It is all over the news these days – a fifteen year old child diagnosed with mitochondrial disease was forcibly removed from her parents after they took her to Boston Children’s Hospital. Is this hospital using her as a guinea pig for study of how a body disintegrates if this disease is left untreated?
Social worker agents from Boston’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) cooperated with Boston Children’s Hospital (BCF) to keep Justina Pelletier’s parents from being able to take her to another hospital – which they surely would have done once they realized that the doctors at BCF were bent on discontinuing her medications. They contended that her problem was psychosomatic only.
In the video above, dramatic footage shows that Justina was healthy enough to be ice skating before her parents were legally eliminated from her life. After thirteen months in BCF without treatment, she’s now in a wheelchair, unable to walk!
Justina’s father, Lou Pelletier, explains that no child welfare investigation of his family was ever conducted. The DCF agents didn’t bother going to the Pelletier home, didn’t interview him or his wife, and refused to acknowledge the advice given to them by doctors at the respected and renowned Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Those doctors gave the Pelletiers the mitochondrial disease diagnosis and provided care for Justina prior to the abduction by BCF and Boston’s DCF agents.
FYI to the Pelletiers: it is par for the course for DCF / CPS agents NOT to bother doing a full investigation of parents. Many, many children have been abducted by child welfare agencies without a full investigation, without even a home visit. They will get as much “evidence” as they need to fill a social worker’s report to the court, and not bother doing the rest. Anything good that they find out about the family is conveniently left out of the report because it doesn’t fulfill their intent of censuring and discrediting the family.
I hope this case, as high-profile as it is, will result in permanent changes in the way child welfare investigations are conducted. Please, go all the way to the Supreme Court with this if possible. We need new case law to protect children from unnecessary seizure.
UPDATE 3/20/14: The Judge Ordered DCF To Prepare A Plan To Return Justina To Her Family MONTHS Ago – but they didn’t do it. This links to a radio program by Michael Graham. It is an interview with Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver.
UPDATE 3/26/14: Massachusetts granted permanent custody of Justina Pelletier – Pelletier’s parents rebuked over handling of case, abusive manner with officials – article by Patricia Win, published 2/25/14 in the Boston Globe.