Update on Free Justina

A Suffolk County (Mass.) court has ruled that Justina Pelletier be placed in foster care, without medical treatment, until further court hearings can be held next month.  Justina’s mother, Linda, fainted upon hearing the ruling.

Aside from the fact that this dying girl and her family are suffering, the fact that no one is targeting the villain in this case is most distressing.  At the heart of all this misery is a Massachusetts’ bureaucracy called the Department of Children and Families (DCF).  And at the heart of every bureaucracy is a heartless bureaucrat.  In this case, DCF Commissioner Olga Roche by name.

Why no news agency, not even TheBlaze, is targeting this woman or shining the spotlight on her role in Justina’s case is completely unfathomable.  You need only google Massachusetts DCF to find all the information on her and her incompetence.  Is anyone listening and paying attention?!

Boston.com reported that two dozen Massachusetts lawmakers had sent a letter to Gov. Deval Patrick seeking the resignation of DCF Commissioner Olga Roche.  Citing what they called a mishandling of cases by the Department of Children and Families. Eight Democrats signed Thursday’s letter asking for the resignation of Commissioner Olga Roche.

The agency has been under scrutiny since social workers lost track of Jeremiah Oliver, a 5-year-old Fitchburg, Mass., boy who has not been seen by relatives since September and is feared dead. His mother and her boyfriend have pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with the case.

‘‘Both Democrats and Republicans agree that Commissioner Roche has not offered a comprehensive solution to solving the epic failures of the Department of Children and Families, and it is time for some leadership that will make protecting children its number one priority,’’ Republican State Rep. Ryan Fattman of Webster, Mass., said in a statement.

And now this.  A seriously ill child is essentially being held prisoner at Boston Children’s Hospital, now a ward of a state whose DCF commissioner is under fire to resign because of mishandling of cases.  They refuse to recognize the diagnosis of a competing hospital, throwing her original doctor out of the hospital.  The father has now been charged with contempt of court for pleading his daughter’s case to anyone who can and will broadcast it to anyone who will listen and help before the girl dies.

Since the ruling this morning, the decision on whether to charge the father with violating the gag order about discussing Justina’s case with the Media has also been put off until next month.  Well maybe the Media can’t talk about Justina but there’s no gag order on discussing Olga Roche and her mismanagement of the DCF.

TheBlaze.com reported this morning that “The Suffolk County judge presiding over the case of Justina Pelletier in Boston ruled Monday to put the 15-year-old in foster care, according to sources who have been characterized as speaking for the family.

“WTIC-TV’s reporter Beau Berman tweeted the news attributing it to “Reverend”:

“Coalition, briefed the media outside Suffolk County Juvenile Court where the hearing took place and is speaking on the family’s behalf.

“Berman also said Mat Staver, founder and chairman with Liberty Counsel, was serving in a similar role. Staver said in an interview with TheBlaze Monday afternoon that while he wasn’t allowed in the court room, he was informed by the family’s local lawyer and others that the judge ruled Justina be moved into foster care at a non-medical facility.

“Staver explained that he wasn’t allowed in the court room while this decision was made because he had to motion to be allowed in as an attorney for the family. The judge didn’t immediately grant this motion, Staver said, and is allowing DCF 48 hours to contest it.

“The teenager from West Hartford, Conn., became the subject of the custody battle between her parents — Lou and Linda Pelletier — and the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families after they disagreed with physicians at Boston Children’s Hospital over a medical diagnosis that was issued by a doctor at Tufts Medical Center.

“For the last year, the Pelletiers have been in and out of court while their daughter remained in a psychiatric ward at BCH, until a few weeks ago when she was moved to another facility.

“The Pelletier family’s reaction to today’s news was emotional. Lou Pelletier was seen yelling and at one point sitting on a bench crying, while Linda Pelletier fainted and was on her way to the hospital for evaluation, Staver said.

“Berman tweeted more on the immediate reaction of the family.

WTIC Fox reports:  “Linda Pelletier fainted inside a Boston courthouse Monday after learning that a judge ordered her daughter Justina placed into foster care.

“The 15-year-old West Hartford girl is at the center of a custody battle between her parents, Boston Children’s Hospital and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families that has been going on since February 2013.

“Monday’s custody decision is only temporary, until the family’s next court date on March 17. But the announcement threw the teen’s parents and sisters into hysterics after the hearing.

According to WTIC Fox: “Linda Pelletier, 56, collapsed onto the fourth floor hallway and later was rolled out of the courthouse on a stretcher and taken to Mass. General Hospital for treatment.

“’Poor Linda Pelletier. I was standing next to her. She got light-headed. She’s diabetic. She’s 56 years old. She started to pass out. We had to grab her and hold her up. She was on the floor,’” said Rev. Patrick Mahoney.

