News / Calgary

Newborn taken from Calgary mother 24 hours after birth

Extensive paperwork shows no concerns during pregnancy

Angie had her child taken by social workers not long after she gave birth. Paperwork from the department cites child neglect, yet she had not left the hospital.

ISTOCK

Angie had her child taken by social workers not long after she gave birth. Paperwork from the department cites child neglect, yet she had not left the hospital.

Less than 24 hours after she gave birth to her child, Angie left the hospital distraught with an empty carseat and a form that read "Notice of Apprehension" with an X marking the spot reading "the child is neglected by the guardian."

Angie gave birth at the South Health Campus Tuesday.

"I had no idea that they were coming to take my child," she said. "I don't know how I could still be in the hospital's care and still be neglecting my baby."

In a friend's home, where she was going to bring her newborn home from the hospital, Angie was in tears.

She had been working in landscaping throughout her pregnancy and living in an RV until she decided to spend her income assistance cash, $627, on baby items and find a place to transition until she could afford to rent a home for her and her child.

The mother doesn't hesitate to say she used coke and meth recreationally, and has been clean for a year. She has prenatal forms saying as much with doctors jotting down notes about her social situation that read "no concerns."

Extensive documents viewed by Metro from doctors' visits during pregnancy and the midwife who helped with delivery show no indications of substance abuse, or concerns about the child's health.

"There's never been any drug use in my pregnancy – at all – I wouldn't be showing up to my prenatal visits or having all the blood tests done if I had anything to hide. I'm starting over, starting fresh," she said.

Alberta Human Services isn't able to comment on specific cases due to privacy provisions in the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, but the Ministry of Human Services wrote in an email statement that they will be "looking into the specific circumstances surrounding this case."

Human Services did say, "A child is only apprehended as a last resort when their safety and well-being are at risk. Unless the child is at immediate risk, our first step is to try and work with the parent or guardian to support the child in their home."

The statement continues to say that action to take the child away is sought through a court apprehension order where a caseworker must demonstrate to a judge that the family cannot ensure the safety of a child.

During her brief conversation with the social workers, they brought up her drug use and asked her to take a test, and agree to a home visit.

"We were sitting in the South Health campus…and you're telling me they couldn't have took me downstairs and done drug testing – which I asked for," she said. "I offered for them to follow me home to where I was taking the baby, they wouldn't do that either."

Angie has done the drug testing they asked, results that take seven days to complete. She's also been trying to contact the office for a visit with her child and hasn't heard back yet.

She said in checking in with her midwife she's found out that her child is now in foster care.

"They won't help me financially, but they're going to give her to a foster family? She needs to be with her mom."

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