State of Mass. officials offer deal to release Justina from their custody
After being held hostage for close to 15 months, the Connecticut teen may be released by Massachusetts authorities after public protest and legal complaints that the state working with Boston Children’s Hospital unlawfully seized the girl and have mistreated her.
“Today, Massachusetts Department of Children and Families took a small step in the Justina Pelletier case,” said Mathew D. “Mat” Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a non-profit organization who are representing the Pelletiers in their effort to have their daughter released from the state’s unlawful captivity.
DCF have proposed moving Justina to the behavioral wing at the JRI Susan Wayne Center in Thompson, Connecticut about an hour’s away from the home of Linda and Lou Pelletier, he said.
Staver said that DCF officials in an underhanded move, released a so-called reunification plan to the press before giving it to the parents, who had demanded that their daughter be set free from their hostile custody and returned to them at their home in West Hartford, Connecticut.
In response to the reunification plan Liberty Counsel and Lou Pelletier said in a joint statement:
“Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz released a plan to reunify Justina with her family, but it has significant issues that must be addressed. Liberty Counsel believes that it would be ideal to get Justina to Connecticut, if these concerns are met,” the statement said. “Ironically, DCF says that it will support reunification if the Pelletiers follow Tufts Medical Center care plan, which is what the Pelletiers wanted to do 14-months ago when Boston Children’s Hospital created a new plan and brought in DCF to enforce it.”
They further stated that the plan inaccurately asserts that only the Juvenile Court has the authority to determine when and if custody be returned to the Pelletiers. “DCF’s own regulations for case closure make it abundantly clear that it is within DCF’s power to end this situation immediately.”
Liberty Counsel and Lou Pelletier said: DCF proposed that the former competitive figure skater, who is in failing health, receive more “behavioral modification” at the Thompson center, but Justina needs medical treatment, physical therapy, and educational and social needs satisfied not more psychological treatment.
In fact DCF regulations explicitly state that DCF has the option to close cases by administrative decision without court action, they said in the statement. “The notion that this is all out of DCF’s hands is demonstrably wrong.”
In the best interest of Justina, Staver said DCF should return Justina home by her 16th birthday on May 24. “DCF and Gov. Deval L. Patrick only need to inform the court that Justina should return home, and it will happen immediately.”