British Columbia ends practice of 'birth alerts' in child welfare cases
A newborn in shown in a neonatal incubator in this file photo. (Pixelistanbul / Istock.com)
VICTORIA - The B.C. government is ending a practice that allowed hospitals to inform child welfare agencies of possible safety risks to infants at birth without the consent of parents.
Katrine Conroy, the minister of children and family development, says so-called hospital or birth alerts have “primarily” been used in cases involving marginalized women and “disproportionately” in births for Indigenous women.
Conroy says the province is changing its approach in cases where children might be at risk.
Instead of alerts, Conroy says the province will work collaboratively with parents expecting a child to keep newborns safe and families together.
She says birth alerts are used by a number of provinces and territories, but B.C. is ending the decades-old practice effective immediately.
Conroy says Indigenous communities and organizations, as well as the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, has called for the practice to stop.