Manitoba

Mother of newborn apprehended in live video says she's 'doing everything that CFS is asking of me'

The mother of a newborn girl whose apprehension by Manitoba child protection workers was shared widely on social media last week is still waiting to find out when — or if — officials will return her daughter.

Mom of week-old infant has had visit with daughter, court date since Jan. 10 apprehension

A family member hugs the mother and baby on a hospital bed as a police officer stands beside them in a still from the video shared on Facebook. The image has been blurred to protect their identities. (Facebook)

The mother of a newborn girl whose apprehension by Manitoba child protection workers was shared widely on social media last week is still waiting to find out when — or if — officials will return her daughter. 

"I am doing everything that CFS [Child and Family Services] is asking of me to ensure the return of my baby to my family," the mother said in a written statement released to media by the office of the First Nations Family Advocate on Tuesday.

CBC is not naming the mother to protect the identity of the child, who is in care. 

"My aunt and I had made private arrangements before my baby was born to transfer guardianship to her," the mother said in the statement.

"We are disappointed these were not followed but we are pursuing our goal to have my newborn baby placed in the care of my auntie as soon as possible."

Her baby was just two days old when she was taken by child protection workers, escorted by members of Winnipeg police, on Thursday at St. Boniface General Hospital.

An extended family member filmed the apprehension and streamed it live on Facebook. The video was watched and shared tens of thousands of times. 

Since then, the family has had one court date and one visit with the baby, according to Tuesday's statement.

They said they hope they will get a specific date on Wednesday for the baby girl's reunification with the family. 

Confidentiality rules prevent Child and Family Services from discussing details related to the reasons for the apprehension but First Nations Family Advocate Cora Morgan, and family members of the mother, say she sought treatment for addiction.

In a statement last week, the CEO of the General Child and Family Services Authority, Debbie Besant, said she was "confident" in the decision to take the infant away.

On Tuesday, the baby's mother said it was "traumatic" to see a "lack of empathy and compassion" during both the apprehension and at her court appearance.

CBC has reached out to the General Child and Family Services Authority for a response.


Read the mother's full statement:

"I am doing everything that CFS is asking of me to ensure the return of my baby to my family. My aunt and I had made private arrangements before my baby was born to transfer guardianship to her. We are disappointed these were not followed but we are pursuing our goal to have my newborn baby placed in the care of my auntie as soon as possible.

"This was my first pregnancy in 22 years. Like all mothers, I love my baby very much and want the best for her, which includes having a close bond with me. I had no idea that babies were being apprehended every day from their mothers. I am sad this occurs so frequently. It has been traumatic to witness the lack of empathy and compassion shown during the apprehension of my child and even during my first court appearance. I am thankful if my baby and I have brought some awareness to this situation that is happening here in Manitoba.

"I thank everyone for their messages of support and for their concern. I hope I can share good news about the return of my baby to the care of my family in the near future."

The apprehension on Thursday was captured on video and shared widely on social media. 0:55