General Residential Treatment Center (RTC) questions...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm just trying to expand my knowledge a little, LOL!

    Are Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s supposed to help a kid with mental illness? Or does this differ depending on the particular Residential Treatment Center (RTC)? Are most of them really like half-way houses between dentention and home or do they work with the kids to get them mentally stable and help them with whatever tools (skills) are needed for their specific issues, along with offering more supervision and behavioral issues? Maybe, that would be like a half-way house between psychiatric hospital and home (or living independently).
  2. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    It depends on the Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Some are just halfway houses and pretty useless. The good ones really work with the kids and parents. They have staff therapists. Psychiatrists visit at least weekly.

    I found that EGBS (emotional growth boarding schools) really worked more with the kids than the RTCs from what I could see. If medications are involved, I think an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is probably a better fit. For pure behavorial issues, an EGBS.

    It really is a hard choice. I think the best you can do is research where you want your child to go. Talk to parents of kids who are there, who have graduated and who pulled their kids out for whatever reason. The good ones will happily give you names of each. Visit the campus alone and with your child if possible. The kids will be more open to your child about what goes on than they will to you.

    Good luck on findng a good one. It's a very daunting task.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, MB! I'm not actually looking for one at this point- I was just curious and trying to learn a little more about what options exist. I did try to find out a little about how to get it funded last year. Public funding routes for phhosp stay (4-6 week evaluation- not acute) or Residential Treatment Center (RTC), etc., got squelshed when bro filed for custody. There might be another way to go about it, which I'd like to find out just in case the need does arise, but I'm not sure how. I was thinking about contacting a couple of Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s to see if they'd tell me the ways.
  4. hexemaus2

    hexemaus2 Old hand

    From my experience (I'm in the middle of trying to get difficult child 2 placed) there are differences in criteria for admissions, modality of treatment, and discharge/graduation expectations for every facility - even from one Residential Treatment Center (RTC) to the next or one EGBS to the next. Some will take kids with developmental disabilities, but not mental health issues...some are the other way around. Some won't take kids in any kind of legal trouble, or with a history of violence, some specialize in those kinds of kids. I varies from one facility to the next. That's where we're running into problems with difficult child 2 - he has BOTH developmental disabilities AND mental health issues, plus criminal charges pending, and a long history of violent outbursts/meltdowns (which the psychiatrists are now calling psychotic episodes.)

    Many of the facilities I've looked into (we've been looking at both RTCs and EGBS) have turned us away for one reason or another. If he didn't have the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) diagnosis, this place would take him. If he didn't have the mental health dxes, that place would take him. If we wanted this or that kind of outcome, some other place would take him. It really depends on the child's needs, available funding, and what kind of help you're looking for for the child. In our case, difficult child needs help with independent living skills, social skills, anger management, medication management, language/articulation assistance, AND needs to be in a secured, locked-down facility for the safety of others. Not an easy order to fill, to be sure.

    I honestly never thought we'd ever get to a point with difficult child 2 where we would need to look at an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or an EGBS. Unfortunately, here we are & I'm learning all too well what an uphill battle it is to get a child placed at all, much less a child with numerous issues that need so many different approaches, professionals, and treatments.

    I can tell you that in terms of cost, short-term programs (9 months or less) average about $350-900 per day. Long term programs (9-18 months) average about $5,000-7,000 per month, whether it's an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or an EGBS. And getting anyone to help with the cost, be it insurance, the state, alternative education loans, or what have you is a whole 'nother uphill battle.

    If I knew then what I know now? I would have started researching and getting my ducks in a row months, if not years ago. I can honestly say that battling doctors and professionals was nothing compared to battling trying to get my son placed out of the home in ANY kind of therapeutic setting.

    Just keep in mind though...mine is just one parent's experience. Others might have a completely different experienced since each of our kids are different, and each of our situations are different. I can just tell you what we're going through now in terms of RTCs and EGBS.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you hexemaus2- that is why I think it wouldn't hurt to at least gather info about all this now. I'm sorry for all you are going through and the position you are in. I read your post but didn't respond because I didn't know what to say. Our system inhales and I can't believe that the legal authorities really have thought through what the H**L they are doing sometimes.
  6. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Hex is right -- sometimes the choice is finding any place that will accept the child. As to funding, it is rare to get public funding. Insurance companies will work very hard to turn you down and are very good at it.

