difficult child in youth home again...from a newbie

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by horserider, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. horserider

    horserider New Member

    :(Hello everyone, I am new to your boards. I read many posts last night and found this a definite "soft spot" for parents like us. We have had an extremely difficult 2 months. Our difficult child has been in the youth home since Aug. 1., charged with domestic violence. He is 16 yrs. old, 17 in Dec. and has been non-medication compliant since April. I've read many of the post about "parent abuse" with interest as we have been down this road. Although in your heart you do not want to call 911, I do also believe we have rights to not be a victim of abuse, even if sadly it is from our difficult child. But if there is any way you can find an alternative "safe" environment for you difficult child, please do so. Having the court system control our son's life has been nothing short of tragic. Ironically I had to go on medications for my nerves while my son won't take his! He has been placed in a "therapy" program, but none the less it is still the youth home, jail for kids. He is only allowed one five minute phone call a week to us, and one hour visit a week. In the adult prison they can call 3 times a week and have two visit. Because my son is unstable and extremely emotional he has had a few incidents where he has had to face "re-entry". This is a 3 day process. They put him in his cell the first 24 hours, bringing him his food. If he behaves the 2nd day he can go to the gym by himself for exercise for one hour. The third day, if he behaves, he can leave his cell to go into the unit with the other boys for a few hours but he is not allowed to talk with anyone. The punshishment has been extreme, the therapy not very effective. Another serious issue we are dealing with is they do not have the teachers or resources to give my difficult child classes at the level (11th grade) he is at to stay on track for graduation. So the one important goal he has, to graduate on time they are taking away from him because he cannot get the classes/credits he needs. He is distressed realizing he will fail 11th grade, when he never failed a grade in school before. This is what we get for $170 a day! We have a court date Tuesday morning to review his placement in the program. I have worked hard and found an alternative residential placement in the next county over that has a wonderful educational component and intensive individual and family therapy. Here we can also work towards getting him back on medications. When they placed our son in the youth home therapy program they said they could not give us any other options, but the county right next to them places children in the program I found for years. I have written the judge a letter requesting my son's transfer to the program I found, explaining they would cause my son not to graduate if he stays in their program. The program I want to move him to is on 320 acres with a lake and many activities my son can be involved with, including community service once a week. The price, the same as the youth home program. No severe punishment, just caring staff with a mission statement "every child deserves a chance". So my lesson I would like to share with you is proactively seek out a residential program in your area, have the phone numbers and contacts ready if you need them. Contact your local Community Mental Health also. Our son received services for 2 years with CMH, working with us on a financial arrangement we could afford. If we would have known of this program I found before we called 911 we would have placed him there. We will be paying this bill until we go to our graves, but we only have one chance with our difficult child and I try and keep the faith and pray a lot. I have been a strong advocate for our difficult child all his life. Yes sometimes I do not "like" him and hate what he has done to our family. But the unconditionaly love remains. The last thing we want to do is remove our child from his home, but sometimes you have no choice. I pray the courts will be in agreement on Tuesday, his case manager and attorney agree we have to transition him to the program I found to have any hope of him coming out of this all okay. It takes a lot of time, effort, research and a strong will to never give up. My nerves are shot, I cry a lot, but I will always know when he turns 18 I did everything I can to get him the help he needs.
    God Bless and take care
    horserider -
    Me - no diagnosis, on Xanex to help me through this
    husband - Type 1 diabetic, adopted son at 5
    ghg - only child, ADHD, BiPolar (BP), ODD was on Abilify and Vyvanse
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you- and welcome! I've never read such a positive post from a "newbie" but I'm glad I did! I'm also glad you found the board and am sure you can get some support and offer some wisdom here.

    My son is 14yo and we've been dealing with "issues" since about the time he turned 11yo. Most of that time he has spent on probation. He threatened me with a knife this past winter and that sent it to a whole new league, even though things were deteriorating for a few months before then. I couldn't get the probation officer to advocate for a single thing recommended to prevent things from spiraling further out of control so despite my efforts, my son is incarcerated in our state juvenile system now insteead of being in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Fortunately, he is going to school there and doing well academically and behavior-wise.

    I wanted to give you a brief history of my/my son's situation so you might see that several of us here have been down that road. I truly understand what you mean about the court authorities. While their intentions are good and the kids definitely need consequences, it seems like many of these people just don't really get the problem enough to see what areas could help the child the most. They spend a lot of time just looking for someone to blame and barking up the wrong tree, so to speak. At least that has been my experience.

    Your son is lucky to have you fighting for what is in his best interest. I hope things go well in court for you. He's an older teen so there's limited time for your involvement, as you know, so hopefully, something will help him. Does he try at all? There are cases where incarceration can actually wake them up more than anything a parent can do, it seems.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Horserider, nice to meet you.
    I've been off the boards for a while and have some catching up to do.
    Wow, what a detailed note! I am sorry that your son is back in the group home but it sounds like a good routine for now, plus, it gives you a break.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome!!! I am so glad you found us!! Sure sounds like things have been tough for your family lately.

