Ottawa/Queen's Park



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Today, Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues, announced the province is eliminating the practice of birth alerts. Birth alerts (also known as hospital alerts) are notifications sent by children's aid societies to hospitals when they believe a newborn may be in need of protection.

Alternative approaches to birth alerts include providing counselling services such as birth planning services, pre-natal services and referrals to community resources and agencies that can provide support to expectant parents.

It has been reported the practice of birth alerts disproportionately affects racialized and marginalized mothers and families. Expectant mothers can be deterred from seeking prenatal care or parenting supports while pregnant due to fears of having a birth alert issued. Ending the use of birth alerts was a recommendation from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Birth alerts have never been required under provincial legislation and have been used inconsistently by children's aid societies across the province. Going forward, the government is directing children's aid societies to end the practice of using birth alerts by October 15, 2020. This means working with families, community partners and service providers to create a pre- and post-natal plan that supports the parents of newborns, to ensure more families stay together.

The government is undertaking an extensive review of the child welfare system, including the overrepresentation of Black, Indigenous and racialized children and youth.

source: media release, Ontario News





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