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N.S. called on to do more to help vulnerable pregnant women after ending birth alerts

Officials say the birth alert system disproportionately affected people of colour and other marginalized groups
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HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia advocacy group is calling on the province to offer more resources to vulnerable expectant families after the government ended its use of birth alerts.

The government said Tuesday child welfare services would stop alerting hospital staff about at-risk mothers and newborns who potentially needed protection, and it said it would instead appoint a support coordinator for vulnerable families.

Officials say the birth alert system disproportionately affected people of colour and other marginalized groups.

Martha Paynter with Wellness Within, a group that helps pregnant women in the justice system and helps criminalized pregnant transgender and nonbinary people, says the single coordinator isn't enough.

Paynter says the government must create a system that respects families' cultures, because birth alerts largely affected African Nova Scotian and Indigenous residents.

The government says it issued 80 birth alerts in 2020-21.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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