VICTORIA, B.C. – Sonia Furstenau, B.C. Green Party spokesperson for children and families, says the breastfeeding action plan released by government today should be backed up by more resources to support new mothers and infants. The report comes after two court rulings found that the Ministry of Children and Family Development needed to do more to increase a mother’s access to her infant for breastfeeding and bonding and to consider the supports that were available in the mother's First Nations community to keep the family together.
“Today’s action plan is a step forward, however much more is needed, including funding for programs that will keep mothers and infants together,” said Furstenau.
“This announcement is focused on directives and research. What’s needed is funding to be provided so that mothers are given all the support necessary to ensure the bond between them and their infants is established and maintained.
“In too many cases, poverty is a root cause for removal of children. There were 500 infants taken from 2013-14 to 2017-18. 70% were Indigenous. This is absolutely unacceptable and Ministry needs to work diligently to change this. The trauma created when an infant is removed can create impacts for parents and the children that affect them for the rest of their lives. Hospitals need to be safe havens for mothers giving birth - the practice of removing an infant from a hospital needs to end in B.C., and programs like Fir Square and She-Way need to be replicated and funded in communities across the province.
“There are communities demonstrating leadership on this issue, including the Namgis First Nation, where there has not been a child apprehension in 11 years. The Ministry needs to learn from this leadership and make prevention and support its absolute top priorities if they are going to achieve better outcomes for children and families.”
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