Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Petitions by means of social media outrage.

Update June 17 2014 This is a criticism of us on social media.

I'm not arguing against anyone's right to petition the government, I'm just stating that a petition by social media outrage isn't a legal argument made in court.

I've already written about my involvement with DCF a year ago, mostly about the preservation of the family.

In recent weeks there has been a growing petition for Justina Pelletier from her family. I don't know the details of the case, and even if I did would definitely wouldn't be writing a post about DCF.

But I can't keep quiet. I'm frustrated.

From that post in March 2013
In Foster Care Review, a meeting takes place every six months to address the needs of the child and the permanent goal for the family. The majority of the cases I see are not physical/sexual abuse, rather substance abuse or mental health issues in which parents are incapable of doing the day to day functions of caring for their children. (I will discuss this in a later posting) There will be determinations made based on who is and isn't fulfilling their responsibilities to the child, and well as progress to the goals.

Again I don't know the details, and I can't imply one way or another.

So there is this petition for Justina on Facebook? But for what? We already have a legal process for families involved with DCF, parents and children get their own attorneys that are specially trained specifically for DCF representation. An attorney has to apply for this type training, it is intense and requires that the attorney abides by CPCS standards. If you look into the link, you also realize there is an appeals process too!

So why did the parents of Justina Pelletier seek outside counsel from a partisan lobby group?
"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."
This isn't about addressing public policy in how a 51A is filed and handled by the DCF, this seems to be about politics.

No online petition of social media outrage would affect the decision making process. Judges look at the facts and the law, they don't look at social media outrage that lacks the full context of the child involved. But in the mean time work with the law, don't start a riot attacking our legal system that provides ample opportunity for families involved with DCF to defend themselves and get their children back.

Is anyone offering any ideas, that may prevent a family from flipping out over a 51A and calling 911?


I notice the MassGOP and otherwise social conservative outlets really playing this up, igniting fear and disgust with not DCF, but with Massachusetts. Is this a way to indirectly go after Deval Patrick, who 'maybe' run for President in 2016?

Dear Republicans, Pro-life, and Faith based organizations, Do you realize how many Christians assist with being foster parents? Quite a few.

Dear Republicans, Pro-life, ad Faith based organizations, Do you realize how many Churches (like my own) may help out an agency, like DCF with gifts at Christmas?
Quite a few.

Now, I'm no fan of the Democratic Party. But exactly what are you doing to improve DCF, other then a scare mongering your voter base that the state wants to "kidnap" your child and "detain" the child to "confined" spaces?

Gag orders are rare, but when you have Lou Pelletier stating
“I'm going to make sure the world comes down on this state,”
Again you could get the whole world to shame the judge and it won't affect the outcome of the case, whatever that may be. There is an article on gag orders and Juvenile Courts, from Fostering Media Connections here.

I should note it seems that Rev. Patrick Mahoney, who is pushing for this social media outrage has done good in the past.

Added June 2014: It seems the Pelletier's are working with DCF and the service plan and Just in a will return home.


  1. Why won't DCF or Boston Children's Hospital let the Pelletier's bring a doctor to see Justina?

  2. I don't know and these decisions will be made by the parties involved, and not by the media or the public. Maybe Justina's medical records and personal life are private, because she's a person entitled to privacy.

    In many legal cases you read, minors are only referenced by their initials. Maybe if the Pelletiers spoke to the media under a pseudonym, to protect the identity of their daughter for her privacy then maybe I would feel somewhat different about this case.

    DCF has a legal process, along with an appeals process. If you check out the CPCS link on how lawyers are trained to represent parents and children at DCF.