By Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — A family trying to get back a newborn who was seen in a social media video being taken away by police in a Winnipeg hospital is to be back in court in March.
The video of the infant was broadcast live on Facebook by the woman’s uncle in January, and First Nations leaders have said it shows a child-welfare system biased against Indigenous people.
The video shows the mother sitting in a Winnipeg hospital bed and cradling the newborn in her arms as social workers and police explain the child is being taken into care. The mother cries softly before officers place the newborn in a car seat and take her away.
The family cannot be identified under Manitoba law.
The General Child and Family Services Authority oversees the social workers who apprehended the baby but is no longer involved in the case. It has said it stands by its decision.
At a child protection hearing Wednesday, the case was moved forward to an intake court on March 21. The judge in that court will have more information from the newborn’s family and the First Nations child and family services agency, and will attempt to find a resolution.
If it cannot be resolved there, it will go to trial.
Statistics from the Manitoba government show that newborn apprehensions occur, on average, about once a day. About 90 per cent of kids in care are Indigenous.
Documents filed in court said there were two possible fathers of the newborn, and last week court heard a man had come forward saying he was the father.
The documents also said hospital staff believed the mother was drunk and smelled of alcohol when she was brought to the hospital to have the baby. In a news conference with family a day after the baby was apprehended, the mother and her family admitted she’d struggled with addiction and had sought help before and during her pregnancy, but they disputed the allegation she was intoxicated during labour.
The mother has said she would like the baby to be in the care of her aunt.