Indigenous newborn ‘Baby H’ returned to parents on brink of court hearing

“By law, the ministry can only remove if the child is in immediate danger and no less disruptive measures are available.”

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

Parents of a two-week-old baby who was apprehended shortly after her birth were preparing Wednesday evening to argue their case in court the next day when they were informed social workers were coming to their home to return the infant.

The paternal grandfather said social workers showed up at the couple’s apartment and told them if they could get one of their mothers to come stay with them, they could have the baby for the night.

While the first-time parents, both in their 30s, have argued they don’t need parental supervision to parent their infant, they complied with the demand and had the dad’s mother come stay the night.

They arrived at Williams Lake court with the baby Thursday morning for a hearing on the fate of their child who was seized at two days old from the Kamloops Royal inland Hospital after medical staff reported the mom was neglecting the baby 90 minutes after she had a C-section.

The family waited in court for four hours with the infant before they appeared before a judge.

“The judge was not happy with (the Ministry of Children and Family Development) for the almost three week delay,” said Baby H’s paternal grandfather. “The future is still up in the air, more meetings to get (the baby’s father) to work with instead of against them.”

The couple has been ordered to live with Baby H and her paternal grandfather.

Baby H

(Baby H with her mother moments before CFS tried to apprehend the infant)

Social workers had initially tried to take the baby 90 minutes after she was delivered on June 12 but the baby’s maternal grandmother held them off. They came back to the hospital two days later for a meeting with the family, which someone recorded.

APTN News obtained the recording. In it, Baby H’s shell-shocked dad is heard telling a social worker,“I still see no reason why (mom) and I aren’t capable of loving our child and taking care of her.”

The worker replied, “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 that day, June 14..

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.”

The parents and their families have been fighting ever since to have the baby returned. They were given four, two-hour supervised visits up until Thursday night when the infant was abruptly returned to their care.

Ministry of Children and Family Development workers told the parents earlier this week they’d consider returning the baby if they’d move in with one of the baby’s grandmothers. The court granted them the baby on this condition and the family is now making arrangements to move.

The baby’s dad says there’s no reason he and the mother need to live with one of their parents nor do they need to “learn what it looks like to be a parent” as a social worker is heard telling him on the recording, but they’ve agreed to all demands.

“We’ll do it. We have to if we want (the baby) back,” said the dad.

The family also questions why social workers demand the couple live with one of the grandmothers, yet the grandmothers weren’t worthy of taking the apprehended baby.

APTN requested an interview with B.C.’s Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy regarding the state of social services in the province but was told she was unavailable Thursday.

In an emailed statement, her ministry said, “By law, the ministry can only remove if the child is in immediate danger and no less disruptive measures are available.”

The family has not been made aware of any evidence their child was in danger.

The ministry also said they’re focused on “balancing the safety of a child or infant and keeping kids with families or extended family” but the baby was apprehended at the hospital and placed in a non-Indigenous foster home – not with family.

Baby H is 15 days old today. She missed 13 days of bonding with her parents while in strangers’ care.

Meanwhile, a B.C. legal aid organization is interested in working with the family to determine if there was a human rights violation.

“There is a hugely disproportionate number of Indigenous children being removed from their families by the Ministry of Children and Family Development,” said Amita Vulimiri, a lawyer with the Community Legal Aid Society in Vancouver.

“We are interested in exploring this issue through the lens of human rights: the B.C. Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination on the basis of specified grounds, including race, colour, ancestry and place of origin.

“If there is evidence that the Ministry is making decisions to remove children because they are Indigenous, this could support a claim for discrimination, pursuant to the Human Rights Code,” she added.


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15 thoughts on “Indigenous newborn ‘Baby H’ returned to parents on brink of court hearing

  1. This sounds like the “60’s Scoop” and it’s still happening today, right here in B.C.!

  2. 90 minutes old and yet the staff reported the mother? Billions of women have C sections across the world and the medical staff all help care for newborns til mother is feeling a little Better. Nobody took thier babies!!!! This is discrimination in it’s very apparent! This is sick! She hadn’t even had time to finish waking up from anesthesia and this social worker felt it best to take the baby! This is a hate crime right then and there! Abusing their authority to carry out a crime and they should be sued!

