By Laura Fawaz, Contributing Reporter
Pontiac, MIâ€“ An Oakland County family is fighting to get their children back after they were illegally taken from Child Protective Services (CPS) last May, including newborn twins who were taken at birth last June.
|Jessica Reed and Maged Mousa of Farmington Hills|
Jessica Reed and Maged Mousa of Farmington Hills are the parents of the four daughters that were illegally taken from CPS. Reed said that she and her oldest, Sophia, was indoors watching a movie, when Sophia went outside to play with her toys on their patio. After a neighbor saw her playing unsupervised in the familyâ€™s backyard, she called the police. Three days later, May 22nd, a woman from CPS showed up at the familyâ€™s home with a police officer, demanding to come in and inspect the children and the home. Reed denied entry, saying they needed to produce a warrant or a court order. â€œThey used it as a crime against me. They told me â€˜no I donâ€™t need a warrant, and I donâ€™t need a court order and we are going to come in,â€™â€ said Reed.
According to Reed, the woman from CPS threatened to call the police if she couldnâ€™t see Sophia. â€œI can understand that, they want to make sure that my children are ok and donâ€™t not have burses or anything,â€ Reed said.
So she brought Sophia into the hallway to talk to the CPS representative. After everything checked out, CPS and the Police left the apartment. As they started to go up the stairs, Sophia ran up as well. Then, according to Reed, the woman from CPS takes Sophia by her hand and heads outside the complex where she then they called the police. As Reed went outside to take her daughter back, one of the detectives tells her that he is going to enter the apartment. Reedâ€™s responded, â€œwhat crime did I commit, I donâ€™t even know why their taking my daughter, I need to see your court order.â€
The detective told her that he does not need one, and according to Reed, he began to get angry for her persistently requesting one. So she said that she got scared, because by this time, there are now two detectives and four police officers outside with CPS. Throughout all this, Reedâ€™s husband, Maged Mousa is unaware of what is going on as he is inside sleeping after just coming home from work. Reed wakes him and their daughter Nadia up who was 18 months old at the time, and napping with her dad. The detective takes Nadia away. The CPS woman then enters the home, still with no consent. â€œI never gave consent for them to come into my home, I never gave consent. I repeatedly asked for court orders or warrants for them to come, thatâ€™s my constitutional right, and I felt they violated that, they kidnapped my children,â€ Reed said, now unable to hold back her tears.
Reed was correct, under Michigan law, unless it is an emergency where a child is in severe danger, CPS workers 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. This is so that the judge can check the validity of the request, and also proves that such order must be present at the time of removal. The CPS representatives or any police officers or detectives, cannot legally take your children, or even come into your home without one.
To add to the situation, Reed was pregnant at the time, and when she gave birth the following month to twin girls, CPS was ready with police officers at Henry Ford Hospital in Bloomfield Hills. Reed and Mousa werenâ€™t allowed to bring them home; they were taken into protective custody. â€œWhen youâ€™re removing unborn children, thatâ€™s the unthinkable,â€ said Allison Folmer, their attorney who also represented Maryanne Godboldo in a separate high-profile custody case with CPS and with the Department of Human Services (DHS) in Wayne County.
For the last six months, Reed says their rights have been denied. She says suitable housing for the children was available at her sisterâ€™s home, but instead the children were placed in foster care. Even though, again, according to Michigan law, family members must be looked to first for the children to be placed, before they are put into the foster care system.
Now most of you are probably asking the next question that I did, since Reed was correct the whole time in terms of the legality of the situation, how come the kids have not been brought back to their parents yet? Reedâ€™s response: â€œInitially, they put on the petition that it was a refusal to entry, and that my husband allowed me, even though he was sleeping, he allowed me to lock Sophia out, because they had reported that I locked her out.â€
In the familyâ€™s apartment complex, like any other apartment building, it is a secure door where one would have to be buzzed in to be allowed into the building. According to Reed, the CPS worker took Sophia outside, and then in the report wrote that it was Reedâ€™s decision to lock out her daughter.
On Friday, Oakland County Circuit Judge Hon. Lisa Gorcycka, said that issue needs to be investigated. Gorcycka, who was recently reassigned the case, has ordered protective services to interview Reedâ€™s sister to see if she can provide proper housing for the children. Folmar applauded the judgeâ€™s decision, saying it is progress finally made, but hopes for follow through from CPS and DHS. â€œItâ€™s got to be something really, really urgent while DHS is at your door to take your children,â€ said Folmar. â€œThey had absolutely no orders, no documents presented to this family at all. They have every right to deny any entry into their home.â€ The prosecuting attorney, Lisa Harris, would not comment on the case.
Though as of the following Monday, when Reedâ€™s sister was suppose to have an interview with CPS to see if the children can be placed temporarily with her, no one showed up or even called. And when the sister called the foster care worker, according to Reed, they said under no circumstances can Reedâ€™s sister have the two older children, nor would they reschedule todayâ€™s visit. Both Folmar and Reed believe that CPS intentionally want these, and other children in this situation, to be placed in foster care rather than with family, because CPS gets a percentage of the money that the foster families receive. Also, the availability of the children, even when scheduled, to their parents is solely up to CPS.
The next court hearing is set for December 21st. The Muslim Observer will continue to bring you updates on the family, and the situation.