North Texas newborn reunited with parents after 3 weeks in CPS custody
The Texas Department of Family Protective Services confirmed DeSoto parents Temecia and Rodney Jackson regained custody of their newborn daughter Mila.
A DeSoto family will be reunited with their newborn daughter after she was taken by Child Protective Services three weeks ago after giving birth to their child at home under the care of a midwife.
Tiffani Butler, a Dallas-area spokesperson with the Department of Family Protective Services, confirmed that DFPS recommended dismissal of the case to a Dallas County assistant district attorney representing the state agency.
Temecia and Rodney Jackson have been working to regain custody of their daughter Mila after they say she was wrongfully taken by CPS after a routine postpartum hospital visit.
A court hearing for the family was originally scheduled for April 6, then rescheduled for Thursday afternoon, but it has since been canceled, according to reproductive rights advocates with The Afiya Center.
The organization broke the news of Mila's return on Twitter Thursday morning.
We did it, y’all! We kept the pressure on CPS and elected officials to return baby Mila Jackson to her family, and the day has finally come.— The Afiya Center (@TheAfiyaCenter) April 20, 2023
Thanks to the thousands of YOU who sprung into action from our public pressure campaign, the Jacksons will be reunited this morning 🧵 pic.twitter.com/RRSZKLBxf8
Three days after Mila's home birth, she was diagnosed with jaundice by Anand Bhatt, the family's doctor with Baylor Scott and White.
Bhatt advised the Jacksons return to the hospital to treat Mila's condition, but the family decided to treat her illness at home with their midwife. Bhatt alerted CPS because he believed Mila needed to be in the hospital.
In his letter to DFPS, Bhatt called the family “very loving” and said “they care dearly about their baby,” but said their “distrust for medical care and guidance has led them to make a decision for the baby to refuse a simple treatment that can prevent brain damage."
After numerous encounters with CPS and local law enforcement, Rodney Jackson was arrested and the family was forced to surrender Mila. The community rallied behind the Jacksons, demanding the state return Mila to her family.
A KERA News review of legal documents also showed the affidavit used to support Mila's removal from her home had the wrong people named as her parents.
A spokesperson with The Afiya Center said they are giving the Jacksons space while they reunite with their daughter.
In a statement, the group called the incident an example of systemic racism. Research shows more than half of all Black children experience some form of CPS investigation by age 18.
“Mila isn’t the first Black baby to be unjustly ripped away from her family, and she won’t be the last one—unless fundamental changes are made to the child welfare and criminal justice systems,” read a statement from D’Andra Willis, birth justice coordinator with the Afiya Center. “We need people to understand reproductive justice and freedom also means families have a right to choose when and how they want to parent.”
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