Manitoba investigates death of infant in CFS care

A four-month-old girl has died while in the care of a Manitoba child and family services agency this week, according to the chief of Sagkeeng First Nation.

Girl was fostered with Sagkeeng CFS and placed in nearby community, says Sagkeeng chief

A four-month-old girl has died while in the care of a Manitoba child and family services agency this week, according to the chief of Sagkeeng First Nation. 1:29

A four-month-old girl has died while in the care of a Manitoba child and family services agency this week, according to the chief of Sagkeeng First Nation.

Chief Derrick Henderson said the baby was being fostered with Sagkeeng CFS and placed in another community.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Manitoba confirmed it is investigating the death and that an autopsy is underway.

A spokesperson from the medical examiner's office said the child was living with a foster family in the Little Black River First Nation and died at a hospital in Selkirk, Man.

An RCMP investigation was also launched under the Fatality Inquiries Act after officers went to the Little Black River First Nation on Monday evening.

The RCMP said in a news release Wednesday afternoon that the infant's death is not being treated as suspicious and police involvement in the case has ended.

Was in care for a month, says father

The baby's father told CBC News on Wednesday that she had been in care for just a month before she died.

The father declined to say why his daughter was taken into care, but said he and the child's mother cared for her for the first three months of her life.

The baby died on Monday, just hours after the pair visited her.

According to Henderson, the foster mother performed CPR on the girl until help arrived, but the infant was pronounced dead at the Selkirk hospital.

The father said his family is devastated and he doesn't believe the little girl — their first child — should have been taken from them. Several family members had offered to take care of the girl, he added.

Keeping kids in the community is a priority, said Henderson, who added that he's shocked by the number of children in CFS care.

As of April 30, there were 456 children and youth in the care of Sagkeeng CFS, along with another 166 who have some involvement with the agency.

Plans are in the works to provide counselling for the baby's family, the chief said.