Over a year of separation, a judge from Massachusetts decided this week the 16-year-old Justina Pelletier will be returned to her family Wednesday.
The teen was taken from her family when officials disagreed with her parentsâ€™ medical decisions, regardless of the fact they were simply following the instructions of her physicians. Tuesdayâ€™s decision is a sharp contrast to the judgeâ€™s ruling earlier this year, in which he granted permanent custody of Justina to the stateâ€™s Department of Children and Families.
In his ruling, he determined that â€œcircumstances have changedâ€ and that â€œcustody of Justina is returned to her parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier.â€
â€œItâ€™s a wonderful feeling to see that this little girl will be able to go home. She will be home with her parents, sisters, pets and friends. Hopefully weâ€™ll see major progress because this is what she really needs.â€
Events have been leading toward this conclusion in recent weeks. In May, state officials decided to relocate Justina to a facility in her home state of Connecticut. Unfortunately for the family, however, that location was about the same distance away from them as the Massachusetts facility from which she was being relocated.
Justina was able to visit her parents for Fatherâ€™s Day recently and during a temporary trip to her home the previous week. Prior to these respites, visitation was limited to one hour per week under strict supervision.
According to messages she was able to smuggle to her parents, Justina was being deprived of basic needs including educational and religious resources.
Though Suffolk County Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Johnston was set to hand down the next ruling in the case Friday, the good news came a few days early for the Pelletier family. Judge Reunites Pelletier