Posted: Feb 28, 2014 11:51 AM EST
BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) — The Department of Children and Families hopes to return a Connecticut teen at the center of a high-profile custody battle back to her home state.
In a statement to FOX 25 Friday, a DCF spokesperson said the department’s primary goal has “always been the health and well-being” of Justina Pelletier.
“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,” read the statement in-part. “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.”
Justina will remain in custody of the Department of Children and Families in foster care until her family’s next court date, scheduled for March 17.
You would think the family and their advocates would be happy and encouraged by these developments. Instead, Reverend Patrick Mahoney, leader of the Free Justina campaign said in a press conference Friday that they’re disgusted by DCF’s handling of the entire case, and still are not satisfied.
“The ultimate issue is not geography, but custody. So that’s like saying I’m getting beat up, and she’s not getting beat up, but I’m getting abused and mistreated, but oh guess what now I’ll get mistreated and abused in another state. It’s really about custody, not location, not geography,” he said.
He went on to say that her condition has been deteriorating since she was taken from her family.
Pelletier was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease years ago, a condition causing muscle pain and weakness. Then, almost a year ago, she was admitted to Children’s with the flu.
The Connecticut teen was treated at Children’s Hospital in Boston for almost a year.
At the hospital, her parents say a different set of doctors diagnosed her with “somatoform disorder,” in short, saying she suffered from a mental illness, not mitochondrial disease, and that her symptoms were psychologically induced.
When her parents reportedly disagreed and asked for a second opinion, they lost custody of their daughter. DCF was called in after just four days. The parents haven’t had custody since last February.
In a statement to FOX 25, Children’s Hospital officials said they have respected the decisions of DCF and the court during the process. They add that they will help facilitate Justine’s transfer.