Sacramento family fights seizure of child by CPS

by CalWatchdog Staff | May 24, 2013 3:36 pm

May 24, 2013

By Katy Grimes


SACRAMENTO — A Sacramento couple recently had their baby ripped from their arms at their home by Sacramento Child Protective Services[2] workers, with the help of local police, after telling a Sacramento hospital they wanted a second opinion on treatment for their baby.

According to the family, Anna Nikolayev tried to leave Sutter Memorial Hospital and take her baby Sammy, 5 months old, to another hospital for a second opinion, when she was threatened with a call to the CPS. Sammy was born with a serious heart condition. After a nurse at Sutter Memorial tried to give Sammy medicine that a doctor later explained should not have been administered, Anna became nervous about the quality of Sammy’s care. She expressed her desire to receive a second opinion from another doctor.

Anna Nikolayev said she didn’t like the care Sammy was receiving from Sutter, and felt the doctors and nurses were “pressing us to do surgery.” She was told by the hospital workers, “You are free to leave this hospital, but your baby is not.” The hospital refused to discharge Sammy.  And they notified the CPS.

Anna put Sammy in his stroller, left Sutter Memorial and went directly to Kaiser Hospital. She met with a doctor there who said Sammy was free to go home, and didn’t need immediate surgery. The second doctor wrote that Sammy was cleared to go home with his parents. “I do not have concern for the safety of the child at home with his parents,” the Kaiser doctor wrote in the medical release from the hospital.

CPS shows up

The next day, CPS and the police showed up at the family’s home, claimed they had a warrant and the authority to take Sammy. Anna asked to see the warrant, but the authorities wouldn’t show it to her. What they had was a CPS order, generated in their offices, not a court order signed by a judge.  Thanks to Anna’s quick thinking, there is a home video[3] of this abusive government action, in which one police officer can be heard telling Anna, “I’m going to grab your baby and don’t resist and don’t fight me, okay?”

Second doctor’s note

The Nikolayevs showed police the note from the second doctor, but to no avail. Police forced Alex Nikolayev to the ground. “This is like living under communist regime,” Nikolayev told News 10 the next day, as shown in the above YouTube. He and Anna are immigrants from Russia, which for 74 years was run by a communist government.

CPS took the baby away, claiming “severe neglect.” Sutter Memorial released a media statement explaining the qualifications of the doctors and nurses, but said, “Our nurses and physicians are bound by law to call Child Protective Services if they believe a pediatric patient’s health is in danger.”

Lawmaker wants audit of CPS

Assemblyman Donnelly is now demanding an audit of Child Protective Services.

Donnelly first contacted a Deputy Director at CPS. “The first question I asked them is, ‘Are these parents abusive? Do you suspect that they are guilty of neglect or something along those lines.’ And they said, ‘Absolutely not; 99.9 percent these are just normal parents.’ And I said then, ‘What the Hell are you doing?'”

Donnelly said CPS told him, “We don’t answer to Assemblymen.”

Donnelly wrote a letter to Sherri Heller, CPS Director, demanding to know under what authority was CPS acting by removing Sammy from the Nikolayev home for seeking a second medical opinion.

Heller responded to Donnelly in a two-page letter filled with legal codes justifying the CPS decision to take the Nikolayev baby:

“The law is clear: if there is imminent risk of serious harm to the child and there is insufficient time to obtain a court order to remove the child from the care of the parents, the social worker or law enforcement officer can remove the child. The legal term is ‘exigent circumstances.’…

“The laws and policies that guide agency practice are designed to ensure that there are adequate protections for the rights of everyone involved, while placing priority on children’s health, safety, and well-being.” 

“I am shocked and appalled an agency of Sacramento County would go so far to remove a child from the care of his able and loving parents,” Donnelly said.

On June 5 at 9 a.m. there will be a rally for the baby on the South steps of the State Capitol led by Donnelly. After that, he will lead a 10 a.m. hearing to audit the policies and procedures of the Sacramento County Child Protective Services regarding child seizures.

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