After months of false leads and dead ends, there have been some promising updates in the case of Connecticut teen Justina Pelletier. The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families took custody of Justina after her parents disputed the diagnosis doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital’s handed down. Boston Children’s Hospital said the then 15-year-old had a psychiatric disorder – not mitochondrial disease, which her parents had been treating her for at the direction of another doctor.
Though a Boston juvenile court judge recently awarded permanent custody of Justina to the state DCF, it would appear, based on the letter by Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz, that a plan is in the works to at least return Justina to her home state of Connecticut.
“Justina Pelletier should return to her home state of Connecticut to receive the services and support she needs close to her friends, family, school and community,” Polanowicz writes. “We strongly believe that this outcome is in Justina’s best interests, and have laid the groundwork to make it happen.”
Read the full letter HERE.
Meanwhile, Human Events reported on Monday that a Boston psychiatric nurse who cares for Justina filed a mandated reporter complaint against Boston Children’s Hospital. In the written complaint to Department of Children & Families Commissioner Olga Roche, Kathleen T. Higgins, R.N. alleges state authorities have unlawfully imprisoned Justina for 14 months. On radio this morning, Glenn read through portions of the letter.
In a letter dated January 8, Higgins wrote that she has “been engaged with Linda, Lou and Jennifer Pelletier, the parents and eldest sister of Justina Pelletier, to facilitate Justina’s discharge from Bader 5, inpatient psychiatric unit of Boston Children’s Hospital, where she has been unjustly and illegally imprisoned for the past nine months” since April 23, 2013.
Furthermore, Higgins explained that without a history of “serious mental illness” or behaviors to indicate she was at risk for harming herself or others, holding Justina against her will is abusive behavior.
Read the full report via Human Events HERE.
Finally, on Wednesday, TheBlaze reported Olga Roche, the embattled commissioner of the Massachusetts DCF whom Higgins wrote her complaint to, had resigned from her post. Governor Deval Patrick said it was impossible for her to continue in her current role. Roche was facing mounting pressure following the death of three children.
Olga Roche’s resignation comes after calls from top Democratic lawmakers — including Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray — for Roche to be replaced as commissioner of the Department of Children and Families.
“I have accepted her resignation because I believe it is not possible for the agency to move forward in this environment with her at the helm,” said John Polanowicz, secretary of the state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services, which oversees the DCF.
The agency named Erin Deveney as its interim commissioner. She has been working there for about 30 days following a stint at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“Olga Roche presided over the horrific mistreatment of Justina Pelletier and the tragic deaths of children in DCF custody,” the Pelletier’s spokesman Rev. Patrick Mahoney said. “We hope Erin Deveney will correct the systemic injustice of the previous administration by taking immediate steps to free Justina into the loving arms of her family and accepting the reunification proposal.”
While there is still a lot of work to be done before Justina is returned not just to the state of Connecticut but to her family, these developments offer a glimmer of hope to an otherwise inexplicable case.
You can learn more about the fight to free Justina HERE.