An East St. George woman says she is deeply saddened that a teenager she rescued from the street as a 1-year-old baby is now pregnant, about two years after the court ordered that she be returned to her biological mother.

The girl, who turns 14 this month, is scheduled to give birth in January.

She is a student at a secondary school in Kingstown and was promoted to Form 3 at the end of the last school year.

However, because of her pregnancy, the teenager did not return to school when classes resumed in September.

“It’s a sad situation that such a thing happened,” her foster mother told I-Witness News, adding that the girl has said that her biological mother’s boyfriend impregnated her.

The foster mother tells a tale of selflessness, having rescued the girl and her older brother from the streets one night.

“… the night I was sleeping [and] I heard the bawling in the road. When I came out I met two of them,” the woman told I-Witness News.

“She was going to be a year old, and the boy (the girl’s brother) was a bit bigger than her and used to strain with her and carry her looking for food for her.”

The woman, who was unemployed and has four children of her own — the youngest of which is just a little older than the little girl — took the two abandoned children into her home.

The girl’s mother, who is now 35 years old, went on to have five other children, the last of which was born recently.

“I had the two of them,” the woman said of the foster children.

“I took care of them until she reach to that age [when her mother came back for her two years ago]. She go through the pre-school, I never see anybody to bring anything for her. I was the father and mother,” said the woman who told I-Witness News that she is not related to the children in any way.

“Nobody ever came and own her and say she is mine or the boy is mine. I took her until she got big. If I was going anywhere, I tell her come let us go — both of them.

“… I wasn’t working at the time, but my boyfriend was contributing,” the woman said.

She told I-Witness News that she sent the children, along with her own biological son to pre- and primary school.

“I sent her out to school. Everything [was] good …” the woman said.

She told I-Witness News that after the girl passed the Common Entrance Examination and was placed at a secondary school in Kingstown, she went to the government an applied for Public Assistance.

“… and I used the money to pay the school fee,” the woman told I-Witness News.

But it might have been the little assistance that the woman was receiving from the state that triggered the girl’s biological parent to demand her back, more than a decade after she abandoned the child.

“One day, I wasn’t home. My boyfriend came and tell me she (the girl’s biological mother) come for the child. She dragged the child come down the hill. The child started to bawl, ‘Mommy, Mommy, Mommy” and she still dragged the child,” the foster mother said.

The girl’s cries for “mommy” were for her foster mother.

“The child came back [but] the mother took police and came for her again,” the woman said.

The girl’s biological mother then sued the foster mother.

The woman told I-Witness News that she told the Family Court that the biological mother was not a competent parent and would not take care of the child.

“But the Family Court told me that it’s her child and if she wants her child, let her have her.

“The case was adjourned and I just walked out,” the woman said.

Now, two years later, the child would be returned to the woman’s care while police investigate her pregnancy.

14 replies on “Girl impregnated after court returns her to mother who abandoned her ”

  1. The family court and social services systems here in SVG are a waste of time; they are operating like primitive people. The system is failing the children who they are supposed to be protecting. The people at the social services office operate like chickens that were weaned too soon…don’t know what the hell they are doing. The system failed that young child and now her academic life has ended before it started.

  2. If the details recorded in this account are accurate then it seems to me (an intelligent person, I think, bit NOT an expert on the law) that something is not going right about our care of minors. I have been looking at the Law of Minors (Cap169 in the Laws of SVG) and I find, in relation to the High Court:
    “29. Where a parent has-
    a) abandoned or deserted his minor child:
    b) allowed his minor child to be brought up by another person at that person;s expense for such a length of time and under such circumstances as to satisfy the High Court that the parent was unmindful of his parental duties,
    the Court shall not make an order for the delivery of the child unless the parent satisfies the Court that, having regard to the welfare of the minor, he is a fit person to have custody of the minor.”
    And further:
    “31. Nothing in sections 27,28,29 and 30 shall interfere with or affect the power of the Court to consult the wishes of the minor in considering what order ought to be made or diminish the right which any minor possesses to the exercise of its own free choice.”
    Granted that this refers to the High Court and in this case the matter seems to have been decided in the Family Court. But should not the Family Court be guided by the general principles laid down in the Law of Minors?
    I do hope that nobody at the Family Court really said, as quoted in the article, “it’s her child and if she wants her child, let her have her” Nobody OWNS a child like we own a piece of furniture. The welfare of the child should be the first consideration not what the parent “wants”. Did the Family Court get a welfare officer to assess the mother’s background to see if her home conditions were in the best interests of the child, I wonder? Was the child asked where she wanted to live, with her biological mother or her foster mother? Whether inquiries were made or were not made the outcome seems not to have been in the best interest of this particular child.
    I asked someone some months ago whether there was any provision in the laws of SVG to make a minor a Ward of Court (in effect removing parental “rights” to the minor where the parents are found to have failed in their parental duties) in order for the Court to decide what was in the best interest of the minor. I was told that there was such provision but that it was not used. It seems that that was a perfectly true answer.
    I think that many of us fail to understand that we owe a duty of love and care to the children we bring into this world. But we do not own those children. And if we fail in those duties we have no automatic “right” to the children to whom we have given birth.

  3. Brown Boy USA says:

    This is a disgrace! Why are this happening in this day and age in SVG is beyond me. And why isn’t there a police investigation, isn’t the age of consent in SVG 15 years old? So why isn’t the police investigating to see if this child was violated and a victim of rape? And don’t talk about the family court, shame on you! And then we turn around and wonder why the kids are the way they are, but no one cares about them and looking out for them!

