Justina Pelletier Moved to Connecticut Psychiatric Facility

Barb Wire

Monday afternoon, Justina Pelletier was transferred by ambulance to the behavior (psychiatric) wing of the JRI Susan Wayne Center in Thompson, Connecticut, about an hour from the home of Linda and Lou Pelletier.

This action initiated by the Massachusetts Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is in lieu of putting her in a medical center – or returning her to her family’s custody.

Justina remains a ward of the state – for now.

The Pelletiers pray this is a breakthrough.

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After meeting with the staff at the Wayne Center, the Pelletiers were optimistic.  In separate statements, Lou Pelletier said, “For now, we’re going along with it. She’s gotten out of that Wayside facility where she’s been 4 months now. So now she’s at least in the state of Connecticut and hopefully this is her last stop and hopefully a short one before she’s home in West Hartford.”

On a positive note, the Pelletiers are now allowed unsupervised visits with much greater frequency. Justina will also begin immediate therapy with a healthcare worker familiar with her condition.

Following Justina’s move, family spokesperson Reverend Patrick Mahoney said, “Today was a positive step in the right direction toward ending the 15 month nightmare for Justina and the Pelletier family. After meeting staff at Susan Wayne, it appears that there is light at the end of the tunnel for Justina to return home.

“The eyes of the nation are now on the state of Massachusetts, DCF, and HHS, and whether they will keep their promise to return Justina home as soon as possible. We must continue to speak out with a loud voice until Justina is back in the loving arms of her family.”

At this point, we can only hope the DCF will do what they say they’ll do. Liberty Counsel will continue aggressive legal representation until Justina is finally home!

We filed a petition calling for Justina’s immediate release to her family.

The Liberty Counsel legal team filed a habeas corpus petition with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court asking for the immediate release of Justina from her unlawful detention.

DCF has absolutely no reason to continue to hold Justina, nor did they have any reason to take her in the first place. A disputed medical diagnosis does not warrant the removal of a child from the care of her parents and family.

The “parent-ectomy” performed on Justina Pelletier by the DCF and Boston Children’s Hospital was unwarranted and unlawful. This was an egregious overreach and abuse of civil rights by a state-run agency.

Justina’s civil rights have been violated and her religious freedoms have been suppressed. The DCF has prevented her from participating in religious services or receive sacraments. As a ward of the state, she is virtually imprisoned even in her improved setting at the Wayne Center.

We believe this is a battle worth fighting on behalf of the Pelletiers and parents nationwide.

What a wonderful Mother’s Day gift Linda Pelletier would have received if the DCF had done the right thing and returned Justina home. Instead, every action they take is to cover their own negligence and misguided “parent-ectomy” against the Pelletier family.

DCF needs to act on the best interest of Justina and return her home by her sixteenth birthday on May 24, not continue covering the tracks of incompetent bureaucrats who should be investigated and held accountable.

Massachusetts Health and Human Services John Polanowicz, DCF officials, and Governor Deval Patrick disingenuously insist that only the court can return Justina home. DCF and Governor Patrick only need to inform the court that Justina should return home, and it would happen immediately.

If DCF really wanted to return Justina home, they could advise the court it has no objection to our Petition. Those who fail to act when it is in their power to do so and those who have harmed Justina will be held accountable.

(Liberty Counsel has dedicated a large proportion of our legal resources to this case. If you feel so led, please click here to help with whatever size gift is possible to offset the litigation expenses for the Pelletier case.)

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Mathew D. Staver is Chairman and Founder of Liberty Counsel®, an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. With offices in Florida, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and an outreach in Israel, Liberty Counsel has hundreds of advocates around the world.

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