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State still has legal custody of teen in middle of dispute

Many New York readers may have heard about the teenager from another state who has been the subject of several stories and the medical facility that accused her family of medical abuse. While the state still has legal custody of her, a recent decision has been made to move her closer to home. However, the girl is still not being returned to her parents at this time.

The man at the helm of the state's Department of Children and Families has intervened to allow the young patient to be moved to a facility in her home state. While it is unusual for a person in this position to actively participate in such cases, he stated that he felt this would possibly facilitate a resolution to the situation that has dragged on for many months. The case arose out of a disagreement between physicians as to what illness is causing the 15-year-old to suffer. One doctor had tentatively settled on a rare genetic disease and had subsequently prescribed appropriate treatment for that condition. However, when the girl became ill, doctors at a separate facility claimed that she suffered from psychological problems instead.

When the parents disagreed with the second diagnosis, they were accused of improper medical treatment. This eventually resulted in the state being granted custody of the patient. Now, if the parents agree to conditions dictated by the Department of Children and Families, they may be given the opportunity to bring their daughter home.

While the family is getting geographically closer to their daughter, it still may be some time before they are reunited under one roof. This has been an unusual situation. Understandably, New York families will most likely never experience such extreme circumstances regarding issues of custody. Nevertheless, each family deserves the opportunity to ensure that their children are provided with optimal living arrangements. There are resources available that can provide information that may be beneficial to a family's particular needs during any form of legal custody issue or dispute.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Justina Pelletier heading to residential treatment facility in Connecticut, state official says", Patricia Wen, Michael Levenson and Joshua Miller, May 6, 2014

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