has not made herself available for an interview.
A petition demanding the B.C. government return the baby to her parents has garnered over 3,700 signatures so far.
And someone started a GoFundMe campaign to help the family get a lawyer to bring the baby home.