Group home or Residential Treatment Center (RTC)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gwenny, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. gwenny

    gwenny New Member

    I would like to hear from everyone who has experienced either group homes or Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or both, and what your experience was?

    We wanted difficult child to go to a Residential Treatment Center (RTC), but for now he is in the group home. We have concerns for both and just wanted to learn from other parents who have gone through this. I would appreciate everyone sharing their experiences with us good/bad and what the outcome looks like. I know everyone is different but I don't trust the staff to give us the answers as they are promoting their own facility to make money.

    Thank you all again.
  2. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Hi. My daughter was in 3 different rtcs. The first one was through the Board of Ed., it was a joke. Way too much freedom. My daughter went on 13 awols during the first 3 months! While on an awol she got caught shoplifting and ended up getting remanded and transferred to my county. From there we eneded up in Family Court. At which point she was placed into her 2nd Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Another joke. It was more like long term Juvie. Always fighting going on and minimal treatment. The staff, for the most part were all rude. I could never get anyone on the phone. They were not empathetic whatsoever. I fought tooth and nail to have her swithed. She ended up out of state at her 3rd Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Three hours from my house. It proved to be better that way given her history of running. She never attempted to run from there. This place had an awesome reputation. It was in the mountains, absolutely beautiful. They had wonderful programs, loved most of the staff, were fairly strict (which is what my daughter needed), went on trips, had a horse program and lot's of sports. I loved it at first. Then my daughter started complaining of abuse. At first I took it all with a grain of salt, as she tends to lie a bit. Then I started hearing the same stories from other girls. I saw bruises on my daughter as well as the other girls. I made a huge stink, had the entire place in an uproar, called the state to file a formal complaint, fought with several of the staff members and utlimately pulled her out early. In retrospect, I now believe that those abuse stories were a bit exaggerated! Since then my daughter has owned up to a lot of the lies. I regret pulling her out, as the last year of our lives have been absolute hell. I wish I would have been a little more reasonable about the situation but it is very scary to leave your child in the care of strangers. You always hear horror stories about these kinds of places, I was just so afraid that my daughter was in danger. While she was there she made great improvements. The first few months she did not do so well. But after a while she came around and really began working the program. She had a good 6 months where she got into minmal, if any trouble at all. Her downfall came when her therapist left. She had gotten so attached to her and when she left my daughter was devastated. That's when all of the "stories" started. So, I tend to believe that she was just angry. Of course hindsight is always 20/20. I wish I would have left her in.

    There are always concerns when placing your child into a facility. Do your research, visit the place, meet the staff, talk to the other kids and go with your gut! You will always come across some staff who you will not like but there are places that are pretty reputable. I know it is scary. I have been there. Is the risk greater to leave your child home or to place him? That's the question I asked myself. And for us, the risk was much greater to leave my daughter home. She was a danger to herself.

    Please feel free to pm me if you want. Good luck. :)
  3. Having a brother who have tried both, I would leave it with the group home. They are normally smaller and there is more time to deal with the individual kid.

    Residential Treatment Center (RTC) can be fine if you want to handle a specific problem, but you are so depended on staff changes and who the therapist is. Times are hard and because I am on various newletters due to the situation with my daughter and it seems that they are cutting the expensive staff first in order to "focus their treatment".

    I was so close to sent my daughter to a Texas for hike followed by treatment at a boarding school in Conroe which had been restructured to a specific treatment area, but then they removed haft the treatment in the wilderness program. Then the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) got shut down due to expensive but good staff and low enrollment. I have been so frustated. The second wilderness program shut down because people kept digging the news about a death years back under a different management up.

    We have a backup-backup plan with my daughter. If the outdoor don't work, it is my brothers place. If the remote place he lives at don't make her comply, it could be a group home. I just don't hope it will come to that.

    I would suggest to support the group home and the rules they have even if I find the rule of several weeks without contact both odd and scary. What could happen if you could speak with him? You know why he ended up there.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have been both. We did group homes on the way to Residential Treatment Center (RTC). In reality, group homes are just a lesser level of care than a locked facility. If he fails a group home he may need a Residential Treatment Center (RTC).
  5. compassion

    compassion Member

    Daughter has been in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) since Feb. 3 and she needs the intnesive stuff of a hoptial setting becasue she was psycotic/unstable and very out of control. It has been mainly poistive: not easy but had a visit today (4 hour pass) and she has greater stabilty than we were able to acheve at home. Compassion
  6. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    There are so many different types of Residential Treatment Center (RTC). We had our daughter in a facility for 16 months. It is better described as an 'emotional growth boarding school'. There was a strong emphasis on behavior modification and cognitive behavior therapy. If you have specific questions, let me know.

    I currently work in a short term Residential Treatment Center (RTC) - an acute care facility.

    Outcomes are so dependent upon so many variables.

    I will tell you that any good program addresses the family/home environment too. So many kids are just the 'presenting' individual. Usually, the family needs as much (and often times more) work as the child. in my humble opinion.
  7. Janna

    Janna New Member

    I don't know about group homes, never used them. We have done "theraputic" foster care - but that's not the same thing.

    I've done Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) with B and D - B twice, D is currently in his 2nd. Here's my personal take on Residential Treatment Facility (RTF):

    1. If the kid isn't willing to do any work or willing to make a change, it's not going to do anything

    2. You will want to ask ALOT of questions (there's some good ones in the Archives here) before going, and throughout the stay, make sure that they are doing what they SAY they're going to do

    3. Rules change. One staff says things are one way, then another staff on another shift says something else. Very aggravating - and this has been typical in all 4 that I've experienced.

