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Port Coquitlam abandoned infant highlights need for Angel’s Cradle, says doctor

Police and paramedics attend a townhouse complex in Port Coquitlam where an infant was found abandoned on Saturday.
Police and paramedics attend a townhouse complex in Port Coquitlam where an infant was found abandoned on Saturday. Shane MacKichan

A B.C. doctor is stressing that new mothers do have a safe alternative if they believe they are unable to care for their child.

It comes after Coquitlam RCMP confirmed that someone abandoned an infant in a Port Coquitlam townhouse complex Saturday afternoon.

Dr. Geoffrey Cundiff was instrumental in spearheading the Angel’s Cradle program at St. Paul’s hospital a decade ago.

Angel’s Cradle: A safe place to leave unwanted baby
Angel’s Cradle: A safe place to leave unwanted baby

“B.C. and Canada have a very strong social safety net, (so) I think many of us think we don’t need alternatives, but the fact that there are babies abandoned in the community are a testament to the fact that we are not meeting all of the needs of women whoa re in dire straits,” Cundiff told Global News.

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The cradle provides an anonymous bassinet where new mothers can leave an infant that they do not believe they can care for. An automated system alerts nurses at the hospital, who will take custody of the child until the Ministry of Children and Family Development can find a suitable family to foster or adopt the baby.

The mother is permitted to leave with no questions asked.

“As long as they’re healthy, there are no questions asked, no one stops them, they can leave,” said Cundiff.

Cundiff said babies that are abandoned in the community often do not survive.

Last month, a newborn baby was found dead in a portable toilet at Main and Hastings streets in Vancouver.

More help urged for women facing unexpected pregnancy in light of charges against Calgary mother
More help urged for women facing unexpected pregnancy in light of charges against Calgary mother

Back in 2018, a newborn died after being found abandoned in a dumpster in Mission, B.C.

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“We need to make people in the community aware (of the Angel’s Cradle) so this doesn’t happen in the future,” said Cundiff.

Coqutilam RCMP continue to investigate the case of the infant abandoned on Saturday, but say the child is receiving medical care and is “doing well.”

You can find out more about the Angel’s Cradle here.