Anyone have their difficult child in an out of home placement?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by crabby erin, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. crabby erin

    crabby erin New Member

    I'm new to the board, so I'm just kind of getting to know everyone and their situations...

    My difficult child is in a foster home after being in and out of PRTF's over the past 2 years. We have regular visitation. It's taking myself and 2 foster homes to keep this kid out of the PRTF. Thought I certainly appreciate the foster homes, it comes with a certain amount of anxiety. Our kids are so "special" only a mother could love them after some of the things they do, so it worries me sometimes.

    Anyone else in a similar situation?

    PS - I only have internet at work,so weekends I won't be reading/posting..but I'd love to catch up on Monday :)
  2. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Erin - my son was placed in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) when he was 9. We tried having him return home twice, when he was 12 and again when he was 14. Both times he lasted less than 3 months, so he spent a total of half of his childhood in placements.

    It was hard. No one can mother our children for us, no matter how good the staff is. I remember with that first Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement especially (but in all of them to be truthful), I fretted so much. What if he got a cold? or a tummy ache? or an owie? Who would comfort him the way that I would have comforted him if he were home? And general parenting issues and values and moral and ethics... things that are a part of our family that he couldn't learn because he wasn't here.

    What I can tell you is that nothing will replace you. Which is good, kinda. But at the same time, when my difficult child did get a cold/tummy ache/owie, there were staff who did their best to comfort and caretake. Maybe not the way *I* would have but... circumstances being what they were, I couldn't be there to do it. He was taken care of and he did develop relationships with some staff that fell in the range of surrogate parent.

    I think that one of the advantages of an out-of-home placement, when we get to that point (and you know you didn't get there easily) is that staff is doing a job. They get to go home after their shift, they get vacations, they get respite from the 24/7 demands of our special children. There were days way back when when my difficult child might have walked in with- a fever or whatever, and it would have taken all my strength to "mother" him after some of the behaviors we were dealing with. While staff/foster parents don't have that emotional connection that we do to our kids, I think that it can also work in their favor in terms of the relationship they do have with- our kids.

    In my experience, that anxiety doesn't go away. All you can do is keep a watchful eye on your kid, mother when geography and your child allow, and keep in close contact with the adults who are caring for your child.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Wiz is placed out of our home, though he is with my parents. They live about 15 minutes away, which is nice. He was in a psychiatric hospital for 4 months 1 1/2 years before I had the Sheriff come and take him. It just wasn't safe to have him here, he was violent.) He went to the Youth Shelter which was lots of fun and he wanted to live there instead of with us. But he didn't follow their rules either and was kicked out in less than 3 days. He went to my folks and after about a month of court hearings where the Deputy didn't have the paperwork my dad asked if he and my mom could try with Wiz before we had him sent to a "facility". I was so tired and emotionally devastated that I agreed to it. Miracles happened and he is now a real success story, in my opinion. Good grades, job, vocational program for next year and tehn college, he is totally a different person - one I ENJOY!!!

    There are lots of kinds of placements. One you might consider is an Emotional Growth Boarding School (EGBS). Several of the ladies who were here when I joined sent their difficult children to these with good results.
  4. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    HI crabby erin -

    We placed our daughter in an EGBS when she was 15 years old. She was there for almost 16 months.

    We made such a drastic decision for several reasons. She was very suicidal, and we just couldn't ensure her safety 24/7. She had so many emotional issues that weekly therapy just wasn't touching the surface. She needed daily, intensive, live with the therapists kind of help.

    The facility that we chose was on the other side of the country. It was faith based. It was VERY small. Maxed out at 30 girls. Their philosophy was therapy first, education second, character building third.

    It was VERY expensive. We drained our savings to send her.

    In hindsight I still don't know if I would do it again. I'm not sure that these programs fix our kids, if our kids don't want fixing. It gives them a set of tools. Some kids use the tools in real life. Some don't. There aren't very good empirical studies to address the efficacy of out of home placements vs. keeping kids in the home with intensive community resources.

