By Laura Fawaz, Contributing Reporter
Pontiac, MIâ€“After Jessica Reed and Maged Mousa fought for a total of over nine months to get back custody of their four daughters who were illegal taken from Child Protective Services (CPS), their battle is soon to be over.
The Muslim Observer has been reporting on these ongoing hearings since it first began last May. According to Reed, a neighbor called the police after seeing the oldest daughter, Sophia, playing on the familyâ€™s back porch without an adult. And when CPS showed up a few days later demanding to enter the home with any court documents, Reed denied their entry. Under Michigan law, unless it is an emergency where a child is in severe danger, CPS employees are suppose to request a hearing in front of a judge where the parents accused of neglect or abuse, can tell their side of the story before a child is removed from the home. Also under Michigan law, a judge must personally review a removal order, and not just have someone else â€œrubberstamp â€ his or her signature.
Throughout these nine months, Reed says their rights have been denied, specifically with the lack of care of the children while in foster care. This, all while Reedâ€™s sister and aunt has each been trying to work with CPS to take the kids in themselves. But instead, the children were placed in the foster care system, because â€œitâ€™s all about the money,â€ says Reedâ€™s attorney Allison Folmer who brought this up after the multiple attempts of appointments with CPS to place the kids with their family, were missed. For every family that takes in a foster child, CPS gets a percentage of the money that the families receive. Though, according to Michigan law, family members must be looked to first for the children to be placed with before they are put into the foster care system.
In our last article written in January, we told you about the baby twins were reunited with their parents, Reed and Mousa. And after the hearing held last Thursday, the older two daughters, Sophia and Nadia, are now back home with their parents as well. Though the debate in court between Folmer and CPSâ€™ attorney was anything but calm. CPS and DHS insisted on several more classes and evaluations for the family to go through, even though the parents have already gone through more than necessary, and repeatedly. Even after the Honorable Judge Lisa Gorcyca granted Reed and Mousa full custody of the last two older daughters, one more observation request came in. It was through Family Unification Services, who is an agency outside of CPS and DHS.
According to Folmer, â€œthey came out already and didnâ€™t do much but observe how the parents interact with their children. But this has been figured out a while ago, they know how to interact with their kids,â€ and she continued on the issue of privacy for the family, â€œthis is now invading my privacy, but Jessica had no problem with it. Actually, theyâ€™ve been very cordial at the least. They are just ready to get back to being a family.â€
When Reed was asked how she feels about having the agency come in again to observe, she said, â€œActually, I donâ€™t mind, they donâ€™t invent problems or lie, I donâ€™t mind them coming into my home.â€
One of the big differences noticed from this hearing, was that this was the first time I saw a smile of the faces of Reed and Mousa. They now have all of their children together as a family. â€œMy kids are going to be home with me and safe, away from whatever mistreatment they were going through in foster care. Itâ€™s very emotional to have everyone here and to know that my kids are finally coming home after nine months of just worrying about them,â€ said Reed.
The next court hearing is set for May 7th. The Muslim Observer will continue to bring you updates on the family, and the situation.