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December 16, 2011 permalink
One way to avoid baby-snatching is to give birth at home and not register the baby. It is becoming more popular. Australian authorities are correcting the problem not by being less menacing to mothers, but by clamping down harder on them.
Babies born in secret
MOTHERS are giving birth secretly for fear of having their babies taken away from them, a parliamentary report has found.
Unborn babies flagged as at-risk - their mothers often young and with drug and alcohol and mental health problems - were disappearing from the system because there was no way of tracking them, the report said.
Committee members expressed concern women were "giving birth out in the bush".
Tasmania's child protection system was failing children and parents, the 288-page House of Assembly Select Committee Inquiry into Child Protection report released yesterday said.
The committee, which made 176 recommendations, also found a separate inquiry into the prostitution of a 12-year-old girl was not needed.
But it said: "The Attorney-General must immediately take such steps as required to satisfy himself that the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions to not prosecute other alleged offenders against the 12-year-old child was appropriate."
Among findings and recommendations are:
- A growing number of children whose births were not registered
- No parent should be denied legal help over custody after child is removed
- Many children in out-of-home care were not regularly at school and half surveyed said they had nobody to turn to for homework help
- A pilot specialised youth magistrate should be extended.
- The committee recommended more early intervention for unborn and young babies.
"If an unborn baby alert is placed on an at-risk mother, there must be a tracking system to notify if the mother has not presented to a hospital for the birth," the report recommended.
The Salvation Army had reported they were seeing more children whose births were not registered.
Liberal MP Jacquie Petrusma queried the Department of Health and Human Services.
"Some of these 16-year-olds must be giving birth out in the bush because these kids are suddenly arriving into the system when they are months old."
The DHHS staffer said: "If we communicate there is an alert in place, we need to weigh up the possibility of the mother fleeing and hiding away from Child Protection."
The report urged that parents who had had babies removed at birth needed support.
Source: The Mercury (Australia)