Guilty until proven innocent? - The assumption of care of a baby at birth

Jenny BROWNE, Janice Taylor, Deborah DAVIS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This paper provides an overview of the history of child protection, the associated law and the 2008 amendments to the Child and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 in relation to the Assumption of Care at birth Practice. Objective: To explore the current practice of an Assumption of Care (AOC) where a newborn baby is removed from his/her mother at the time of birth, particularly focussing on the impact of the AOC on midwives. Discussion: Assumption of Care practices in NSW raise significant issues for midwives in relation to the midwifery codes of ethics and conduct and importantly, to their ability to work in ways that honour a "woman-centred care" philosophy. When midwives are exposed to conflict between workplace and personal or professional values such as the practice of AOC cognitive dissonance can occur. Conclusions: Further research is required to understand the impact of current Assumption of Care. Broader research to not only look at effect on the midwife but also on other health professionals involved and the women who personally experience the removal of their baby at the time of birth. Consideration must also be given to ways of working with vulnerable families to enhance the acceptability and efficacy of maternity services and with associated agencies will decrease the need for Assumption of Care at birth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-70
Number of pages6
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Guilty until proven innocent? - The assumption of care of a baby at birth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this