Officials say that Justina Pelletier, the 15-year-old girl who has been the subject of a controversial year-long custody battle after her parents and doctors disagreed over how to treat her medical issues, will be moved to a center in Connecticut with the ultimate goal of returning her to her family.
Pelletier will be moved to the JRI Susan Wayne Center for Excellence in Thompson, Connecticut, where she will receive continuing treatment. Her family is expected to meet several conditions before Justina is returned to them.
In a statement released by Brad Jones, the Minority Leader in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, he described the plan for reuniting Justina and her family.
This reunification plan has been in development for several weeks. It is similar to the plan previously put forward by Justina Pelletier's attorney, and contains elements discussed during meetings between myself, the Reverend Patrick Mahoney and Justina's sister Jennifer.
As we have previously shared, DCF will support returning custody of Justina to her parents once they have engaged in the plan's basic conditions. Those conditions are:
1. Attend visits with Justina at the Susan Wayne Center for Excellence
2.Follow through with the Tufts Medical Center care plan
3. Participate in family therapy
4. Meet with DCF to review progress
Rep. Jones went on to call the new development “an important step forward in an extremely complex situation,’’ adding it is “the right pathway for Justina to return home as soon as possible.’’
The announcement came just one month after the custody battle seemed to reach some finality when a Massachusetts Juvenile Court judge awarded “permanent’’ custody of Pelletier to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. That ruling came three months after another ruling that deemed the girls’ parents unfit to care for her.