    I love the idea of sending a kid to grandparents if possible. In hindsight, I wish we would have tried that first.

    Tough decisions. Good luck to you.
  5. Lori4ever

    Lori4ever New Member

    My son was sent to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) at 16 years old. At 19, he is still there, they expect to release him in 6 months. Sometimes we have no true choice. It's a hard thing to do, though.
  6. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Erin your worry is valid; no doubt about it, AND as you get to know the placement you may feel a bit less worried. Foster mum may be calling you on a regular basis to chat ~ I've become "friends" & co-parents with my sons foster parents.

    Both of my children are in placement even as we speak. wm has been out of my home for a combination of almost 6 years; kt is currently in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for her 3rd time.

    Saying that, I used to worry but now am concerned about this or that....the little things only a mom can do. However, my little wonders rarely let me do those things so I quit worrying. I could not safely parent my children in the home ~ they were putting family at high risk.

    My attitude for wm who is currently in a foster group home is that we are a "family of different addresses". I co-parent wm with foster mum & dad. I am truly grateful that these 2 wonderful people have made such a commitment to my son. And we are family ~ including all the bdays & holidays. wm needs 4 parents if not more to raise him safely.

    Where kt heads after this Residential Treatment Center (RTC) stint is anybody's guess. My guess that it would be back home with an even higher level of services as the county is no longer taking voluntary foster placement.

    What happens tears a mom's heart apart & then the peace & quiet of having a mentally/emotionally ill child in the constant care of another begins to heal a very torn & frazzled mom's heart. You begin to trust your judgment once again & there are actual times when your soul is at peace.
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Erin -

    All I can say at this point is don't read anything I post about Dude being in Foster care. I just don't have a postitive thing to say about it and every day I think I have less and less kind words so I shall say nothing to you. However I DO know that there ARE people who ARE fosters that DO care about children and their welfare and well-being. Many of them are parents here and one parent's experiences should not cloud yours or your childs.

    I hope for your sake and that of your son - it works well for both of you. The others are right - no one will EVER take YOUR place. You are the Mom.

    Many hugs & Welcome - but serious about my posts - they have not been good news about the care my son has gotten or is getting.
  8. crabby erin

    crabby erin New Member

    Thanks everyone! I really, I can't say "enjoy", but maybe appreciate is a better word, reading your really helps! (even yours Star!)


    Her Crabbiness, Erin
  9. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Kanga is currently placed at an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and current therapist projections have her there at least another year, but her former therapist and my mommy heart know she will grow up there unless funding vanishes. She is just too dangerous at home regardless of what a sweetie she is outside the home.
  10. crabby erin

    crabby erin New Member

    It's amazing to me how dangerous these kids can be! Especially when they can be so sweet as well! And the physical strength!!

    Here in Kansas, they are all about "how quick can this kid get back home". It's like they are checking off items on a checklist and once everything's been done, there, your kid is coming home. So, unfortunately, JC's already been brought home once and the same behaviors surfaced with in a day. Within 2 weeks, he was back at PRTF.
    It didn't seem to matter that I didn't think he was ready to come back home.

    Now they have him scheduled to come home Dec 25th. Unless there is a miracle between now and then, I can't see that it will be successful. :(
  11. FlipFlops

    FlipFlops Guest

    We just placed difficult child at a therapuetic boarding school/Residential Treatment Center (RTC)/whatever you want to call it. It is more like a wilderness camp than a traditional school or facility. My son is about to be eleven, so you and I may have similar stories. I have high hopes, but only because I think I have no other choice but to hope. We have been leading up to this point for over 5 years and I have popped in and out of this website periodically, although I used to have a different username. I can't emphasize enough how helpful this site is. The emotional support you will gain is like nothing else in the "real" world, at least in my experience.
    I totally agree with you that our difficult children do things that only a mommy could still love them, and I also agree with slsh that after some of their behaviors, it takes everything in us to nurture their tummy aches and such. Pros and cons to everything.
    I wish you well. Live it up while you can.;)