Sask. ending controversial birth alerts
REGINA -- Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Social Services announced on Monday that the province will stop issuing birth alerts on Feb. 1.
Social workers and health care workers were previously able to register an alert – without the consent of the parents – if there was a concern about an expectant mother and the safety of the baby. This allowed the Ministry of Social Services to be notified when the woman gave birth, which could result in the baby being apprehended.
According to a statement, the Ministry’s decision to end birth alerts is in line with the recommendations from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry -- which called for “an immediate end” to apprehending babies from Indigenous mothers right after they give birth in 2019 -- the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and the federal Indigenous child welfare legislation.
Janice Colquhoun, the executive director of Indigenous services with child and family programs at the Ministry of Social Services, said they will work with the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority, along with other partners, to ensure proper supports are available to expectant mothers – such as prenatal care, mental health and addictions interventions, and housing and income assistance.
The B.C. government announced it was ending the practice in September 2019. The Ontario and Manitoba governments followed suit in 2020.