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Father Upset With Foster Service Over Near-Drowning Of Son

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Old June 30th 03, 10:43 PM
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Default Father Upset With Foster Service Over Near-Drowning Of Son


Father Upset With Foster Service Over Near-Drowning Of Son
Mother Victim Of Postpartum Depression

POSTED: 5:00 p.m. EDT June 30, 2003
UPDATED: 5:35 p.m. EDT June 30, 2003

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.

Copyright 2003 by NBC10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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