A juvenile court judge issued a ruling Tuesday giving the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families “permanent” custody of Justina Pelletier. Any future decision to return the 15-year-old to her parents is now solely up to the agency.
Judge Joseph Johnston ruled in response to a motion from Pelletier’s court-appointed lawyer and her parents’ lawyers, Linda and Lou Pelletier of West Hartford Conn., which called for “conditional custody” of their daughter, reports The Boston Globe.
She has been in the custody of the state since February, 2013, when DCF removed her from her parents care. They have been aggressively demanding custody of Justina since then, and the case has gained national attention.
Justina Pelletier was being treated for mitochondrial disease, a genetic disorder that affects muscle tissue, by doctors at Tufts Medical Center early last year. She was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital when she came down with the flu. Doctors at BCH disagreed with the Tufts doctors and diagnosed her with somatoform disorder, a mental illness.
Her parents rejected the new diagnosis and attempted to move her back to Tufts, when BCH notified the state it suspected the parents of medical abuse. The Massachussetts Department of Children and Families took emergency custody of Pelletier in February.