West Kelowna  

Newborn to be taken at birth

Last week we told you about Sydney Freeman and his girlfriend Amber Forsyth who were told their child would be apprehended at birth because they are deemed ‘unsuitable’ parents.

This story has garnered a lot of attention and questions have been asked about the background of the parents and why the Ministry of Children and Family Development feels they are unfit.

Forsyth openly admits the Ministry is basing their decision on her parental capacity on incidents that have occurred in her past. 

"I understand where the Ministry is coming from, they are looking at my past history, and they don't think we are not capable because of my past relationship," says Forsyth.

She confesses she was in an abusive relationship when her first child was born and was not strong enough to leave her former partner back then. 

Forsyth admits that at that time the Ministry offered to let her stay with her son if she left her boyfriend, but she declined.  However, some time later she did move in with the foster family and her son.

"I did go and live with them for three years, but I decided to move out last year because of concerns I had, and that is how I ended up in the relationship I have now. It is a really good relationship," she says as she smiles at her current partner Freeman.

"I (filed) a report against the foster parents (to the Ministry) of what my concerns were and they didn't hear my voice or my concerns." 

She claims her five and half year old son has faced neglect and abuse in foster care and she worries her unborn daughter will face the same fate.

Forsyth understands she was not a suitable parent five years ago when her son was born but says she isn't that person anymore.

“I feel disgusted, when they say you are not good enough, you will never be good enough to be a good parent. I mean there is no perfect parent out there, so many things can go wrong to anyone,” said Forsyth.

She says the incident happened over five years ago and Freeman isn't her ex, so the Ministry should reevaluate them both. 

"They need to do more of an investigation into who we are today and what has been going on, instead of doing nothing."

The couple says a lot has changed in five years, and they are both in a stable relationship now. 

"It is the past, why are they bringing up the past," says a tearful Freeman.

“When we first heard they were taking her at the meeting, we both broke down, we cried, because it wasn’t fair,” he adds.

The couple says they are more than prepared to take on the challenges of being parents and have even created a baby room and obtained all necessary supplies.

“It’s just upsetting to have everything here and think we won’t be able to bring the baby home, it is just not right,” says Freeman from the baby’s room.

They say another concern the Ministry is taking with them is that Freeman's father Ian, grandfather to be, was once charged with assault stemming from a family situation over 10 years ago. 

Ian Freeman says the incident was a one off and nothing of that nature has ever happened since.

He also told Castanet he asked the Ministry what their exact mandate was by not furthering the investigation into the current living conditions of the couple, and the decision to remove the child once born. He says he was given no answer.

Freeman says their family doctor who will assist with Forsyth's birth has been very helpful to them, and he wishes the Ministry would speak with their doctor as a reference. 

"He is an advocate for us and we trust him, my dad trusts him."

Forsyth says she is trying every avenue to keep her child and has offered to undergo a mental health as well as a Parental Capacity Assessment.

The couple now says they will be contacting their lawyer to see what can be further done to try and fight to keep their child.

“We are hoping they will actually give us a chance and not discriminate,” says Forsyth.

She also says as soon as her baby is born and they are all back home she will fight to get custody of her 5-year-old son back as well.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development will not comment on the specifics of this case, they did however issue the following statement to CTV:

The safety and well-being of a child is always the ministry’s first priority.
Removal of a child is only considered if there is concern about the family’s ability to safely provide care.
The ministry makes every effort to keep families together. In a case like this, we would look at placing the child with extended family – as long as they are assessed to be safe and appropriate to provide care.
In the case of a removal, the ministry must appear before the courts within seven days. A Judge makes the final decision about whether a child should remain in care or be returned to the parents.
Due to privacy laws, we cannot comment further.

-- With files from Jen Zielinksi and CTV 

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