Polanowicz details reunification plan for Justina Pelletier - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Polanowicz details reunification plan for Justina Pelletier

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz outlined plans for Justina Pelletier to be reunited with her family in a letter to State Rep. Brad Jones Monday.

In the letter, Polanowicz outlines a four-step plan state officials shared with the Pelletier family earlier in the day.

According to Polanowicz, Justina will be moved to the JRI Susan Wayne Center for Excellence in Thompson, Conn. next week. He says DCF will support the return of custody to Justina's parents once they've met four conditions. The conditions include attending visits with Justina at JRI, following through with the Tufts Medical Center care plan, participating in family therapy, and meeting with DCF to review progress.

The 15-year-old was taken into DCF custody in February 2013 after a dispute over her medical diagnoses at Boston Children's Hospital. In March, a judge ordered the state take over permanent custody.

During a press conference Monday, FOX 25's Sharman Sacchetti asked Polanowicz what has changed.

"I think what's changed is we continue to see some progress with Justina and clearly we want to get Justina home as does her family," said Polanowicz. The secretary added that he thinks the Pelletier family was obviously upset that they could not devise a quicker path home.

A spokesperson for the Pelletier family said this is not a final deal and the family wants Justina home immediately. He claimed the media received the letter from Polanowicz before the family even saw it.

Justina's father, Lou Pelletier, called the plan another slap in the face, a kick in the stomach. He went on to say that taxpayers have paid close to $2 million for the care of his daughter. Justina's mother, Linda Pelletier, says that her daughter does not belong in behavioral modification. The family says that they want Justina home by her birthday on May 24.

Last week, Polanowicz submitted a letter to FOX 25 saying Justina should return home to her family to get the care and support that she needs. The letter also says the court, and not DCF, has the final say in custody matters.

The Massachusetts Senate Republican Caucus sent a letter to Interim DCF Commissioner Erin Deveney Monday regarding the Pelletier case, which read in part: "A significant opportunity to begin rebuilding the trust and the confidence that the agency needs to move forward lies in resolving the ongoing case of Justina Pelletier, the 15-year-old resident of Connecticut that has been in the care and custody of the department since February of 2013, following the filing of a 51A report by officials at Boston Children's Hospital alleging medical child abuse on the part of her parents."

The letter went on to say that DCF "must reconsider the current policy of retaining a resident of another state" and "not only should DCF not seek to referee a dispute between courses of treatment offered by competent medical providers, it should also recognize a parent's role in medical decision-making."

Lou Pelletier said he has filed in State Superior Court what's called a writ of habeas corpus against DCF for unlawful imprisonment and he wants to have Justina brought before a judge. The family says this is far from over.


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