  3. Everything about this is messed up. With all the children actually needing help, they’re ripping newborns from sick mothers in hospitals. I had a hard labour and delivery and was very “out of it” for at least 24 hours. The hospital staff helped and we where released when I had recovered and my Son was nursing well.
    I couldn’t imagine the pain of having my Son taken while I was being stitched up and exhausted. Makes you wonder if they had a money offer somewhere for a newborn from wannabe adoptive parents.
    You don’t take a baby just because the mother is having a rough recovery. The babies other parent was there as well.

  4. I’ve been following Baby H’s story with interest, as I found it extremely interesting that H’s parents are so talented that their child was neglected in a hospital maternity ward during a period of 90 minutes after a C-section.

    Of course, we all know that every mother going through a massive, invasive medical procedure that involves giving birth to a tiny human should be able to dance the flamenco as well as pass a test in advanced calculus immediately post-operation and that Caesareans don’t hurt at all or require pain management.

    I’m honestly shocked that H’s mother hadn’t registered her child for kindergarten or for newborn oil-painting classes when she had an entire hour-and-a-half of time after getting her abdominal muscles and uterus cut open. I can see why people were concerned.

    It’s also quite fortunate that, at the penultimate moment before the court hearing, Baby H was returned to her parents on the condition that they live with her grandfather, who was previously denied the custody of said child.

    I do get that being a MCFD and social worker is not exactly the dream job everyone thinks it is. However, when yanking a kid from the custody of their parents on reports of 90-minute neglect, perhaps time should be allotted for an assessment of their situation. I know, I know, I’m asking a lot here. But everyone has their castles in the air.

  5. Racist genocidal Canadians strike again. NO CANADIANS we are not NICE we are self satisfied RACISTS committing genicide

  6. I would like to see this social worker investigated. I suspect they have a history of attacking indigenous parents.

  7. i’m curious their hospital protocol – after my csection i was in recovery for many hours…and the nurses/staff were always making sure (sleeping or not) that the baby got immediate feedings and learning to latch right away. This story doesn’t seem to make sense? How does one make a decision like that in only 90 minutes? So weird!

  8. This most certainly IS a human rights violation. My first two babies were cesareans and that is MAJOR SURGERY. Where is Mary Ellen Turpel Lafond in all this?

  9. I can’t believe I’m the only person responding to this. Something stinks. Children’s Services says they don’t have time to assess the situation, so they step in and just take the baby instead. Rather than hospital staff all writing notes about the inability of the mother they’ve overmedicated after her C section, why didn’t they just assist her. What is this world coming to? Children’s services and unhelpful hospital staff should get their acts together.

  10. I am concerned as to the level of sedation given to the mother. Medication abuse by nurses and physician is in this form. WHY was she deliberately given that level of sedation? She would have woken to no baby and no way to get him back! This was orchestrated by the hospital staff and Ministry. This isn’t just on the Ministry. This is on the hospital and the staff reporting to them. The hospital is just as complicit!

  11. Really, as if birth and/or cesarean isn’t enough to deal with, how this baby was apprehended is everything wrong with our Family and Child Services….consider the word SERVICES, if they and the nurses actually saw the brand new mom ignoring the baby then they should have placed a worker there to help the mom, how overwhelmed can you get, good grief.

  12. In the news a few years ago one of the reason to take a First Nations child into custody is to access government money. This is also why clean water is not a priority to fix. Dirty water means an unhealthy home which purports to justifies apprehensions. Governments would jump if an off-reserve community had a boil-water advisory. Look at Huskies spill! They had fresh water running to the affected community within days!! Some reserve have been on a boil water advisory for YEARS!! Yet First Nations have a $3 trillion trust fund which gets $35 billion/year in interest alone. Why are not ALL reserves provided with clean water?

  13. This reeks of 60s scoop, almost 60 years later. I was born in Williams Lake hospital I cant imagine how horrible this would have been had my own mother been targeted by these monsters after her C section

  14. This happens at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton on a regular basis.

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