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Jackson family wants answers from CPS

Posted: 8:30 AM, Dec 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-11 14:22:39Z

A local family's frustration with Child Protective Services is boiling over because they can't get answers.

CPS took a 5-day-old boy away from his mother, citing neglect. Two months later, the family still doesn't know what it will take to get him home.

The family feels like the agency is targeting them for reasons they say they can't control, a misunderstanding involving a mother with special needs and a premature baby, Ethan.

"I feel really bad that Ethan got taken from me," said Kim Hawkins, the boy's mom.

The family is frustrated with the situation.

"I feel they are labeling her without even knowing who she is, or what she's about," said Nelly Nell, grandfather of baby Ethan.

Kim Hawkins gave birth to her son Ethan Xavier Hawkins-Sieger on Oct. 14, and five days later, he was taken by CPS.

The grandfather said the agency told them it was for alleged neglect for not changing a soiled diaper while they were both still in the hospital.

The grandfather told us, "What they're not saying fully is my daughter has a disability and, when she is told by someone with a profession, she listens. And he told her that her son had to stay swaddled at all times because his temperature was dropping," Nell said. "That's why she didn't change his diaper; she was in fear if she took that off, his temperature was going to drop."

After Hawkins was discharged, Ethan was placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. FOX 47 was given hospital records from the family, showing that Ethan had a low APGAR score, which is common for premature babies. The score comes from testing of the newborn's heart rate, muscle tone, and other concerns. Ethan was three weeks premature.

However, Ethan was otherwise seemingly healthy. The records state a normal range of motions, no rashes or lesions.

"They did it slick. It was a weekend so, of course, they couldn't get a judge to sign anything. That's when they placed him in the NICU. And, in my opinion, that was my way to hold hostage until they can get the paperwork signed by a judge," Nell said.

FOX 47 has asked CPS what the standard protocol is when it comes to removing a newborn from parental care.

The agency said that CPS conducts an investigation into whether the parent can safely care for the child.

CPS would petition the court for removal if they find the parent cannot care for the child safely, and that can only happen with court approval.

"I think with what it is, CPS is in a tight web right now and that they are being a little too overprotected," said Nell.

Hawkins has a learning disability, a speech impediment and mild cerebral palsy. However, she says that doesn't stop her from being able to go through life independently. She's taking parenting classes, in hopes that one day so she can use them for more than the short two hours a week she gets to see her son. And she wants to show Ethan the room she has all set up for him

"You guys didn't give me a chance," said Hawkins.

The grandfather said he questions why the family wasn't considered to take Ethan into custody.

CPS said that policy prefers the placement of children with a relative but that other factors are considered.

"They are focused on the wrong people, but yet CPS is all about keeping the family together. In my opinion, I think they are keeping the wrong family together," said Nell.

There is a court date on Wednesday. FOX 47 will be there and we'll let you know if this case gets resolved.

State privacy law does not allow CPS to discuss the specifics of any case.