Oct. 9, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government has received six recommendations from ombudsman and child and youth advocate Bernard Richard in response to the minister of Social Development's request for comments relating to a recent report from the Child Death Review Committee.
The report, issued following the death of a newborn whose parents were known to Social Development, advised the department to determine what actions the minister could or should take to protect unborn children who may be at risk of serious harm or death.
"I am hopeful that these six recommendations will be well received by the minister, and I hope they will be implemented in the very near future, before another tragedy occurs," said Richard.
The Office of the Ombudsman / Child and Youth Advocate recommends the enactment of legislation that would allow superior courts to intervene if an unborn child is thought to be in danger, especially when the parents are known to social services.
"We cannot sit idly by if there are strong reasons to believe that an unborn baby may come to harm once he or she is born," said Richard. "Even if the proposed legislation is rarely called upon, it will be well worth it if even one baby's life is saved because of it."
The recommendations emphasize the need for improved services for at-risk mothers; family planning education; and training for service providers on how to identify and treat pregnancy denial.
The recommendations suggest that support and help be available to women who abandon newborns or who have been in pregnancy denial. The recommendations state, however, that further research is needed about the effectiveness of Safe Haven legislation before such legislation is considered.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Following are the recommendations issued today in the ombudsman's recent report, Protection of vulnerable newborn children: A holistic approach. MEDIA CONTACT: Bernard Richard, Office of the Ombudsman / Child and Youth Advocate, 506-453-2789, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ombudsman's recommendations with respect to vulnerable newborn babies:
The following six recommendations were issued today from the ombudsman's recent report, Protection of vulnerable newborn children: A holistic approach. The report was forwarded to Social Development Minister Kelly Lamrock on Sept. 30, further to his request for comments.