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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A tale of two babies…

It was baby day last Thursday. One of my clients gave birth, and one of my coworker’s clients gave birth in another county. Sneaky that one, because now my coworker had to go seek removal in another county, one where the judge and attorney were not already familiar with the case. Here’s the thing. If someone is not safe for older kids who can tell you what is going on, how can it be safe for the most vulnerable of all, a newborn?

One hospital is totally cooperative. They would not release the baby without an okay from our department. They even were concerned that I didn’t have a “safety plan”. I had to explain that once I had a court order, I had custody and therefore no need for a safety plan, which is not legally enforceable anyway. My hospital cooperated and the baby was safely with a foster home for the weekend. My coworker was not so lucky. She did not get a phone call within fifteen minutes of birth, and an attorney got involved and came up with some plan to protect the mother’s rights. But what is more important in this case, a mother’s rights? Or the safety of a newborn? This attorney convinced the hospital that they had no right to try to insure the safety of the baby. A mother who had at least six other children removed for safety concerns was allowed to keep a newborn simply because there was a family member who was willing to sign a piece of paper.

 The hardest thing in the world is to legally remove a newborn baby from a mother in the
hospital immediately after birth. Even if the mother has been on drugs her whole pregnancy, even if there were injuries to another infant that were horrific, there is something that is beyond words about telling a brand new mother that someone else would be caring for this little human that just came out of her body. And it sucks. 

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