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Baby taken from Texas couple after home birth will be returned by Dallas court

Mila Jackson, the newborn taken into foster care by Texas officials in late March, will return home ahead of a scheduled hearing that was set for Thursday afternoon. 

Mila was taken into the custody of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services on March 30. She was born on March 21 in a home birth, but shortly afterward, she was diagnosed with jaundice. The family's longtime pediatrician did not believe that her parents, Temecia and Rodney Jackson, were providing appropriate care, so contacted DFPS, setting off a chain of events that led to Rodney Jackson's brief arrest and Mila being put into foster care for three weeks. 

The Jacksons' midwife Cheryl Edinbyrd, who had participated in the home birth, was providing care, they said. An initial court hearing had been scheduled for April 6, but was postponed until April 20. 

Temecia and Rodney Jackson in a press conference after their daughter was placed in DFPS custody. The Afiya Center

In a news release issued on Thursday morning, the Afiya Center, a Texas-based reproductive and birth justice organization that has represented the Jacksons, the Dallas County District Attorney's office made the decision to reunite Mila with her parents "late yesterday and overnight." 

The district attorney's office said that they do not comment on cases involving the Department of Family and Protective Services. 

The Jacksons' case made headlines nationwide, especially after it became public that court documents authorizing Mila's removal had different people listed as Mila's parents. It's still unclear who the people listed on the document are. CBS News was not able to contact them, and is not identifying them. 

According to the news release from the Afiya Center, the Jacksons will be "enjoying some personal time with their daughter" and their two older children. A rally set to support the family during their court appearance today has been canceled. 

"I'm just happy that justice prevailed and I am grateful for the Afiya Center and everyone involved in the return of this baby," Edinbyrd told CBS News on Thursday morning. "I look forward to actually giving her her first postpartum visit and celebrating her being home with her parents." 

Timeline of events in the Mila Jackson case 

After a successful home birth, the Jacksons brought Mila to their family pediatrician for what they called a "newborn checkup" on March 24. Shortly after, pediatrician Dr. Anand Bhatt called Temecia Jackson and said that Mila needed to be brought to a nearby hospital for jaundice treatment, she said in a press conference. 

Jaundice is fairly normal in newborns and can cause a yellow appearance. According to documents, Bhatt told a DFPS investigator that a bilirubin test, which is used to find the cause of health issues like jaundice, showed bilirubin levels of 21.7 milligrams. That, he told DFPS, was "cause for a lot of concern" and could lead to brain damage. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics' website, any level over 20 milligrams in a baby of Mila's age at the time would mean the baby needed treatment. 

Edinbyrd told CBS News that she saw the bilirubin levels as "high" but not critical. She said that the Jacksons had already ordered a blanket and goggles to provide light therapy, one of the options to treat jaundice, and were also planning to provide enhanced nutrition, another treatment option. 

Temecia Jackson said that on March 24, Bhatt told her he would call DFPS if the family did not bring Mila to the hospital. At around 4 a.m. on March 25, DFPS and police arrived at the Jacksons' home, but were denied entry. An hour later, officials came to the home a second time but were again denied entry. In a press conference, the Jacksons said they felt "traumatized" by those visits. 

On March 30, officials returned to the Jacksons' home with a warrant. Documents show that a program director from DFPS approved Mila's removal "due to her health being in immediate danger of serious long-term consequences." 

Rodney Jackson, who was not home at the time, was arrested upon his return. Court documents show he was charged with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of preventing the execution of a civil process The Jacksons and Edinbyrd said that when Rodney Jackson was detained, his keys were taken, and officials entered the home and took Mila from Temecia Jackson. 

While Mila was in foster care, the Jacksons were able to see her in supervised visits, Edinbyrd told CBS News. The family's two older children were not removed from the home.  

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