A group that works with at-risk women is upset that Saskatoon police released a composite image of a mother believed to have abandoned her baby.
The board of the Sanctum Care Group says police and support agencies should be focusing on prevention, not "hunting" for the woman.
"The bigger question is, how did this person, how did this individual find herself in such a desperate situation? And what resources do we need to put toward preventative services to help keep a situation that is so devastating from happening in the first place?" said Sanctum interim executive director Jamesy Patrick.
The body of the newborn girl was found in a downtown recycling bin on Nov. 8, 2019. Police have been trying to identify the mother ever since.
This spring, police paid an American company $4,000 to develop a composite image of the mother based on DNA recovered from the bag holding the baby's body.
Police said they are concerned the mother may be in a vulnerable state. They did not rule out criminal charges.
Patrick said this is troubling on two fronts.
"It has potential to re-traumatize this woman, putting an image out there," she said.
"There's a lot of assumptions. Assuming that she's vulnerable, assuming there's mental health. We shouldn't be making these assumptions almost a year after this tragic incident."
Patrick said the case highlights the need for more community supports. To that end, Sanctum is advocating for the creation of a prenatal case management team. It could help address the gaps in services for pregnant women, she said. Sanctum has been working with the province to create such a four-person team.
"It is a huge gap. We've identified the gap. If we had that team, this woman, this woman who we have now focused on her face, we would have been able to focus on the issue for her," Patrick said.
"We may have been able to help provide her services, supports, connect her to the right people in the community and help support a plan for her around her and her and her baby."
Patrick says what's especially frustrating is that Sanctum already has a wait list of some 30 women, "and we are always in that cycle of trying to help the people that are most vulnerable."