Mila Jackson, a newborn removed from her family home by Child Protective Services after her parents chose to treat her jaundice with their licensed midwife, will return home.
According to CBS News, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office decided to reunite Mila with her family late Wednesday night. The following morning, she went home to her parents, Temecia and Rodney Jackson. The Jacksons were set to appear in court Thursday afternoon, but that hearing was canceled following the DA office’s decision. The office did not make an official comment regarding its decision, as is customary for cases involving the Department of Family and Protective Services.
However, the Texas-based reproductive and birth justice organization Afiya Center, which represented the Jacksons, released an official statement. A news release stated the Jacksons would be “enjoying some personal time with their daughter” and their other children.
“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,” D’Andra Willis, birth justice coordinator at The Afiya Center, said in a press release, The Dallas Morning News reported. “We need people to understand reproductive justice and freedom also means families have a right to choose when and how they want to parent. This includes informed decision making, culturally sensitive care and choosing birth and postpartum support plans that meet their specific needs.”
The family’s midwife, Cheryl Edinbyrd, who helped bring Mila into the world, said she’s thrilled with the office’s decision to bring Mila home.
“I’m just happy that justice prevailed and I am grateful for the Afiya Center and everyone involved in the return of this baby,” she said. “I look forward to actually giving her her first postpartum visit and celebrating her being home with her parents.”
Blavity reported Mila was just a week old when CPS took her into custody. At the time of her birth, Mila was a healthy newborn, but things took a turn for the worse days later. Following a routine checkup, Mila’s pediatrician, Dr. Anand Bhatt, noticed her bilirubin levels were dangerously high, suggesting she may have jaundice.
Dr. Bhatt recommended the family take her to the hospital for phototherapy, a standard jaundice treatment. But instead, they preferred to handle her condition holistically, with the support of Edinbyrd. That decision raised alarm bells for Dr. Bhatt, and he contacted CPS.
Mila spent three weeks in foster care before the DA office’s decision.