OACAS applauds today’s decision by government to end the controversial practice of birth alerts.
“We know that in most cases, birth alerts cause harm,” says Nicole Bonnie, CEO of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS). “While their intention is to keep children safe, we acknowledge that they have negative impacts and unintended consequences for marginalized children and families, and in particular First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people, Black African Canadians, low income and transient populations, and those affected by substance use and mental health.”
Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario are committed to ending the practice of birth alerts in Ontario and to collaborating with the healthcare sector to develop best practices, options, and approaches to engage and support expectant parents and families.
OACAS has been actively working with child welfare leaders in Ontario to address the concerns about birth alerts since the release of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which recommended eliminating their use because of the disproportionate impact on Indigenous women. We were pleased to engage in the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services’ process to learn more about the birth alerts practice in Ontario earlier this year.
“We support an approach to child welfare that focuses on prevention and early intervention” says Ms. Bonnie. “Our goal as a provincial system is to provide services that strengthen families, while ensuring the safety and well-being of the province’s children and youth.”