  4. This is the hight of sickness.What is the child welfare protection system? Just to let the system know the world is watching let’s see if this is going to slide like previous cases.

  5. Social welfare always think they know what is best and end up messing up the kids life. Welfare should be sued in this matter

  6. EXCUSE ME PEOPLE, WAIT A MINUTE…THIS IS KIDNAPPING!!!

    What the “foster” mother ought to have done, is to go to the courts and legally adopt or get legal guardianship of those kids…and in the process, have the authorities filed charges against the mother for child abandonment. What is happening here and this is pure conjecture on my part, is that there are no official record that the mother abandoned the children and so in the courts viewing of this case, the only conclusion they can come to is give the kids back to the biological mother. In fact I would make the case that the “foster’ mother, in a pure technical and legal framework, kidnapped those kids.

    I suspect that our laws on child abandonment is quite weak or non existent. If the courts were on the ball, they would take other factors into account such as the time and money spent on the caring of these kids by the ‘foster” mom;the child’s preference of parents; and overall welfare of the kid. But unfortunately,the court can’t just take away the rights of the biological mother to have custody of her kids without just cause, irrespective of the fact that she may have abandoned her kids.

    On the issue of the pregnancy, I done talk, until our laws are enforced on sexual abuse of minors, this will continue to happen.

    1. Good point … except this is little St. Vincent, not America, and informal caregiving like this is the norm, and always has been. Only our middle class and elite use formal, legal adoption and these people are hardly middle class.

    2. If you look at my contribution below – quoting what I found in the Laws od SVG – you will see that there is provision in the law for the court to ask the minor for his/her preferences. There is also a provision for the Court to find that the parent “allowed his minor child to be brought up by another person at that person’s expense for such a length of time and under such circumstances as to satisfy the High Court that the parent was unmindful of his parental duties ” . It does not say that the foster parent should have tried to legally adopt the child or should have sought to get legal guardianship for the Court to make such a finding. So as I said – if the facts are as reported in this case (and it is always possible that the foster mother who appears to be the person who brought this case to the public’s attention may have misinterpreted what she heard in court) – it seems that our courts are not doing all that should be done, and all that the law enables them to do, to protect minors.

    3. This is not necessarily kidnapping. What should have been done (and I don’t know from this report how well the welfare officer/s did the job) was that the wwlfare department should have visited the biological mother to find out from her how long the child had been with the foster mother, visited the school/s attended by the child (starting with the pre-school apparently and continuing through primary school, as we are told the child was enrolled with the foster mother’s child) to find out who had been responsible for making payments and for the general well-being of the child, and Welfare’s own records – since, again apparently, a Public Assistance payment was given to the foster mother with which, she said, the paid the secondary school’s fees. There must be records of who was interacting with the schools for the child from pre-school through primary school, and who paid the fees at the secondary school. Such a report should have been required by the court, given the law as I found it. The law does NOT state that the court must hand a child back to it’s biological parent. It is most specific in placing the best interest of the child at the forefront. And as I said, ther is provision for dealing with situations when the parent is deemed to have abandonned the child.

    4. My dear TeacherFang the Court can indeed take a child away from the biological mother, specifically when the Court finds that the parent abandoned the child. You know, I do hope that the Public Library has a set of the Laws of St Vincent on their Reference Section. If they don’t then they should so that people like you can check before you make a statement like “the court can’t just take away the rights of the biological mother to have custody of her kids without just cause, irrespective of the fact that she may have abandoned her kids”. Contrary to what you say, it is precisely when the parent abandons the child that the Court can take the child from the parent. This is because the interest of the child is paramount, not the wishes of the parent. SVG’s laws on the care of minors are in conformity with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Convention SVG is a party.

      That UN Convention states inter alia:
      States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, EXCEPT (my emphasis) when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. SUCH DETERMINATION MAY BE NECESSARY IN A PARTICULAR CASE SUCH AS ONE INVOLVING ABUSE OR NEGLECT OF THE CHILD BY THE PARENTS. (again, my emphasis)

      If you don’t think that abandoning a child is gross neglect then I would really like to know how you would categorize such an act.

      The Convention also states: “….the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration”. So that even maintaining contact with both parents is required “EXCEPT if it contrary to the child’s best interests.” So, TeacherFang, if you ever abandon your child, you’d better beiieve that the child can be taken from you.

  7. By the police failing to act in this matter it is a continuing crime against this child. Thank you Pat for you input.

    1. And Peter, if the last sentence of the article is correct, the child is to be returned to the foster mother’s care while police investigate her pregnancy. And TeacherFang declares that “THIS IS KIDNAPPING!!!”. I do wish people would READ these articles carefully and NOT be so melodramatic. Does it seem likely that the Welfare Department would now place this child, at this critical time for her, with someone who had “kidnapped” her as a toddler, and kept her from her mother for at least 10 years (remember – one year to secondary school entry which is at least age 11)? And the foster mother and the biological mother, as far as I can see, live in the same East Kingstown community not a large metropolitan city (note that the child came into the care of the foster mother when that lady heard the one-year-old child and her brother crying in the street outside her home. So unless the biological mother took her children to a distant community and dropped them in the street, they are all from the same community. After all, when the biological mother decided she wanted her child she clearly knew where to go to look for her.
      I am waiting to hear if the police will get a DNA analysis when the child is born, and if, should the mother’s boyfriend be proved to be indeed the father as the child claims, he will then be charged with Statutory Rape.

Comments are closed.