West Hartford girl returning to Connecticut - WFSB 3 Connecticut

West Hartford girl returning to Connecticut amidst medical custody dispute

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An uphill battle involving two West Hartford parents, their daughter and the state of Massachusetts was not over Monday despite the news that Justina Pelletier was coming back to Connecticut.

Lou Pelletier, Justina's father, called it a blow to his family. He and his wife had been trying to get their daughter home, not just back in the state.

"For us it was another slap in the face, another kick in the stomach," he said.

"She does not belong in a behavioral modification program at all," added Linda Pelletier, Justina's mother.

After more than a year, the 15-year-old was coming back to the state.

Monday night, her parents spoke out after officials in Massachusetts made the decision to send her to the JRI Susan Wayne Center for Excellence in Thompson with which they did not agree. However, those officials said they made the right decision.

"At this point, our focus is we want Justina to go home," said one Massachusetts official. "We think that at this point, with all of the family dynamics that are going on and the media attention, that getting her home with the appropriate services is going to be the best thing."

A judge granted custody of Justina to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families after doctors at the Children's Hospital in Boston said her problems were psychiatric and may have stemmed from child abuse.

However, her parents said she has a cell-based disease.

"At the end of the day, it really comes back to this simple premise that the Pellitiers are better to take care of their child than government," said Rev. Patrick Mahoney, the family's spokesperson.

The Pelletiers said they continue to ask why this was happening. They also said they would continue to fight until Justina was home.

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