In the Matter of a Proceeding Under Article 10 of the Family Court Act, Bashiri C., Khalfani C., Baby Girl A.K.A. Mensa Musa C. Children Under Eighteen Years of Age Alleged to be Neglected by Tiffany R. and Bashiri C., Respondents, 2017 N.Y. Slip Op. 50744 (U) June 7, 2017.
The King’s County Family Court has ordered the children’s services agency to proceed with all recommended immunizations for children of parents who had already been found to have neglected them.
The court noted that while fundamental, parental rights are not beyond regulation, and religious freedoms do not include exposing a community to communicable diseases. The state may intervene where religious practices endanger a child’s health.
The state has substantial power to regulate medical care of children, cinching care in entry to foster care or in entry into public school systems. An assertion that the family is interested in homeschooling as a means to circumvent regulation is unavailing where no serious religious belief exempting the family can be found in view of the children’s mother’s behavior in contradiction to professed beliefs.
In addition to requiring immunization, the court found it impracticable to force the children to adhere to the mother’s stated special diet, as they had shown signs of failure to thrive. The court remanded the children to placement through the children’s services agency.