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Report: Mass. DCF 'Actively Working' to Return Justina Pelletier to Her Parents

The news comes as hundreds prepare to attend a vigil Saturday at the facility in Framingham, Mass., where 15-year-old West Hartford resident "is being held."

Justina Pelletier, 15, with her parents. Credit: Patch File Photo
Justina Pelletier, 15, with her parents. Credit: Patch File Photo
A year-long custody battle between a West Hartford family and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) could be coming to a close with the ending that the family has sought all along — for their 15-year-old daughter Justina Pelletier to come home.

The Massachusetts DCF is "actively working" to return Justina to her parents, in Connecticut, under the care of their preferred health provider, Tufts Medical Center, according to a report published Friday evening by WCVB in Boston.

The news was bittersweet for the family, as it came the same day that their weekly visit with Justina was cancelled by the DCF because a media outlet was present, WCVB reports. It also comes just days after a judge in the controversial case had expressed an openness to Justina returning home to her parents.

Pelletier, who has been diagnosed and treated by Tufts Medical Center doctors for mitochondrial disorder, a rare genetic disease, was sent to Boston Children’s Hospital for a bout with the flu in February 2013.

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

The Massachusetts DCF then took custody of Justina when the Pelletiers disagreed with the treatment. That was a year ago.

Hundreds Planning to Attend Prayer Vigil Saturday

Justina is now at Wayside Youth and Family Support in Framingham, Mass. And in a show of support and solidarity with her family, hundreds are planning to hold a vigil outside the facility Saturday, March 1, from noon to 1:30 p.m.

"We are inviting people of faith and good will to stand in solidarity with the Pelletier family and join us at a prayer vigil and public witness at the facility where their daughter Justina is being held," an event description on Facebook states.

"It is critical that we be a loud and passionate voice for this 15 year old girl who was ripped from her home by the government against the wishes of her family. We cannot be silent when we see the rights of families and parents trampled by public officials and courts," it continues.

"We want to stress this is NOT a protest or demonstration and we are there to peacefully prayer and call for Justina to be returned to the loving arms of her family. Also, where the vigil is being held, the residents of the facility will not be able to see us."
Robert F. Clark March 01, 2014 at 03:05 PM
Ironic that doctors will insist that you get a second opinion for diagnosis, and then something like this happens. Seriously, given the reputation of both medical facilities, who would any parent believe? World renowned Tufts Medical Center, or Equally renowned Bostons Children's Hospital? And for that matter, had they refused treatment on part of religious belief, they would have not lost their daughter in the first place. Instead they chose to accept the first opinion of their Daughters illness over another that was only brought in to treat a separate issue. And considering the fact that they obviously cared enough to take her to the hospital for the flu in the first place, it amazes me that DCF was even involved with this. Sounds like Boston is starting to turn into another Connecticut, where the state is your children's parents, and you are just babysitters. Till they find a reason to take them over for you.
Jakob Stagg March 01, 2014 at 03:06 PM
Following the money and finding out who benefits will reveal all.
Meagan Doliber March 01, 2014 at 06:25 PM
Jakob, as she is in state care, the money leads to the taxpayers. Did you have someone else in mind? The covering insurance was mass health , so children's was only receiving half the typical amount for her stay..and will likely face an expensive lawsuit, which, if won, would benefit the family. Money is not key here; Ego, on the other hand....
Meagan Doliber March 01, 2014 at 06:31 PM
It's really sad, not only for the family's loss, but for the reputation and finances of children's hospital. I'm sure they have some sort of insurance for lawsuits and a team of high-powered attorneys on staff, but losing face and losing money only effects the treatment of patients that are currently there. Also, they do some amazing things there in terms of treatment, research, and patient care. It's a shame that this whole idea of the bad-guy mom is still so prevalent in the medical community- cant be a rare disorder, must be evil refrigerator mom. Speak against one egotistical asshole, and suddenly you have to defend your concern for your child.
MAC March 15, 2014 at 02:35 AM
Speaking of "a big pile of dirt," I just discovered that the infamous Donald Berwick is also a pediatrician, Adjunct Staff in the Department of Medicine at Children's Hospital Boston, and a Consultant in Pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital!!............................................................................... Keep Justina and her family in your prayers:.............................. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/03/12/justina-pelletier-speaks-out-i-feel-like-a-prisoner/......................................................... ...“To hear Justina say she feels like a prisoner and wants to return home with her parents is heartbreaking,” Staver said. “DCF has abused its authority and hurt this family. DCF had no right to come between Justina and her parents. The parents love their daughter and were following expert medical advice in treating their daughter. Justina was doing well under the parents care. Now she is confined to a wheelchair. Justin loved going to school, but she has not seen her classmates or received any education in 14-months. This is a tragedy. Justina needs to be freed from her prison.”.................................................................................. --------------------------------------------------------------------------Another hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 17, at the Juvenile Court........................................................................ “My goal is to get Justina home,” Staver concluded. [Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel]

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