NDP Introduces Bill to End Birth Alerts

Winnipeg, MB—Manitoba NDP MLA Bernadette Smith introduced a bill today which would help to end the practice of apprehending newborns of parents connected to Child and Family Services care—sometimes referred to as ‘birth alerts’.

Currently, CFS agencies may flag for hospitals an expecting parent or guardian who is currently in or has previously been in care.  If CFS agencies believe the parent or guardian is not able to provide proper care, the newborn may be apprehended.

Bill 227 The Child and Family Services Amendment Act stipulates no child is found to be in need of protection solely because the child’s parent or guardian is in the care of a CFS agency.

“Birth alerts are an unfair and punitive practice that targets families who have experiences in the Child and Family Services system,” said Smith. “It is our hope this bill will reduce the number of apprehensions and encourage community-based and culturally appropriate services that support struggling parents during and after pregnancies, rather than punish them.”