    People here really DO understand about the situation you are in.

    When my difficult child, Wiz, was young he was very violent to his sister. She hid it because he said he would kill their younger bro (all 3 kids have same mom and dad). Finally it came out but we had been dealing with some of it already.

    That time he went to an inpatient hospital for 4 months. He was better when he came out. At 14 yo he decided to beat ME. i did what I could, but finally had to call the police. The second time I refused to allow him to stay.

    It was so hard. So awful. He LOVED the youth shelter they took him to. Made a big point of bragging about it. Then he got kicked out. In just under 36 hours.

    My parents took him rather than have him go to juvie. The court kept stalling hoping I would back down or find a treatment center and pay for it myself. Finally my parents asked to have him live with them permanently.

    somehow things turned around. It was REALLY hard. Now, at 17, he is a high school grad doing a "13th year" at the technical college. He will be a machinist in May of 2010. Then he wants to go to college. He is a sweet kid, a great big bro and son, and we are proud of him.

    But NONE of us know what turned him around.

    It sounds like the police are being harder on your son. Probably because he is older and in most states COULD be charged as an adult. If he doesn't "get it" NOW he will be in BIG trouble because he will be an adult very soon.

    Getting him transferred sounds like an excellent option, IF you can get it done. They DO have an obligation to provide school for him, on HIS level. You will probably want to stop in on the Special Education forum to see what they advise to get the schooling he needs.

    Many of us have had to take medication either short or long term to help with our kids. Xanax is very helpful. Many of us also take a medication like prozac or lexapro. It can be very beneficial. Kudos for realizing you needed help and going to the doctor to get it!

    Welcome, and I hope things get better soon.
  5. horserider

    horserider New Member

    Thank you for your replies, it give me comfort to know your not alone. Sorry my post was sooo long, I guess I needed to let off steam.

    klmno: Has your son been in the juvinile system since last winter? When will they release him? I am glad to hear he is getting a decent education. You are right incarceration has "woke him up", in a recent letter he wrote he said "you can tell kids how hard it is in the youth home but until you've been put here you have no idea how hard". He tried to use going back on his medications as a bargaining tool to go home in court, that did not work to well for him. Until he shows more stability and is willingly back on his medications I do not want him home. The school he is in now does not even think they have to have an IEPC meeting, got news for them if he stays there.

    Terryj2: thank you for the welcome. I will be glad when court is done on Tuesday, If we are successful in the transition at least then it will be up to him to turn things around.

    susiestar: I always wondered how it would be if my difficult child had siblings. I'm glad your other son and daughter are okay now. My son's abuse use to only be towards me, since off his medications he has assulted my husband also. It is wonderful that Wiz is doing well now. Nothing short of amazing. It gives me strength and hope to hear your story.

    Thank you all for sharing your stories and experiences

    Teach me wrong from right, I'll show you what I can be...
    from the song Savin' me......Nickleback
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    hr- My son has been locked up since early Feb.- at first that was just awaiting his court date but the detention center sent him to a psychiatric hospital (psychiatric hospital) for six weeks, then he went to trial and was committed to state Department of Juvenile Justice. He received 15-21 months as a sentence because he had been in previous trouble. He can get out earlier than though for good behavior and he is doing very well so far so we expect him to be released in Feb. He will be on parole then and that's the part I worry about most because our legal people around here just don't seem "get it". Really, they don't even seem to have common sense. I'm talking about probation and parole officers, gaurdian ad litems, etc.

    If your son has only been in the youth home since Aug. 1, I doubt he's had enough time to change, but it sounds like you know that. Is this group home for behavior issues or more of a shelter? Either way, my guess is that you are wise to advocate for the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement. Is it a psychiatric Residential Treatment Center (RTC) where they have to earn their way to release? Those are hard to find but I've heard they are the best.

    Have you explored the other forums here on the board yet? Feel free to check around - you might find some of the news articles interesting and the Watercooler (WC) fun. Also, you get some pointers from the Parent Emeritus area.
  7. horserider

    horserider New Member


    wow, it has been a long road for you and your difficult child. 15/21 months is a long time but as you said will probably be very effective. Probation was useless for our family when my son was previously on it. 250 cases to one probation officier, hard to be effective. The courts told him in Jan. 09 when he got off probabtion if he ended up back in court it would be a year min. in the jjc.
    This Residential Treatment Center (RTC) I want to move him to is a 6-9 month program with a life skills/preperation component, intensive therapy, etc. They have about 5 diff. programs, they are considering two that may be very helpful.

    My son does not yet realize a lot of privledges will have to be earned when he does get home, along with my trust. Like yourself we have a long road ahead.

    Take care
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Hi horserider,

    My son is 19. He's been on probation for 3 years and has one more year to serve before he is free and clear - then got more tickets/fines and jail and now has more $ to pay out. (Lovely) He's now a convicted felon, was in so many placements due to his behavior that he never graduated (most Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s as you know are not accredited) and is doing his best now to stay in Adult Ed and get his GED hopefully this Spring and walk with a graduating class at the local high school.

