The week’s health story is about birth alerts, where the Saskatchewan government made a firm decision concerning the topic. According to Mantyka (2021), the Canadian province has witnessed pregnant women, the majority of whom are first nations, labeled unfit to take care of their babies after birth. Birth alerts involve informing the ministry of social services about the newborns for apprehension when they are incapable of being nursed. The new change led by the minister of social services will include working with community stakeholders to devise ways of supporting expecting mothers. The ultimate goals will involve collaborating with community-based organizations that sometimes connect positively to pregnant women and develop proactive or front-end solutions.
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Some Canadian provinces have reported significant number of birth alerts. As reported by Mantyka (2021), Saskatchewan received about 76 birth alerts in 2020, and out of this number, 53 mothers were indigenous people. In the same period, 98 newborns have been apprehended in the same region (Mantyka, 2021). Birth alerts to minority groups are perceived as a discriminatory practice, and ending this will require investing in preventing discrimination to indigenous families and supporting pregnancy expecting mothers. However, although apprehension of children is an alarming issue debated to come to an end, it is deemed necessary when there is a need to protect newborns. The most suggested approach to the issue is implementing a family-centered program, where mothers get supports after being discharged from healthcare facilities
Saskatchewan is not the only Canadian region that has stepped forward to address the issue of birth alerts. According to Latimer (2021), British Columbia announced an end to newborns’ apprehension in Manitoba and Ontario. Some factors in the communities have been pointed as to why social services’ ministry considers taking children from their mothers. For instance, issues related to homeless, addiction, or substance abuse create risks in child care as significant prenatal gaps in the community.
The health story on the impact of long-term isolation is crucial because it raises concerns on the discriminatory issue that must stop. Birth alerts can lead to trauma to indigenous women due to child apprehension after delivery. Ending the practice will mark progress towards truth and reconciliation-a Canadian call for action. To make meaningful child welfare progress, all territories and provinces should follow those practicing care for minority women (Vang et al., 2018). Otherwise, there will be cycles of intergenerational trauma, deterring at-risk women from getting vital healthcare services. Child apprehension after birth is a critical issue as it can make it difficult for individuals to turn around their lives. For instance, if a parent has had her child apprehended before for being flagged at high risk, in the future, she can fear becoming pregnant even if her life has changed. Also, social service ministry can find value in educating parents on the importance of good parenthood.
To achieve the goal of eradicating birth alerts, all processes, policies, or practices in the provincial jurisdictions relating to the informing risks of newborns should be revised. However, this approach might not be enough to facilitate smooth child welfare systems that affect indigenous mothers. Other discriminatory practices exist and need scrutiny to ensure fewer children from indigenous families end up in care. Promoting a trusting relationship can be an effective way forward where a focus on children should change from red-flagging pregnant women to voluntary commitments. In that way, trust will develop between service providers or Canadian child support systems and indigenous mothers for safe parenting.
Latimer, K. (2021). Sask.’s decision to end widely criticized practice of birth alerts doesn’t go far enough: Experts. CBC News. Web.
Mantyka, W. (2021). ‘A timely decision’: Sask. to stop issuing birth alerts. CTVNews. Web.
Vang, Z. M., Gagnon, R., Lee, T., Jimenez, V., Navickas, A., Pelletier, J., & Shenker, H. (2018). Interactions between indigenous women awaiting childbirth away from home and their southern, non-indigenous health care providers. Qualitative Health Research, 28(12), 1858-1870. Web.