Aboriginal mom fights for custody of infant twins in dispute with ministry
Nicolette Moore says she’s been clean and sober for 2 years, but the ministry still took her twin babies
CBC, June 19, 2015
An aboriginal woman from the Nisga’a First Nation is fighting to gain custody of her infant children after she says she turned her life around.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development seized custody of Nicolette Moore’s infant twins this month. Moore says the ministry cited concerns about her past addiction.
“I was told future behaviour is predicted by past behaviour. I honestly don’t know where my past ends and my future begins.”
The ministry won’t comment on specific cases.
Moore says she has been clean and sober for more than two years and expected that change to be enough to allow her to raise her children.
“Everything I’ve done has been what [the Ministry] wanted,” she told CBC. “I’ve basically lived up to my end of the bargain.”
Other children put in care
Moore previously had her six other children removed from her care, but doesn’t dispute those ministry decisions.
“When they took them that time, I was no longer blaming the ministry or anyone else. I had them removed from me so many times and I got them back, then lied about my addiction problems and covered it up.”
Moore says after losing her six children she “hit rock bottom” and had a moment of realization that if she wanted to keep her family together, things needed to change.
She eventually left her minimum wage job to enter the aboriginal trades program and committed to being clean and sober.
When she gave birth to her twins in early June, she says she had been clean and sober for more than two years. However, just hours after giving birth, she says the ministry removed the infants from her care.
“With my other children I fully admit they deserved to be taken and needed to be protected from me. I don’t ever deny that and I have faced all those things that have cost me my children in the past.”
In an email sent to CBC, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Children and Family Development wrote:
“The safety and well-being of children and youth is always the ministry’s first priority. Taking a child into care is always a last resort — and is done to reduce the risk to the child if there are no other viable alternatives. Whenever possible, we try to place children with extended family and/or persons known to a child who are assessed to be safe and appropriate to provide care.”
Moore says she’s hoping to work out an agreement with the ministry in order to be given custody of her twins, though the immediate future is still unclear.
“We have worked out a plan for my aunt to take the twins and live in my home [Moore will live elsewhere] so that we can transition in later. I’m just looking forward to the day where I don’t have to answer to somebody over my parenting.”
Moore’s mother Danielle Swanson backed up her daughter’s sobriety claim in an email to CBC earlier this month.
“She has been clean and sober for over 24 months with a support system second to none. Today, [the] ministry is removing the girls in spite of the recommendations of the [Truth and Reconciliation] report.”