As reported in February by The New American, then-15-year-old Justina Pelletier, who had been taken from her parents over a year earlier, was placed in the permanent custody of the state of Massachusetts after a doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital overruled the diagnosis of medical experts at nearby Boston Tufts Medical Center, insisting that the girl was suffering from a mental rather than physical disorder. Since that time, Matt Staver of the legal group Liberty Counsel has been working with Linda and Lou Pelletier to get their daughter released from the state's forced confinement.
A break in the case came on June 6, when the state's Department of Children and Families (DCF) made an about-face in its position, “asking a juvenile court judge to return the girl to her parents’ custody,” reported the Boston Globe. “The development came after DCF removed its longstanding opposition to Justina’s going home to her parents, saying that Lou and Linda Pelletier, who have been fighting for the girl’s return, have met the conditions asked of them. Now all parties will be looking to see if the judge agrees.”
According to the newspaper, the “family reunification plan” included a number of conditions Justina's parents would be required to meet, including following through on a care plan designed by Tufts Medical Center, and participating in family therapy with their daughter.
Fox News reported that as part of an appeal by the Pelletiers to family court Judge Joseph Johnston, who is hearing the case, Justina Pelletier taped an emotional 45-second video in which she asked Johnston to let her go back to her family where she has always belonged. “All I really want is to be with my family and friends,” Justina pleaded to Johnston in a faltering voice. “You can do it. You're the one that's judging this. Please let me go home.”
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Photo of Boston Children's Hospital