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Halifax police searching for parents after infant abandoned behind building

October 30, 2017 - 9:41 AM

HALIFAX - Police in Halifax are searching for the parents of a month-old infant who was apparently abandoned on the weekend, left wrapped in a blanket behind a business in a busy shopping district.

Investigators were called to a building on Quinpool Road just before 5 p.m. Sunday after Halifax Regional Police received a complaint about an abandoned baby.

Spokeswoman Const. Dianne Penfound said the baby girl was found on a step behind the building.

"She was assessed by (paramedics) and the staff felt she was healthy," said Penfound.

By Monday afternoon, police and hospital staff had yet to identify the infant or her parents.

"It's nothing I have seen (before)," said Penfound. "We're just trying to determine what the circumstances are that somebody would have left this child. Until such time we can talk to the person, we're sort of at a loss."

The provincial Community Service Department has taken custody of the baby, who is described by police as African-Canadian.

Under the Children and Family Services Act, the province can place an abandoned child in foster care for 72 hours before the case must be brought before a court.

"That allows us to be the decision-maker for the child while we make every effort to locate the child's parent or member of the child's family," said Wendy Bungay, the department's director of placement services.

After 72 hours, the department can seek a court order to place the child in its care of custody.

If the child's parents or a relative are located, the department must determine if it is safe for the child to be placed in their care.

"We have very specific obligations in terms of whether to bring the matter before the court," Bungay said. "Safety is always the number one consideration."

Bungay said she has never heard of a similar case during her 20-plus years with the department.

"It's extremely unusual in Nova Scotia," she said.

Meanwhile, police are continuing with their investigation and the department is monitoring a national alert system that lets child-welfare agencies know about high-risk births.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly said officers were called to the scene around 4 a.m.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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