    When my daughter went, I did manage to get the school to pay the education portion but that was a very small drop in her Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s bucket. If you included the costs of me flyng cross-country and hotel stays, etc., her stay cost me personally almost $250,000. I sold all my stocks, depleted my 3 retirement accounts and took a second on my home. I don't regret one penny spent. It did give her some tools to succeed and, I believe, saved her from herself.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    what services are offered, what insurances are taken, and what problems they will treat varies widely from one place to the next.

    The first time Wiz went to a hospital it was for 4 months. Even though we had to justify his stay every week or 2, it really was more of an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) setting, in my opinion.

    I was amazed at how easy the process was to get him admitted. I called the number on his Soonercare (state children's insurance for kids who don't have private insurance) card and told the behavioral people what was going on. I had to talk to 3 people, each one more horrified than the next at what he was doing. They authorized a 2 weeks stay then and there, and gave me a choice of 3 places. One was out of state and we wouldn't have been able to participate in family therapy weekly. One offered little inthe way of treatment, but warehoused violent kids. The one I chose was a psychiatric hospital with a locked facility (kids who tried to run were given an ankle bracelet that triggered an alarm if they crossed certain boundaries - this was in addition to the locked doors that only staff could open). They had a psychiatrist who saw kids every week, but didn't want to talk to parents (and DID talk to me because I cornered him during a treatment staffing session). This wasn't as "nice" or fancy as the other places. They did offer healthy meals, school work on Wiz' level - once they figured it out, group therapy for all kids, special groups for sex offenders (which he was starting to be - and this nipped it in the bud!), weekly family therapy, 3 or 4 days a week had visiting hours, and overall the staff was amazing.

    The psychiatric hospital did have things like cassette recorders for books on tape that were broken, or had no batteries, a strong need for new books for the kids, etc.... We donated some walkmans we were not using (some that had been taken from students of my dads and not claimed), several packs of batteries, and every time I weeded my kids' books I gave the hospital first pick before I gave them away. We wanted to support the staff in every way we oculd, because they were helping us so very much.

    Wiz was there for 4 months. The first 6 weeks he honeymooned (set a record for longest honeymoon at the psychiatric hospital - what an accomplishment, ya think?) and they wanted to send him home. I went in and pushed his "buttons" and he exploded. That is when the real healing and growth started.

    About a year after Wiz' release he started back down that road. We had private insurance by then. And we couldn't find ANYPLACE that would take him -and he was too old for the program he had been in before! I got lists from the resource officer at his school - most said he would have to be placed by the courts, or else he was too old or too young. Or too violent. We ended up having him live iwth my parents. BUT I did find a wealth of placements through the churches in our town. I started with our reverend, and went through his contacts to their contacts, and had quite a list. I strongly recommend that as a way to find help. AND ask the resource officer (cop) assigned the the jr highs, middle schools, and high schools in your community.

    I hope this gave you some info.
  8. dadside

    dadside New Member

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Therapeutic schools/institutions for teens cover a wide range of types and philosophies, even between places calling themselves the same kind of thing. Hospitals are relatively straightforward, and primarily for short-term treatment, not long-term care and therapy. Most everything else seems to be called a "Therapeutic Boarding School", "Emotional Growth Boarding School", or "Residential Treatment Center". Original distinctions between these has blurred considerably, and you really have to look behind the label to assess what the place is really about. Also, at least until a couple of years ago, the state license to operate a residential therapeutic school called the school an Residential Treatment Center (RTC).[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Most of these places address the needs of kids with behavioral issues, commonly along with (and related to) emotional/psychological issues. No place is good for everyone, although many would do well for a large number of students in need of that kind of help. An appropriate school can usually be found for even the "more challenging" cases, although it may not be near the student's home, and may not be easy to identify. The same applies to what some call "transitional living" arrangements.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Paying for these facilities etc. is another matter. If the student's school performance is notably lower than their "innate" ability, and if that under-performance can be attributed to the psychological issue(s) involved, the local school district may be obligated to pay the whole cost, perhaps excluding transportation. Getting them to do so is another subject.[/FONT]