Is the placement of two children by the social services “abuse” that the parents condemn?

Noémie and Raphaël have had custody of their two-week-old daughters removed. They believe that this decision was caused by their choice to give birth at home, the child protection poses risks in the medical follow-up of the children.

“Do we deserve to lose our daughters because I chose an ANA (unassisted delivery, editor’s note) that was so wonderful?” This question has haunted Noémie and Raphaël for almost a week. This couple has had custody of their two daughters removed, the youngest of whom was born in early June in their home without medical care. A reason that, according to the parents, would justify this placement in the nursery.

In a story published on social networks, the couple looks back on this past week. Their little girl Lou was born in their home in Vitré in Ille-et-Vilaine. Already parents of a two-year-old girl, they opted for a non-medical delivery.

“It was amazing, fast, painless, finally this is the dream we’ve been waiting for for 9 months,” Noémie wrote on Instagram.

Lack of medical certificate

The first pitfall in this case comes at the time of the declaration of the newborn to civil status. Raphaël, the father, will present himself on Tuesday 7 June at the town hall in Vitré. “The lady from the town hall panicked”, the parents assure, as the latter would have learned that the birth had taken place at home.

The officer will then ask for a medical certificate from a doctor or a midwife justifying the birth of the little girl, Lou. The father has only a sworn statement that he was present during the birth. Insufficient according to the law.

“The purpose of the medical certificate is twofold. Firstly, to ensure that the child is in good health (the child must be born ‘alive and viable’), but also to verify that the mother stated in the statement has given birth well and that it is not a ‘theft’ of a child or a surrogacy, ”explains Vitré town hall in a press release.

“The Camtmandsvæsenet thus complied with the regulations by registering the birth in time, without requesting documents that were not stipulated in the regulations,” the town hall concludes.

The next day, the father returned to the service of the town hall in the company of his wife and infant. The civil registrar could then check that the child was alive, which is sufficient, in the absence of a medical certificate, for the latter to be able to write the birth certificate. However, the official urged the parents to have their newborn supervised by a doctor, “without this council seeming to find a favorable echo near the father”, the town hall writes again.

“Under these conditions, in view of the risk to the child’s health, the civil registrar transferred the birth to the PMI, as prescribed in the rules of each birth, however, it informed about the special circumstances and the absence of a medical exam,” the municipality continues.

Child welfare services alerted

On Thursday 9 June, PMI’s services (child and maternity protection) will contact the couple. They ask them several questions, about the birth, the birth, about the baby.

“They were so insistent that we went to the maternity ward this morning to have our daughter checked out by a pediatrician,” Lou’s parents wrote on Instagram, assuring that the doctor told them everything was fine.

The latter, however, says that a member of the Maternity and Child Welfare Service will visit them in their homes. According to the story of Noémie and Raphaël, “three police cars” park the next day in front of their house. They enter the pavilion and tell that “there is a suspicion of abuse”.

“I had no choice but to cooperate,” says Noémie.

The mother of the family thus lists the reasons for this placement, which according to her is given by the gendarmes: the doctor would not have assessed that the child was in good health, the declaration of marital status was made on the basis of an affidavit, a home birth and the parents’ refusal to open their door for a member of the PMI.

Causes “abuse” according to parents who condemn “a huge injustice”.

An “urgent” report

Contacted by BFMTV.com, the department of Ille-et-Vilaine, which manages child protection services, explains that the PMI “has identified elements of risk to the health and medical follow-up of two children in a Vitrean family”. The service then issued an urgent report to the public prosecutor in Rennes. The prosecution ordered the temporary placement of the two children with Childhood Social Assistance (ASE).

According to our information, the prosecution has relied on the elements submitted by the child protection authorities, namely a medical certificate issued after the consultation with the pediatrician on Friday 10 June, and the social services’ analysis regarding the two children.

“The reasons for this placement are not related to the fact that the birth took place in the home,” explains Rennes prosecutor Philippe Astruc.

A judge has been appointed to assess the situation and decide whether the placement of the two children should be maintained or not. The decision is made during a hearing in which the parents participate.

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