The Boston Globe is reporting that a judge in Massachusetts has ruled that teenager Justina Pelletier is to be returned to her parents after being in custody of the State for 16 months against their will.
Many believe this should never have happened. We can only hope and pray Justina is able to recover and lead a normal life. Many good wishes to the family.
Massachusetts juvenile court Judge Joseph Johnston wrote:
“I find that the parties have shown by credible evidence that circumstances have changed since the adjudication on Dec. 20, 2013, that Justina is a child in need of care and protection pursuant to G.L. c. 199, 24-26. Effective Wednesday, June 18, 2014, this care and protection petition is dismissed and custody of Justina is returned to her parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier.”
Philip Moran, the lawyer for the girls’ parents, Linda and Lou Pelletier:
“She will be home with her parents, sisters, pets and friends. Hopefully well see major progress because this is what she really needs. It’s a wonderful feeling to see that this little girl will be able to go home.”
The Department of Children and Families took emergency custody of the teen on Valentine’s Day 2013 after a diagnostic dispute arose between some doctors at Tufts Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital over the causes of her medical problems, including difficulty eating and walking.
Tufts doctors had been treating Pelletier for mitochondrial disease, a group of rare genetic disorders affecting cellular energy production, but physicians at Children’s concluded that her symptoms were largely psychiatric in origin. Her parents rejected the new diagnosis, and when they tried to move the girl back to Tufts, the Children’s team notified the state that it suspected the parents of medical child abuse.
Pelletier remained at Children’s for almost a year, most of the time in a locked psychiatric ward. Johnston wrote that the girl was ready to leave the hospital in June 2013 but could not be discharged because Massachusetts child-protection officials’ efforts to find a suitable placement “were significantly hampered by the parents.”
A Massachusetts juvenile court judge then awarded permanent custody of teenager Justina Pelletier to the state Department of Children and Families, which started a 16-month custody battle involving the Massachusetts child protection agency. This past weekend, Justina Pelletier was allowed to spend Father’s Day at home without any state supervision, the teen’s second such visit, according to Lou Pelletier.