Baby removed from Portuguese mother “because she had very little milk and wasn’t sufficiently loving”

It is a story that is sweeping its way through national media this week, showing the power of social services to remove children from families. In this case, 23-year-old Sónia Castro is being defended by lawyer Aníbal Pinto – the litigator who managed to reunite another mother whose baby was forcibly removed from her care earlier this month (click here).

Sónia Castro’s story however is somehow more shocking.

Whereas Lígia Silva’s newborn baby was taken away over (what appear to have been) unfounded fears of child mistreatment of her other two children, Castro’s failing was simply that she did not have enough milk or appear to be sufficiently loving towards her tiny son.

As newspapers are now explaining, the frail-looking young woman had been through a particularly long (10 hours) and difficult birth, involving “many hours of suffering”. She was “fragilised”, say reports.

Six days after delivering her son, he was not thriving and a social worker “informed” the young woman that the baby was going to be “removed”.

According to reports, Sónia signed the necessary papers giving her child up but now regrets her decision and “wants him back”.

The young mother is supported by her mother, with whom she lives in Matosinhos.

As Aníbal Pinto has told RTP, the situation is simply “unacceptable”.

He claims his client was not even given any options over what she could or couldn’t do, and as far as he is aware, the father of the boy “has not even been heard”.

This is a case in which the mother under pressure was already “very fragilised”, he explained.

With the family now presenting a legal bid to recover the baby from State care, the president of child protection service CPCJ has told reporters that the decision was made following information that came from the hospital where Castro gave birth.

Her lack of milk and “lack of love and will to care for the child” meant that social workers were able to conclude the infant ran a “serious risk to his physical integrity”.

The case is now in the hands of a public prosecutor, with the baby’s mother for now only allowed to visit him three times a week.

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