Manitoba

Family fears for 2nd seized newborn after 1st one died in CFS care

A Colombian family whose infant son died in the care of Child and Family Services says it's reliving the nightmare all over again, with their second child.

Family services minister won't comment, citing confidentiality, but family wants public to know

Samuel was apprehended by CFS three days after he was born. The family says they have no idea why, but they fear for him after Maria Burgos's first baby, Matias, was also apprehended and died in care. (Family photo)

A Colombian family whose infant son died in the care of Manitoba's Child and Family Services says it's reliving the nightmare all over again, with a second child.

Matias De Antonio was seized by CFS workers in Winnipeg just two days after he was born on Feb. 24, 2014. 

The family knows only that Matias died from lack of oxygen to the brain a month later.

The family told CBC News last year that the boy was put in a car seat, covered in a blanket and then driven for 38 minutes to his foster home by a CFS worker. The family was told when the driver got out to get Matias, he was blue.

The mother, Maria Burgos, now lives in Brandon, Man. 

On Sunday, Burgos gave birth to a baby boy, Samuel. Again, three days later, CFS workers removed the infant from the family's home.

The family, which includes Maria Burgos's two brothers who live in Winnipeg, says the agency has denied the mother any further access to the baby.

'They destroy our life' says child's uncle

Carlos said there was no reason for CFS to apprehend Samuel. 

"Everything was going [fine]. My sister was at the hospital. She had a C-section. She was recovering well. She was breastfeeding the baby," he said. "Why is this happening again? Is it going end up the same way it ended up last time, with my nephew dead again?"

Jo Burgos, one of Samuel's uncles, says the apprehension of the second baby was unjustified, like the first. (CBC )

He said even the way authorities apprehended the baby was wrong. 

"Two police officers, with two social workers, they showed up at my sister's house and they said they had an important message to tell her and ... Samuel was apprehended," he said. 

"There was no explanation why. They didn't say, 'The baby's apprehended because there's concerns,' nothing. This is Canada...they cannot just go wherever they want and take whatever kid they want. So we need an answer right now, what's going on."

Another brother, Jo Burgos, was distraught. 

"This is just too much for us. First it was my first nephew Matias. They destroy our life and they are doing it again. They are doing this again. My sister is very sad. Everybody."

The family is to meet with CFS officials in Brandon Friday. 

'Family kept in dark,' says Tory critic 

"Frankly we're appalled this would happen again," Progressive Conservative critic Ian Wishart told CBC News. "It's heartbreaking for the family."

Carlos Burgos, another of Samuel's uncles, said his sister, Maria was doing well after having Samuel by C-section and was breastfeeding the baby when he was seized. (CBC)
Wishart says in both cases, the family was never given an explanation by CFS as to why the children were removed or why the mother was deemed 'unfit' to care for her child.

He says they were also never provided with information about what led to baby Matias's death in CFS care.

"The [chief medical examiner's] report left more questions than answers. ... There was no inquest.... The family is being kept in the dark," he said. "Here we are again, moving to apprehend the child, with no proper explanation to the family.

The family's very concerned. They had little or no explanation with the last situation and I think have every reason to be concerned that something untoward may happen again."

Taking of 2nd baby raised in legislature 

Wishart brought up the issue with Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross in question period Thursday. 

"We're hoping the minister will do whatever is necessary to reunite mother and child.," he said.

But Irvin-Ross declined to comment in the legislature, citing confidentiality. 

Wishart said that's not acceptable. "Confidentiality does not include withholding information from the family," he said. 

Maria Burgos's brothers, Carlos and Jo, accompanied Wishart to the legislature.