DESOTO, Texas — As a newborn remains in CPS custody after a dispute over treatment for jaundice, a DeSoto family and their supporters are demanding #JusticeForMilaJackson, and a Texas state representative is vowing to get involved in their fight.
Mila Jackson was one-week-old when the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services sought and received court authorization to remove the baby girl from her parents' home.
Child Protective Services, based on the advice of a Baylor Scott & White pediatrician, removed the child and placed her in foster care March 28, seven days after she was born.
After what Temecia and Rodney Jackson, and their state certified midwife, say was a successful home birth on March 21, they took the infant to their regular pediatrician three days later for a checkup. They say a nurse practitioner gave the baby a clean bill of health.
But messages from pediatrician Dr. Anand Bhatt began arriving later that night. He said the baby's bilirubin levels were high and he recommended Mila receive phototherapy as soon as possible.
"He didn't even see Mila when I went to his office," Temecia Jackson said. "His nurse practitioner saw Mila. And so, when he's making all of his statements and everything, it's third party from his nurse practitioner."
In a letter to CPS, the pediatrician sited lab tests and claimed the family wouldn't follow his recommended treatment options. So, he alerted CPS. DeSoto police officers assisted CPS when the baby was removed from the Jackson's home.
Mila is now two weeks old, in CPS foster care, and her parents have been given a next court date of April 20.
"That's horrible," State Representative Gary Gates said. "You mean nothing's going to be done for another couple of weeks? I mean, this child will be more than a month old, and it's been totally denied from bonding with its mother."
Gates, representing House District 28 in Rosenberg west of Houston, is a fierce critic of CPS. He said he is concerned by what he reads in the affidavit, including the wrong mom being listed in the paperwork: a woman with a criminal record of neglect -- who has no connection to the family at all.
Temecia Jackson's name does not appear in the original affidavit authorizing the state to take custody.
"And if this is a false affidavit, you know, that's criminal," Gates said, promising to press forward to get answers from CPS.
"You know, you can't file a false affidavit because you're swearing under oath that every single line of that affidavit is correct," said Gates.
Meanwhile, the licensed midwife who helped deliver the child says at-home treatments for jaundice were working.
"Part of assessment is we FaceTimed again, and this time to see how Mila's eyes and her skin looked and she was clearing up, beautifully," Cheryl Edinbyrd said. "CPS has enough to do out here for kids that are really getting beat and abused. This child was being nurtured. This child was being supported. And this child was being loved. And this child was kidnapped."
"We are demanding that Mila be returned home today. Today. Because yesterday was too late," she said in a news conference on Thursday, April 6.
The Jacksons say they are being allowed to see their daughter, in supervised visits at a CPS office, only one day each week for a total of two hours.
CPS, meanwhile, said again on Friday, April 7 that it cannot comment on the case.
The Afiya Center, representing the Jackson family, has started a #JusticeForMilaJackson, encouraging people to donate to a legal defense fund and begin a letter-writing and phone campaign to demand action by CPS and Baylor Scott & White.