BOSTON, MA, May 6, 2014 ( — Fifteen months after they lost custody of their daughter, Lou and Linda Pelletier are seeing a “baby step” victory against the government agency that oversees 15-year old Justina.

In a press release, Liberty Counsel, which represents the Pelletier family in its fight for custody of Justina, announced that Massachusetts' Department of Children and families (DCF) has proposed moving Justina to a location an hour from the family's home in Connecticut. Justina is currently being kept in Massachusetts by DCF.

“Ironically, DCF says that it will support reunification if the Pelletiers follow Tufts Medical Center care plan, which is what the Pelletiers wanted to do 14-months ago when Boston Children’s Hospital created a new plan and brought in DCF to enforce it,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.


However, Staver warned that the Pelletiers are not happy about the proposed arrangement, as outlined in a document sent to media by Liberty Counsel.

“DCF needs to give the Pelletiers assurances that it will follow Tufts Medical Center recommendations. In addition, the Pelletiers must be given accurate information and open lines of communication with Dr. Mark Korson and other Tufts Medical Center healthcare providers,” he said.

Other concerns include that Justina will be placed at a facility that will focus on her alleged psychological issues, not a medical health care facility.

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The Pelletiers say the facility is also located too far from the local public high school, and will hinder Justina's education.

DCF appears to have told the media about its plan before bringing it to the attention of the Pelletiers, which is seen as another step by the agency in undercutting the negotiations between DCF and the family.

Staver called for Justina to be “home by her sixteenth birthday on May 24.”

Justina, whose custody battle has garnered national attention, including legislation introduced last week in Congress, began when her parents took her to Boston Children's Hospital in February 2013. A doctor at the hospital said her mitochondrial disorder, for which she had been treated at Tufts for two years, was psychological in nature, and said her parents were causing the psychological disorder he diagnosed her with.

Since then, the Pelletiers have fought against DCF for the right to talk to the press about their daughter, have only seen her during brief, observed sessions, and have seen their daughter's health deteriorate. She has spent time in two psychiatric centers since being put under DCF's care.


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