“Rev. Mahoney flew to New England this weekend and joined the family at the Boston courthouse Monday, later telling the media he was speaking on their behalf.

“’We are going to bring people of faith, of goodwill, who believe in this, the millions across the country to be engaged with this. We are announcing the campaign ‘Free Justina’” said Rev. Mahoney.

The move to foster care means Justina will remain in Massachusetts state custody until the next court date.  Before the hearing Monday, her father, Lou Pelletier, addressed the media and seemed optimistic.

“’We’re keeping our fingers and toes crossed with what we’re about to see today, but as you’ve heard, we’re fighting to save my daughter’s life,’” he said.

“Inside the courthouse, two high-profile attorneys, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and David Gibbs of the National Center for Life and Liberty, were on hand to fight the gag order applied by Judge Joseph Johnston on Nov. 7, 2013.

“Further proceedings regarding the gag order were pushed to March as well.

“’It’s obviously an unusual situation. I think obviously the more people know about the situation or any proceeding, the better it is,’” said Staver.

Faith and pro-life advocates, Rev. Mahoney, of the Christian Defense Coalition, and Keith Mason, of Personhood USA, were in Boston to support the Pelletier family.

“Justina is being moved to foster care. They are outraged by that. There’s no medical attention there,” said Rev. Mahoney, who was with the parents on the fourth floor of the courthouse.

Both groups plan to launch nationwide support campaigns.

“We will be launching grassroots efforts with vigils. We will be doing phone call campaigns. We will be going to lawmakers here in the state of Massachusetts,” said Mason.

For now, the gag order remains in place.  The media were forced out of the fourth floor courthouse hallway Monday by court officials.  The Honorable Terry M. Craven told reporters they could not be on the fourth floor, which typically holds juvenile hearings. Fox CT news has previously covered the case on the fourth floor dating from November and had never before been instructed to leave the floor.  Linda Pelletier remained in the hospital Monday evening with her condition unclear to the media.

“She was hysterical. The family was crying. Here’s what they want:  They want their daughter with them. There’s no argument that she was doing better under their care than under the care of the government,” said Rev. Mahoney.

Fox CT was unable to obtain any comment from DCF employees present at the courthouse Monday.  A vigil has been scheduled for Justina and will likely be held near a foster care facility in Merrimac, Mass., at noon on Saturday March 1, according to Rev. Mahoney.

Read more: http://foxct.com/2014/02/24/west-hartford-teen-justina-pelletier-placed-in-mass-foster-care/#ixzz2uLqwFSr2

How much of this dilemma has to do with the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children? The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen, unless the age of majority is attained earlier under a state’s own domestic legislation.

Nations that ratify this convention are bound to it by international law. Compliance is monitored by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, which is composed of members from countries around the world. Once a year, the Committee submits a report to the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, which also hears a statement from the CRC Chair, and the Assembly adopts a Resolution on the Rights of the Child.

The U.S. has signed, but not ratified, this treaty.  The government played an active role in the drafting of the Convention and signed it on Feb. 16, under Pres. Clinton, but has not ratified it. The Convention is unlikely to be ratified in the near future because it forbids both the death penalty and life imprisonment for children (Article 37), though a ratify state can ratify subject to reservations or interpretations. It has been claimed that opposition to the Convention stems primarily from political and religious conservatives. For example, the Heritage Foundation sees it as threatening national control over domestic policy and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) argues that the CRC threatens homeschooling. Since 2005, the Supreme Court decisions have found juvenile executions unconstitutional as “cruel and unusual punishment” and that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders.

Ruler-in-Chief Obama has described the failure to ratify the Convention as “embarrassing” and had promised to review this.  The United States has signed and ratified two of the optional protocols to the Convention, the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, and the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

Article 4 (Protection of rights): Governments have a responsibility to take all available measures to make sure children’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. When countries ratify the Convention, they agree to review their laws relating to children. This involves assessing their social services, legal, health and educational systems, as well as levels of funding for these services. Governments are then obliged to take all necessary steps to ensure that the minimum standards set by the Convention in these areas are being met. They must help families protect children’s rights and create an environment where they can grow and reach their potential. In some instances, this may involve changing existing laws or creating new ones. Such legislative changes are not imposed, but come about through the same process by which any law is created or reformed within a country. Article 41 of the Convention points out that when a country already has higher legal standards than those seen in the Convention, the higher standards always prevail.

The U.N. treaty generally states that the sanctity of the parents and family must be respected, unless there is strong evidence of abuse, cruelty or neglect.  The DCF overreached far beyond its mandate in declaring that the Pelletiers neglected or abused Justina.

The time has come to remove Olga Roche from office and restore Justina to her parents.

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Published in: on February 25, 2014 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment  

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