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‘Back Where She Belongs’: Texas Newborn Reunited with Family Nearly a Month After CPS Took Her Because Parents Chose Midwife for Jaundice Treatment, Ignored Doctors Orders

Temecia and Rodney Jackson are relieved after it was reported that their 1-month-old daughter will be returned home.

Mila Jackson was born on March 21 in an at-home birth in Desoto, Texas. The Jacksons took their child for a check-up three days later at their pediatrician. The couple said the nurse practitioner who examined Mila gave a positive report, but the married couple received news later on that day from Dr. Anand Bhatt that their daughter had a dangerously high level of jaundice.

Rodney and Temecia Jackson at their press conference on April 6. (Photo: Screenshot from WFAA News Youtube channel)

Bhatt reportedly suggested that the couple bring their child to the hospital for treatment. The Jacksons chose to do in-home care instead with their state-approved midwife that helped deliver Mila. Midwives are healthcare providers who deal with pregnancy, childbirth, newborn care and postpartum health, according to Cleveland Clinic.

According to WFAA News, Bhatt wrote a letter to Child Protection Services urging them to intervene to get Mila proper treatment.

Related: ‘I Was Blindsided’: Illinois Mother Nearly Lost Custody of Her 10-Month-Old Child After Doctors Wrongly Assumed a Mark on His Ear Was a Bruise — It Was a Birthmark

Bhatt, the family’s pediatrician, said the case was severe enough for the newborn to be taken to the hospital for phototherapy, according to a letter he wrote to CPS that was published by WFAA News. The doctor cited those concerns and also mentioned the numerous failed attempts to reach the Jacksons.

Jaundice occurs because a baby’s liver isn’t mature enough to get rid of bilirubin in the bloodstream. It is a common condition in newborns that results in the yellowing of their skin and the whites of the eyes. Jaundice in newborns can clear up without treatment in one to two weeks, but more severe cases require phototherapy treatment. In the Jackson case, Bhatt was concerned the family would not have the special phototherapy lights at home that baby Mila needed for her treatment.

Dallas police officers and CPS took Mila on March 28 with a court-ordered affidavit that had another woman’s name listed as the mother. Temecia Jackson has no criminal record, and the woman that was listed on the affidavit had one. They were only allowed to see her through supervised visits at the CPS headquarters in Dallas.

“When we receive a report that alleges abuse or neglect of a child by the parent, guardian or person responsible for the child’s care, we are required by the Legislature to investigate,” a CPS spokesperson told WFAA. “If the allegation is medical neglect, we rely on the expert opinions of medical professionals – often pediatricians.”

“At the outset of any investigation we make a concerted effort to speak with families directly to verify their personal information, and we attempted to do so in this case. The error included in the affidavit was corrected as soon as we became aware of the mistake,” CPS said to WFAA.

The couple reportedly was scheduled for a hearing at 1:30 p.m. on April 20 before they received even better news this week that their daughter will be returning home.

Marsha Jones is the executive director of The Afiya Center, a Dallas reproductive justice center, assisted the Jacksons throughout the whole process of getting their daughter back. Jones released the following statement to Jezebel:

“Public pressure and illuminating violations of our most fundamental rights works. Mila is finally on her way back where she belongs. But this never should have happened in the first place. Systemic racism is the reason why Mila was separated from her family. Period.”

“While the Jacksons finally get moments of needed rest and joy, we’ll keep fighting against the criminalization of Black parents, children, and midwives because NO ONE should live through this nightmare. The Jackson family won’t get justice until the healthcare providers, CPS workers, DeSoto police officers, Dallas constables, and every other person who allowed Mila to be taken from her family is held accountable.”

According to WFAA, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said that DFPS recommended the dismissal of the case to the assistant district attorney and a “motion for nonsuit” was filed Thursday.

“We are relieved that the Jackson family will be reunited, but that doesn’t undo the harm,” said Pregnancy Justice staff attorney Emma Roth.

It is reported that the Pregnancy Justice staff offered pro bono legal services to the Jacksons.

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