Police remove baby as family members cry, cuddle the child and then carefully place her in car seat
Staring down at her child’s tiny hospital wristband, the mother of a newborn girl whose apprehension into care was streamed live on Facebook spoke out about her pain during an emotional press conference Friday morning.
The mother, who can’t be identified because her child is currently in care, said she was “blindsided” by the apprehension by Winnipeg Child and Family Services because she said she had made arrangements to have her aunt take over guardianship of her baby.
“It’s a huge letdown,” she said.
The baby was picked up around 4 p.m. CT Thursday, the family said. The widely viewed Facebook video prompted a First Nations family advocate to hold the news conference Friday morning.
Melanie Ferris, communications officer for the First Nations Family Advocate Office at the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, said the baby girl was two days old when she was seized Thursday by Winnipeg CFS.
Her mother, 38, is living in Winnipeg and a band member of Garden Hill First Nation, Ferris said. The man filming the video is her uncle. Another woman in the room is her aunt.
Cora Morgan, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs First Nations family advocate, said the family had been in touch with CFS prior to the birth to make arrangements because they suspected the agency might have concerns with the mother. The mother was looking for help with parenting skills and addiction issues, Morgan said.
But when the mother arrived at the hospital via ambulance to deliver, a CFS worker told her that the baby had to be apprehended then because someone said she was intoxicated when she arrived at the hospital, Morgan said.
Morgan said family members spoke to doctors who told them the mother was not intoxicated when she arrived.
Morgan also says the family was contacted by CFS soon after the video was posted Thursday, with a warning to take the video off of social media.
“CFS phoned and said ‘you take that down or you’ll have a harder time getting your baby back’,” said Morgan.
“So they were threatened that they needed to take that video down.”
“When I was holding my baby, she was keeping me content, strong, focused,” the mother said.
“I’m still hopeful things will work out in positive way.”
In the Facebook video, which the post says was filmed in a room at Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Hospital, the baby girl is cradled by her mother, seated on a hospital bed and surrounded by sobbing family members.
“I’ll make it better for you,” the crying mother said to her baby at the beginning of the video. “You deserved much better.”
Police insist the baby has to be taken away. The family asks if they can have more time to say goodbye, if they can wait until other workers arrive, whether a family member can take the newborn and when the mother will be able to visit her again.
Read the full story at CBC News.
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