I just stumbled across an update on the case of the Nikolayev baby, which was “snatched” from its parents by police officers and placed into CPS custody because the couple wanted a second opinion on a medical procedure. Video footage of the baby being seized from its mother’s arms went viral, and people around the expressed their outrage by what appeared a flagrant display of CPS abuse of power. The young couple was portrayed in the media as loving and attentive parents, deeply concerned with the needs of their sick baby and heartbroken by California CPS’ overreaching their authority by “illegally abducting” their child without so much as a court order.
As a mother, I’d found story especially chilling, particularly the implication that the State has the power to seize one’s child on a whim. Like many, I reacted with anger and disgust towards California CPS, Sacramento police, and the hospital employees who’d “sicced” CPS on the poor family in the first place.
California CPS was almost universally condemned for their actions, ordered to return the infant, and subjected to extensive auditing. At no point did it seem that CPS may have actually been justified in their course of action… until now.
You see, it turns out that there was more to this story than was ever reported in the media. Due to privacy regulations, CPS has never been able to tell their side of the story or explain the rationale behind their decision to seize baby — nor were they able to address the factual distortions and allegations of conspiracy which spread through the press like wildfire.
But this past November, court documents were released which paint a substantially different picture of what really occurred in the case of baby Sammy Nikolayev. It now appears that CPS may have been fully justified in their actions.
Apparently the problem with the “second opinion” from Kaiser was that they either failed to fully understand the severity of this baby’s condition or else they were not made aware of certain facts — like that the baby had not been medicated for a full three weeks. I’m guessing it was a combination of both.
The Kaiser pediatrician who treated little Sammy expressed his full confidence that the five-month-old, eleven-pound, “hydrated-appearing,” baby would “gain weight/become fully hydrated” under the Nikolayevs’ care and instructed them to follow up with a pediatrician. Not a pediatric cardiologist, nor any of the specialists who had been working with the baby — just a regular, garden-variety pediatrician.
More from Reason.com:
So how did the Nikolayevs go from “competent and concerned” with Samuel’s care to being raided and having their baby removed within 24 hours? Court records reveal that the Sutter Memorial social worker, who had originally reported the case to CPS, didn’t trust the work done at Kaiser.
I’d say it’s pretty clear that CPS had some legitimate concerns, and that the baby may very well have been in imminent danger, which would legally justify CPS’s decision to act without a court order. Yet at this point the Reason article takes a surprisingly sharp and questionable turn, citing a letter to the parents from the pediatric cardiologist dated May 9th:
The Reason author believes that because the baby would not have been placed in imminent danger by Mom’s declining the surgery, CPS had no caused to act without a court order. I’d say that’s a pretty foolish conclusion to draw, one which completely disregards all the evidence presented in the first half of the article suggesting the baby was not being properly cared for. Whether or not the surgery was an emergency is in fact irrelevant; Sammy Nikolayev was removed from his parents’ custody due to allegations of severe neglect against his mother, not because the parents refused the operation.
Click here to read the full article from Reason.com