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Pelletier Case: Judge Could Rule on Custody This Week

A year-long custody dispute between West Hartford parents and the Massachusetts DCF may come to an end this week.

Justina Pelletier and parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier - Credit: Patch File Photo
Justina Pelletier and parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier - Credit: Patch File Photo
The Pelletiers could learn this week if a judge will finally let them take their 15-year-old daughter back home to West Hartford.

The judge in Justina Pelletier’s custody case said Monday that he would make a decision by Friday, Boston.com reports.

The teen is in the middle of a year-long custody battle between her parents and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF).

Under an agreement presented by the Pelletier’s attorney, Justina would leave a facility in Framingham, Mass. and go home with her parents, provided she receives suitable medical care and schooling, according to Boston.com. The DCF reportedly opposes that plan, despite previously stating that its goal has always been to move Justina back to Connecticut.

Justina’s Story

Justina was diagnosed and treated by doctors at Tufts Medical Center of Boston, for mitochondrial disorder, a rare genetic disease.

In February 2013, she was sent to Boston Children’s Hospital for a bout with the flu, as her regular doctor was unavailable at the time.

Doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital reportedly disagreed with the diagnosis and instead diagnosed her with somatoform disorder, a mental illness characterized by pain and gastrointestinal symptoms that have no identifiable physical cause

The Massachusetts DCF took custody of Justina when the Pelletiers disagreed with the treatment. The medical team reportedly told the state they suspected medical child abuse by the parents.

That was more than a year ago. Since then, Justina’s story has garnered national attention, with many critical of the DCF’s handling of the case, including some Massachusetts legislators, who have called for the teen to be returned to her parents.

The Massachusetts DCF released a Feb. 28 statement, The Blaze reported:

“Our primary goal has always been the health and well-being of Justina,” DCF spokesman Alec Loftus said via an emailed statement to The Blaze. “We want the parents to be able to work with the providers and courts to ultimately move Justina back to her home state of Connecticut. That is the objective, and is consistent with our previous efforts to find an appropriate placement near her home. A medical team has been identified at Tufts, the family’s provider of choice, with the clinical expertise to care for Justina.”

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