Despite a decision in the courts, she has not been granted the care of the child

A woman decided to contact the media, which she considers to be her last resort to recover a baby for whom the courts granted her parental authority.

In August 2016, a young woman abandoned the infant that she had just brought into the world at the Saint-Martin Hospital. Six weeks later, the baby was still not placed with a family and was still at the hospital center even though this was not justified by its health. A member of the staff therefore decided - with the consent of the hospital administration, social services, and the Collectivité - to bring the child home during her days off and bring it back to the hospital when she was working. This is called a permission system. In early November, the woman appeared before the Family Affairs Judge (JAF, in French) in Saint-Martin to be designated ad-hoc custodian; this was carried out while awaiting the organization of a protection measure for the child and the designation of a legal guardian.

Only, another process had been started prior to the decision by the FAJ. This was for the child to be recognized as ward of the State, a classic procedure when a minor is found to be without father or mother. Thus, she was unable to be appointed ad-hoc custodian. She found herself required to return the child to the social services. This was a great emotional shock for the woman, who had become attached to the baby. "Moreover, the mother, whom I got in contact with, affirmed before a notary her willingness to grant me parental authority," she stated.

However, she didn’t stop there and objected the decree declaring the baby a ward of the state before the Basse-Terre Regional Court. "But the social services had no regard for my appeal and placed the child in a family, prior to its future adoption," she commented.

On February 23, the Regional Court made its decision: it nullified the decree and "granted parental authority, in the interest of the child." A provisional execution of the decision was also pronounced, which means that the social services of the Collectivité should return the baby to her immediately. "I had the bailiff deliver the decision to the Collectivité," specified the woman who, a week later, still didn’t have the child. "The social services refuse to give me the child on the pretext that it was placed with a family with the goal of adoption, and this was in the child’s best interest," explained the woman, who does not know what to do to make the social services respect the decision of the courts. Unless the provisional execution of the Regional Court’s decision of February 23 was suspended following a request. If this is the case, the hospital employee has not been made aware.

Distraught, she decided to alert the media of the case. "I am absolutely not angry with the host family. I fully understand that it can be difficult to separate from the child; I myself have been in that situation," she stated. She just wants to raise the child, whom she has cared for since it was born.

Estelle Gasnet