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IS “THE IMPOSSIBLE” POSSIBLE?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jun. 1, 2014) — There will be a rally for the reunification of Justina Pelletier with her family.
The 16-year-old has been separated from her parents for almost 16 months after a difference of opinion on her medical diagnosis occurred between two doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital and those at Tufts Medical Center.
On Friday, attorneys from Liberty Counsel working on behalf of reunification said that Justina’s parents have completed all the required steps of the plan set forth by Massachusetts DCF last month. DCF took custody of Justina after it was told that her parents were suspected of “medical child abuse” for following the Tufts treatment plan for mitochondrial disease.
In February of last year, Justina’s parents took her to Boston Children’s Hospital to see a doctor who was familiar with her medical history from Tufts and had begun working at BCH. Justina reportedly was never able to see the physician after two doctors unfamiliar with her case diagnosed her with somatoform disorder and removed her from medications prescribed by Tufts, then refused to allow her parents to discharge her when they disagreed with them.
The two doctors then called DCF, claiming that the parents were depriving Justina of needed care for somatoform and giving her unnecessary drugs and medical procedures.
For nearly a year, Justina was kept in a locked psychiatric ward, and her parents and sisters were limited to a one-hour visit weekly, with armed guards present, and one 20-minute phone call monitored by a DCF worker.
Over that year and later, Justina slipped notes alleging abuse into origami creations which she mailed to her parents. At a rally held on May 24 at the Massachusetts statehouse, her father Lou made reference to “broken teeth from force-feeding” to a crowd of between 2,000 and 4,000 supporters.
The attorneys appeared optimistic on Friday that within two weeks, DCF would grant a motion for Justina to return to her home in West Hartford, CT.
A note below a YouTube version of the attorneys’ remarks states, “Pelletiers have completed the last part of the 4-point plan, but Judge Johnson says Justina still can’t go home (even though DCF did not oppose the motion). Sign-up to get ongoing updates regarding Justina.”
One of the attorneys said he personally spoke with the judge to advocate for Justina to go home as soon as possible after having met with Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz last week.
The rally on Monday will take place in front of the DCF office at 600 Washington Street, Boston, MA at 11:00 a.m. EDT and is expected to last until 1:00 p.m.
A tweet issued early on Sunday under #FreeJustina prays for the overcoming of an “obstacle that the judge placed in Justina’s path Friday so that she doesn’t have to wait weeks longer before going home.” The prayer ends:
Surround Justina and her family in Your love & protection while the obstacles are removed. Give them the hope & strength needed to get over this final hurdle to their being completely reunited.
Thank You for All You have done & will do to Free & Heal Justina! All Glory & Honor be Yours!!! In Your Holy Name, Amen!
Several weeks ago, Justina was transferred from a residential facility in Framingham, MA to the Susan Wayne Center for Excellence in Thompson, CT, which is still at least 75 minutes from the Pelletiers’ home.
May 24 was also Justina’s 16th birthday, and The Blaze reported that DCF funded a party for Justina, where she saw friends from her life prior to her illness. Justina had been a competitive figure-skater prior to contracting the flu which brought her to Boston Children’s Hospital but is now confined to a wheelchair.
The motto of Boston Children’s is “Until every child is well.” The facility boasts on its home page, “No other pediatric hospital is ranked higher.”
The Henderson family in Los Angeles, CA had also completed all parenting classes, counseling, attended all visits scheduled by DCFS and court hearings but was ultimately not reunited. Six of eight children are now in the process of being adopted despite no charges of abuse or neglect ever having been brought against Jeffrey and Erica Henderson.
A 1997 federal law was intended to encourage adoptions for children removed from their biological parents for cause, but many believe that “CPS agencies are removing children from safe, loving homes and putting them into foster care, all in hopes of getting a bunch of money from the federal government. As long as there is a financial incentive to having parental rights terminated and children adopted by foster parents, reunification efforts will be sketchy, at best. The system is set up for parents to fail. These laws need to be repealed.”
The San Diego County family courts were sued last summer by the California Coalition for Families and Children for allegations of “Criminal Extortion, Bribery, [and] Abuse of Office.” An update on the case dated May 19, 2014 states that “‘Defendants filed an avalanche of almost two hundred pages of attacks on the First Amended Complaint on virtually every legal ground that could be imagined’ says Colbern Stuart, President of California Coalition. ‘They threw the book at us, and we responded in kind.’”
Allegations of misconduct against judges and family courts have been made in hundreds, if not thousands, of other cases across the country, to which Lou Pelletier referred at the rally for his daughter last Saturday.
In another similar case, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and DCF have been sued in federal court for allegedly “doing the bidding of doctors at Boston’s Children’s Hospital” by confining a minor child to Bader 5, the psychiatric wing of Boston Children’s Hospital where Justina was shut away for a year.
As has been held for many Sundays since Justina has been separated from her family, a “Twitterstorm” will begin at 8:00 p.m. EDT.
The Rev. Patrick Mahoney, who has been a spokesman for the family and confronted Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick on camera about Justina’s confinement, posted on his Facebook page on Saturday, “Although we will not rest until Justina is returned home, I want to thank all of the people who have worked so hard in the fight to free Justina! When I came up to Boston in February, so many people were saying she would never come home. Now we are on the verge of seeing that miracle happen. The lesson learned is, through prayer, hard work, commitment,. faith and dedication the ‘impossible can become possible!'”
On Monday morning, Mahoney will meet with Polaniwicz.