    4. If you get an Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) with a contracted out psychiatrist (that is, they are not part of staff, they just come say, once a week or twice a week for several hours) you can forget any type of 1:1 adequate care. You want to find a place that has an on board psychiatrist, meaning (like the one D is in now) they are there FULL TIME. The psychiatrist at the last Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) D was at saw him 7 minutes once a month. He was not beneficial, nor did he do us any good.

    5. They will get all this fun - trips and activities to keep them busy from the time they get up until the time they get to bed. D's day is school from 8-3:30, then group (video games, recreational stuff like pool or b-ball) until 4:15, then medications. Then supper. Then movie time until 6:45, then shower. Then snack. Then another group (music/dance therapy), then video games, then bed. Now, when he comes home, how in the name of GOD am I going to keep up with THAT when he comes home? LOL! I dunno.....

    6. The good thing is, if you get a GOOD Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) - they can make recommendations for you if you're in a position that you're roadblocked. For example, school recommendations if your child is struggling and you have nowhere to go. Things like Occupational Therapist (OT), PT. They can recommend you get in home services (i.e. Family Based) and refer you to places that can help you more (like Mental Health/Mental Retardation) and qualified psychiatrists. We are getting a referral for D for an MRI/FMRI/EEG due to excessive head banging throughout his life. I couldn't ever get that from anyone else. Also, they could refer/recommend (or if they have on staff) for a neuropsychological, which I know alot of people have a very hard time getting and finding.

    7. They get social skills, learn how to get along with peers and learn how to live with others besides you. Now, this can be good, or can bite you in the rear end, depending on the other children in the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) and your kid. D, he is learning quickly what it's like to live in a house with someone that is constantly raging and screaming. I'm glad. His roomie curses, is disrespectful, tantrums for hours, etc. Good. I'm glad (oops already said that LOL). How does it feel, D? It s*cks, doesn't it? Of course, he has 100 excuses why it's ok for him and not this roomie, but oh well - too bad, learn to live with it, that's what we've had to do. And, yes, now you wonder why everyone is always "grouchy". Hmm. But, in B's case, he was in an Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) with kids that were convicted offenders - i.e. drug pushers (majority) and some other things like theft (B was in for theft). He came out thinking he was a Lil Wayne lookalike (this kid is whiter than a ghost), thug master jammer...haha (really, funny - not trying to offend anyone). He was living in a residence with a bunch of street tough thugs from Philly and Baltimore. He's a pretty white boy from the country. He came outta there a totally different person - so *shrug*. And it didn't really do anything for him, because by 17, I feel he is what he is. He told them what they wanted to hear, manipulated them good - and now he's out. Whatever.

    8. There are good Residential Treatment Facility (RTF)'s with alternative therapies that are very promising. The one D is in now is doing this Allied Therapy (it's for kids on the Spectrum) with dance and music and movement. It's very, VERY cool. Never would have gotten that from our normal therapist. They also do things specific to the child, i.e. anger management groups, stress management groups, etc. You want THOSE types of groups and therapies, in my opinion, as opposed to art therapy and pet therapy. Those things are bogus. I mean, if you have a kid that's beating on animals, yes, pet therapy would be OK. But, in D's last Residential Treatment Facility (RTF), he got all that - art, equine, horticultural and pet therapies, and they didn't do SQUAT other than get him out of school for 45 minutes and he made me a really cool rock thing with gems for my garden - and learned to like their cat. Whoooo. Blah.

    That's really all I have off the top of my head. We've been through OK Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) and cruddy, so I could probably write a book if I sat here, LOL! I think that either place would probably have a benefit if it was suited to your child. Just make sure you WRITE DOWN all your questions, get them answered before you make a decision, and tour wherever you're considering and see what's going on.

    Good luck with it all. It's stressful.
  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    What is your goal? Do you just want him to live somewhere else or do you want him to get intensive treatment? A group home may have stricter supervision than you can provide at home and somewhat of a therapeutic component, but I'm not sure you're going to get diagnostic assessment and intensive treatment (both medications and therapy) at a group home.
  9. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    In my area, RTCs are utilized for stabilization, learning skills for home & lots of therapy, individual, group & family.

    The step down from Residential Treatment Center (RTC) would be group home & then to home, depending on the difficult child & the circumstances.

    The tweedles have both had stints in Residential Treatment Center (RTC); wm came home, then back to Residential Treatment Center (RTC); stepped down to therapeutic group home run by fosters with weekend respite staff. He remains there 3 years later & by far it's the best answer for my family.

    kt is soon off to Residential Treatment Center (RTC); again for stablization ~ she's melting into a big puddle right now. She will likely come home but it's not unreasonable to consider a group home if kt cannot pull it together & needs a higher level of structure/supervision than can be offered here.

  10. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Gwenny from your posts I would have to say Residential Treatment Center (RTC) first and then released to a group home.

    I have had my son in both but he was over 18 years old so I'm not sure if my experience is valid in your case but the group homemy son is in through MHMR services is excellent. He is doing much better than he did at the high profile Residential Treatment Center (RTC) he went to a few years ago. I think it helps that he is nearby and gets to participate in family events. -RM