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POSTED: 5:00 p.m. EDT June 30, 2003
Mother Victim Of Postpartum Depression
WILDWOOD, N.J. — A south New Jersey toddler is in critical condition after nearly drowning while in foster care.
Mikey Rugg, 18 months old, was pulled from the bottom of a backyard pool and now his biological father, Michael Rugg Sr., is blaming the foster-care system, not the foster parents.
Rugg’s wife had severe postpartum depression and giving birth to Mikey and the children were taken away by the state.
For months, Rugg has been trying to get his three children out of New Jersey’s foster care system without success. Now, his youngest son is in Cooper Medical Center after being pulled from an aboveground pool at the Gloucester Township, N.J., home of his foster parents.
Mikey is in critical condition, but stable condition.
“Obviously, the foster parent wasn’t even watching him if she can’t tell us how long he was in that water. The doctor did say his lungs were full of water,” Ruggs said.
According to state officials, the foster parents were in the backyard at the time of the near-drowning. But Ruggs wants to know how his son ended up under the water.
No one answered the door at the foster home Monday.
Ruggs said he had expressed concern earlier about his son’s safety and was told by state representatives two weeks ago that Mikey had appropriate supervision at the foster home. Ruggs said he is not upset with the foster mother, but with the state system.
“The foster mother called me at 1 this morning at my home to apologize. I’m not holding any animosity against the foster parent,” Ruggs said.
The boy and his two sisters were placed in foster care after their mother stabbed their father and was ordered out of the home, but then came back. Ruggs said she suffered from severe postpartum depression and was taking Paxil that was prescribed by a doctor and was working for the state when she went out of control.
Ruggs said he wants just one thing: “I want my whole family. I want my kids back. I want them home where they’re safe, where I can protect them.”
Ruggs told NBC 10 that he is going back to court later this week to fight for the return of his children.