    Probation doesn't seem like it works until they have to start earning the money to pay. That doesn't hit reality until they have to start actually working and giving THEIR paycheck for court costs and probation fees and the reality of YOU WILL GO TO JAIL looms over their heads if they do not AND the possibility of probation violation six years prison - is mandatory. It has done wonders - well maybe not wonders - but it's been an eye opener for our son. Nothing else was. He's managed after this last little episode to avoid being on an episode of COPS, to get his vehicle back after not having but a learners permit and driving to the tune of oer $2500 in fines - to actually and possibly GET his license, and doing like the officer told him to do - finding a church network of new friends, a hobby, stay out of trouble, off the streets, and involved in something besides criminal activities OR - six years in state prison.

    Apparently when the cop cut him a break - he decided it was time to grow up. He's realized this last year he wants an education - doesn't want to give his entire pay check to the state, and can be civil to his parents. He is currently living in foster care because he can't live here. Oil and perfume don't mix. Someday with powder perhaps we can be layered but until then? It's a work in progress.

    As far as bullying? Nope, nada - YOU WILL GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL. Never ever will make ANY bones about that one - and WILL NOT BAIL YOU OUT, OR SAVE YOU period. You raise a hand at me - you are going where ever the wind blows your butt. PERIOD. I've put up with a lot in my life - but the first and only time he ever even contemplated raising a hand to me? The best thing he did was walk out of my home. The best thing I did was not literally pound him into the earth and call 1-800-needa casket. I had 13 years of that baloney with his biofather - never ever will it happen again. I called the police - reported him. They picked him up as a runaway, brought him home and then took him to a childrens home. He wasn't arrested because he didn't actually raise a hand - otherwise he would have been arrested for assault. My rule on that was golden.

    In our world, with our kids there has to be room for forgiveness and bending. However - with hitting and battery? I won't. Not an inch. My thoughts were that IF I ever gave him a chance with me - he would figure his girlfriends (someones daughter) would owe him a chance, or someones Mother (maybe a co-worker) would owe him a chance later in life. I got him out of that life when he was 6 - got into therapy - and stayed in therapy with him until just this March. It's paid off too because for as angry as he's gotten at girls - he won't "hit a female" - and that is worth it's weight in gold.

    I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow that your son is moved to a better place where he can get help and counseling and therapy for his anger issues. It doesn't bother me so much about the medications. Most of our kids do refuse because they just can't see the point and sometimes they're right. So if he does refuse the medications? Stand by him and say "Fine, that's your decision it's your body - and I'm proud of you for making healthy choices." (then pause) "So if you are making all these healthy choices for your body - then you must want to make healthy choices for your mind and that begins with speaking to a therapist long term and dealing with your anger issues, and finding good coping skills instead of hitting, and acting out - I'm very proud of you for that too." ;) -A lot of kids don't know that it is OKAY to be angry - but there has to be someone to show them APPROPRIATE WAYS to BE angry and how to cope with anger - ie: breathing techniques - walking away, yoga, meditation, drawing, journaling, EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION is awesome and for both of you. (GOOGLE IT) you'll love it. It teaches you how to speak to your kid so he'll actually listen to you...and talk to you. It's like this whole other language you never knew.

    THere's a book too - called just that - How to talk to your kids so they listen and how to listen so they'll talk or soemthing like that. It's fantastic - and theres one for teens - OMG it's phenominal. Has a workbook in it and everything. Works for people at work too - lol.

    Keep us up on whats going on in court tomorrow and know we're sending the power of the board with you.
  9. horserider

    horserider New Member

    Well court did not go well at all. They will not move our difficult child as requested basically because he has not been behaving in the program he is in and "deserves to be in detention".

    His education is our biggest concern. They tested our son without a copy of his IEP, so how could they know his accomadations we have in place for when he takes test?. Our home school just ironically received a request for IEP copy yesterday while he has been in this program for 3 weeks. He needs to be in Geometry and Chemistry in order to stay on track for graduation. We expressed they are not offering our son these types of classes (ie - Biology highest science they have, he completed and received credit for 2 years ago). My son expressed to the judge he wants to graduate on time. The judge said my difficult child needs to "earn" his way out so he can be back at his home school, and take summer school corses to make up what he missed while in the detention program! My son said my parents are paying for me to be educated here, the work is to easy for me and is not the same as what my home school had me scheduled to take. The judge told him I guess you will have to pay your parents back for summer school!
    I posted questions to the Special Education forum.
    Looks like I have a lot of work a head of me with these people I just ticked off. Good luck with that heh.

    I need 24 hours to calm down and then start making phone calls.

    Thanks again for all your support
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm confused- who pput him in this current program? Is he on a suspended sentence to go to detention? What exactly is the court overseeing if he's no longer on probation? As far as academics and court- the court program over-rules. So was court today a slap on his hand and he continues on as things are?