News / Halifax

Case of newborn baby found abandoned in Halifax 'extremely rare:' province

Halifax Regional Police are still trying to identify the baby, who is in good health, and the parents.

The IWK hospital.

Staff / Metro Halifax

The IWK hospital.

Police are trying to piece together what happened in a rare child abandonment case in Halifax, but say they’re not “pointing fingers” at those involved.

Halifax Regional Police say between 4 and 5 p.m. on Sunday, an infant was spotted alone in the 6000 block of Quinpool Road.

“The baby girl was brought to IWK where ‎she was examined and deemed healthy,” a police statement on Monday morning stated. “Police and hospital staff were unable to identify the baby or her parents.”

The Department of Child Services now has custody of the baby.  Police said the baby is described as being of African Canadian descent and between the ages of four to five weeks.

Wendy Bungay, a director with child youth and family supports for the province, said it’s vital for parents in these situations to know “they’re not alone” and there are a variety of options for those feeling distressed.

Bungay said people who are struggling should talk to someone they trust like a family member, friend, doctor or other health representative. Child welfare is always there with offices in different communities and have social workers to help link people to community supports like family resource centres or other assistance programs, she said.

“We want to urge people to share their stress, and to confide in others so we can find a solution,” Bungay said.

The Halifax District Office for Child Welfare is at 6009 Quinpool Road, on the fourth floor of Willow Tree Tower. Their phone number is 902-425-5420, and other regional offices can be found at novascotia.ca.

Although the Halifax office is in the same block where the baby was found, police spokeswoman Const. Dianne Penfound wouldn’t confirm a specific address besides the fact the baby was wrapped in a blanket on a back step.

“We’re canvassing. We are going door to door in the area to see if anyone saw anything,” Penfound said in an interview. “We want to find out what happened here. What are the circumstances to leave a four-to-five week (old baby) alone like that.”

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.  

“It’s a very unusual circumstance,” she said. “We are not pointing fingers and out to get someone. We want to know the circumstances.”

When asked about angel cradles (or newborn safe havens) used at some hospitals in British Columbia and Alberta for anonymous drop-offs, Bungay said they’re not as needed in a smaller province like Nova Scotia. Luckily abandonment cases are “extremely rare," Bungay said, to the point where the province doesn’t keep statistics on them.

“Maybe one every couple of decades,” Bungay said.

There is also an after-hours line (1-866-922-2434) if you believe a child is in immediate danger.

Calling 211 is also a good option if you are not sure who to go to, says the Nova Scotia Health Authority.  - with files from Philip Croucher

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