Newborns are being taken into government care at the same rate as in previous years following Saskatchewan’s birth alert in February.
According to Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Social Services, from 1 January to 31 March, 21 children under 30 days of age were apprehended. During the same period in 2020 and 2019, 23 and 22 infants were cared for respectively.
Saskatchewan ends birth alert February 1
The head of a household for at-risk mothers said that it is no surprise that infant apprehensions have not decreased much since birth alerts have ended.
“[Birth alerts are] In fact, the first layer of onions … leaves behind some of the systemic hurdles that marginalized people face in our healthcare and social service systems, “said Jameski Patrick, for Sanctium Care Group in Saskatoon Interim Executive Director.
Saskatchewan families had been subjected to birth alerts for decades, when social services or health care workers characterized expectant mothers as “at risk”. People in the province said that with 53 of the 76 warnings issued last year to Indigenous parents, Indigenous families were badly affected.
On several occasions, information about giving birth to newborns was taken into government care.
Social Services Minister Lori Carr directed the province to discontinue the dates of birth in December last year, with the last date being on 1 February. The ministry said two birth alerts were issued in 2021 before the practice was called off.
Ending the birth alert was a positive first step, Patrick said, but the province should invest in more services that address housing insecurity, substance abuse and mental illness.
Birth alerts have been removed in Saskatchewan, but what comes next?
“When you wrap support around … a mother who is in pregnancy who is facing some of those challenges, we are going to get better health outcomes for that mother and that child,” she said.
Central Urban Matias Federation Inc.
“Working with premature mothers when they are carrying a baby is definitely going to be necessary,” she said.
“The challenge is that sometimes when people need it, they are afraid to ask for help because they are afraid that the child will be caught.”
Children are taken into account only as a last resort, the Ministry of Social Services said.
“This may include a variety of factors such as the infant’s exposure to physical or sexual violence, or if the infant has medical needs or lack of prenatal care from exposure to drugs and alcohol and meeting those needs Parents are overwhelmed by what was already a crisis, ”said Toby Eberhart, Assistant Deputy Minister for Child and Family Programs, in an email statement.
In the latest budget, the province created a record $ 42.6 million in support services for vulnerable families. The ministry said that a number of new projects are working to develop additional supported living programs for vulnerable mothers and their children.
Sanctum Care Group received $ 740,000 to form a prenatal outreach team in Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Regina.
Patrick said teams of three would be operational within the next few months. They will connect Hope’s parents with health care and social support.
“We don’t have to wait until we reach the hospital point where we are more … reactive interventions,” Patrick said.
“Children who were in care often take care of the children. And so we really need to do this work to stop that cycle. ”
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