Alleged mom may be able to keep baby
With a report from Jane Gadd
Tuesday, February 11, 2003 – Print Edition, Page A18

A woman accused of abandoning her newborn baby in a freezing stairway at Nathan Phillips Square could regain custody of the child despite the charges against her, the executive director of the Children's Aid Society said yesterday.

Bruce Rivers said the problems the homeless woman faces would not necessarily exclude her from regaining custody. He refused to comment on the case specifically.

On Sunday night, the woman believed to be Mira's mother -- investigators are still awaiting the results of a DNA test to prove conclusively the alleged connection between her and the baby -- told CFTO News she wanted the child back.

"I'd like to get a place to live [and to] work," said the woman, who cannot be identified because of continuing child-welfare hearings. "When I get on my feet, I'd like to [raise her]," she said.

Yesterday morning, not long after that interview, the woman appeared in mental-health court where her lawyer, Mara Greene, requested disclosure materials from the prosecution.

The homeless woman remains free on her own recognizance, supervised by the Toronto Bail Program, and is staying in shelters.

She is to make another court appearance March 11 on charges of child abandonment and failing to provide the necessities of life.

Mr. Rivers said for a parent to get custody in a case like this, the person is asked to put forward a plan outlining how he or she will be able to care for the child.

While the custody decision ultimately rests with the Family Court judge, Mr. Rivers said the CAS is asked to submit a recommendation.

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