Justina Pelletier with her parents, Linda and Lou. Justina has been in the custody of the state of Massachusetts since last year. (Image source: Facebook)
Massachusetts lawmakers are getting involved in the Justina Pelletier case and have begun circulating a resolution asking the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to initiate the process of releasing the teenager to her parents.
State Reps. Marc Lombard and Jim Lyons, both Republicans, announced on Wednesday that 12 representatives have already signed on to support the resolution.
“The self-stated goal of the Department of Children and Families is to strengthen the link between families. Removing a child from her family is reserved for only the most egregious circumstances where evidence of malicious intent, negligence or the blatant inability to care for the child is present. No such findings are present in this case,” Lombardo said in a press release.
Lyons argued the Pelletier case is a “dispute between conflicting medical opinions” and treatment decisions should be left to parents, not DCF.
“The Department’s heavy-handed, unjustified interference with the rights of these parents is an example of what is wrong with this agency,” he added.
The resolution will be brought up at the next meeting of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, MyFoxBoston.com reports.
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It was also revealed on Wednesday that Justina Pelletier will not be transferred to foster care against her parents wishes after the Shared Living Collaborative declined to accept the girl due to the national attention surrounding the case, according the Boston Globe, which cites unnamed sources.
At a custody hearing earlier this week, a judge decided Justina should be transferred to a foster care facility.
Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, also confirmed that the 15-year-old will stay put at the Wayside Youth and Family Support Network in Framingham, Mass. Mahoney has reportedly been in contact with the Pelletier family regarding the case but said he couldn’t elaborate on the decision due to a gag order.
The Pelletier family has been fighting to regain custody of Justina since February 2013 when she was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital, a visit that sparked the current custody dispute.
The next custody hearing in the case is scheduled for March 17.
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