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Massachusetts Announces Plan To Send Justina Pelletier Back To Connecticut

By WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve
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BOSTON (CBS) — It looked like a breakthrough, but Justina Pelletier’s parents are not happy about a plan that will send their daughter home.

Justina, 15, has been in the custody of the state for more than one year. Massachusetts leaders are now ready to send her back to Connecticut. But as Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve reports, Justina’s family is angry over the terms.

Lou Pelletier says, “We are not going to let her go back into harm’s way. She is not going to a behavioral psychiatric facility again. She has been tortured enough. It is going to end.”

An angry Lou Pelletier rejected the state’s latest plan to move his daughter to a rehab facility closer to the family home in Connecticut. Justina Pelletier has been in state custody since February 2013 after the Connecticut teenager arrived at Boston Children’s Hospital. She was having trouble walking and eating.

Doctors concluded that her problems were not a rare genetic disorder, but rather psychiatric in nature and that the parents were guilty of medical child abuse.

Her parents reject that.

Linda Pelletier says, “I have four children, Justina is my youngest. I think I have done a pretty good job.”

The state was given full legal custody of Justina last December and placed her in a facility in Framingham. For the past two weeks the family has been negotiating with the state to bring Justina home immediately. The case is getting national attention. Today the state would only agree to transfer her to another facility in Connecticut next week and that the family get therapy.

Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz said the “reunification” plan calls for Justina to be transferred to the JRI Susan Wayne Center for Excellence, a therapeutic education provider in Thompson, Connecticut, as the first step in a process that could eventually return her to the custody of her parents.

Polanowicz says, “As you can imagine they were hoping to be able to bring Justina home today. Because that was not the case… they are upset.”

Lou Pelletier says, “Justina needs to be home by her birthday May 24th and that is the ultimatum we have given the secretary and the DCF commissioner.”

The family says they will continue to exercise any and all legal options. In the meantime Massachusetts can still move Justina to Connecticut without the family’s permission. The family says they will fight that.

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