After a harrowing 16-month battle with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, Justina Pelletier’s family will be welcoming the teen home this week.
Despite ruling just months ago that the 16-year-old should be placed in the permanent custody of the DCF, Suffolk County Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Johnston backtracked Tuesday. In his decision, he cited the fact that “circumstances have changed,” ordering that “custody of Justina is returned to her parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier.”
Family attorney Philip Moran expressed the family’s joy at the prospect of this long-awaited reunion:
“She will be home with her parents, sisters, pets and friends. Hopefully we’ll see major progress because this is what she really needs.”
Reports indicate Justina’s condition deteriorated drastically since she was stripped from her family following a dispute over her medical care. While her parents wanted to follow the advice of her treating physicians, state officials sided with a recent medical school graduate who asserted the symptoms she exhibited were largely psychosomatic.
While in the state’s custody, she was reportedly deprived of educational and spiritual resources and visits with her parents were limited to one supervised hour per week.
Photo Credit: Facebook/Free Justina Pelletier Now