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Baby Rescued from Mother
March 1, 2008 permalink
Police in Edmonton have saved a baby from his worst enemy — his mother. But police report that he is safe again after being recaptured. Now he can look forward to the same loving foster care given to Charles Manson.
March 1, 2008
Mom steals own baby
Takes one-day-old child from hospital without legal custody
By NICKI THOMAS AND GLENN KAUTH, SUN MEDIA
A communication breakdown may have allowed a 19-year-old mother to abduct her own child from hospital yesterday - but there are no problems with security measures, says a Capital Health official.
"This was not a random child abduction by a stranger. This is not something that should cause a lot of anxiety to other parents. This is a case that does happen very rarely when social services are involved," said spokesman Steve Buick.
Just after 10 a.m. yesterday, police were alerted by staff at the Royal Alexandra Hospital that a woman had left the building with her one-day-old child, of whom she did not have legal custody.
Minutes later, the woman - who cannot be named under the Youth and Family Enhancement Act - boarded a bus heading toward Castledowns.
"She didn't have anything on the baby except a blanket. We thought it was a doll," said Arlene, who was on the bus with the woman and later called a social worker at the hospital when she became concerned about the mom's behaviour.
"I was thinking that it wasn't a baby - the way she was holding it. It was almost like a rag doll in her arms," said Arlene, who didn't want her last name used.
She added the mom was very fidgety and seemed paranoid.
The mom got off the bus near 122 Avenue and 97 Street and took a cab to her home at the Evergreen Mobile Home Park, where police located her and the baby.
Children's Services spokesman Heather Massel couldn't say specifically why the mom had lost custody of the baby, but said an apprehension order is generally carried out when a parent is unable or unwilling to care for the child.
She said the baby is safe and in the care of children's services. Buick said that babies are often taken into custody - a couple of times a week at the Royal Alex alone - and judgments are made in each case about necessary security measures.
"It's hard to predict the way a new mom will react to the news that her baby is going to be taken into custody. Everybody involved makes their best judgment about how an individual mom will react and most of the time, that judgment is (that) it will be OK. Once in a blue moon, literally every few years, that judgment won't work out the way that people had in mind and the mom will just react badly and run off with the baby," he said, adding the last time this happened was six years ago.
Despite losing custody of her child, the mother was allowed regular access to the baby, said Buick.
"Her being with her baby was exactly as it should have been. The judgment about apprehension does not necessarily mean that the mom shouldn't have any contact with her newborn baby," he said.
Buick admitted there may have been a breakdown in communication between staff and social services regarding the apprehension order and Capital Health will be looking into what happened.
"In a busy unit like this with a number of patients going through it, it's very possible that someone who had just come on shift didn't know that this order had been made and may have given mom a wrong impression," he said. "We should have been watching more closely than we were and if there's any improvement we can make, we'll look for how.
"The bottom line is there wasn't any extra security required, so it wasn't really a breach of the security measures. There's no way that it would be good for this family or any other family for us to start putting armed guards outside every door in these units. This is a risk we have to manage and it's a very, very tiny risk."
Police will not be laying charges against the mother.
Source: Edmonton Sun