Parole and update

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I just rec'd a call from difficult child's parole officer. (We don't even know how long difficult child is going to be incarcerated yet.) Anyway, he seemed real nice and I mentioned a few of my concerns that resulted from the way things were while difficult child was on probation. He said we can work all that out and make things clear to difficult child right before he is released and returns home. He said I won't have any requirements I have to meet or things I have to do in order for difficult child to be released to me (ie- parenting classes, therapy, etc) but I have to come in and sign a supervisory agreement before difficult child's staff meeting in 2 weeks. He said this is an agreement stating that I will visit him and supoport the system while difficult child is incarcerated and that I will agree to supervisory rules when he gets out. Oh boy.

    What worries me is that this is going to be another agreement to "do whatever he says" and of course, I have no idea what he's going to tell us the rules are. He said difficult child will have a mentor upon release- ok - I'm in total agreement with that and had even asked for that months ago but didn't get it. He also said difficult child will qualify for mental health requirements upon release. Yep- and all the mental health and legal requirements turned into a full time job before this happened- what if I can't do all that and still provide a home? I tried to discuss this with the probation officer, then her supervisor, and they both had the "that's your problem" response. Also, he said he didn't know what the rules would be- we have to play it by ear. (Then how do I know if I can meet them or commit to them?)

    I want to get these things out in the open before I sign any agreement. I'm thinking that I will develop a list of questions/concerns and take it to this meeting with him and write down his answers. If I handle it that way, will it look antagonistic?

    I asked about getting family therapy while difficult child is in Department of Juvenile Justice and he said I had to take that up with the facility that difficult child goes to. Truthfully, I cannot commit to difficult child coming home until I know what is expected of me from the parole officer, until I know my authority in my home will be backed up, until I feel like I can provide difficult child with what he needs to succeed, and until I see that difficult child is going to do his best and not going to give up this time. Now, should I tell the parole officer this and not sign that agreement until I have those answers? Of course, that will lead to them figuring out another place for difficult child to go to upon his release because they apparently want to have that in place before that even start on his "rehabiltation" while he's in. And that leads to the "if you don't sign this, difficult child gets turned over to dss" threat/warning. So what do these people really expect- the parent to tell them what went wrong and discuss how to change things or just a parent who signs whatever is stuck under their nose then waits for it all to fall apart again? I am sitting here shaking with stress and anxiety from the thought of it all. I'm supposed to sign that paper and I don't even know if they are talking about difficult child having a stay of a few mos or 3 years.

    He said he and I had to talk on the phone every 30 days and meet every 90 days while difficult child is incarcerated. I have no idea why, but apparently, that's the rule. As long as I'm visiting difficult child and supporting Department of Juvenile Justice's efforts, that's all there is until difficult child is released. He will stay in contact with difficult child, too, while he's in there.

    He said parole is a lot stricter than probation- if the kid messes up one time, they go right back in. If the kid does not mess up, they can be off parole in 6-12 mos.

    Anyway, I got difficult child's grades from his old school district yesterday and they are all passing. This will mean he won't have to retake 8th grade- unless they have an issue with the number of school days he missed (33, I think). Will they hold him back for that if he had passing grades but scored lower than he should have on standardized tests?

    Then, I spoke with difficult child's cm at Department of Juvenile Justice. She said he is doing fine- no behavioral issues AT ALL!! She said he expressed concern about a young boy who keeps following him around and trying to sit with him. She said that the boy apparently wants to be friends but difficult child does not and it is bothering difficult child. (This means one of 2 things- the other boy is adhd because difficult child has no tolerance for hyperness in others- even though he has it intermittently himself- or this kid is doing something that difficult child wants no part of and difficult child doesn't want to reveal what.) I didn't tell the cm but that's a disaster waiting to happen. I should have told her but I couldn't think of how to word it without sounding like I was being over-protective or not willing to hold difficult child responsible. At least he discussed some of it with her before it turned into a disaster.

    I called again yesterday to see if I had a court date yet. I'm worried about not getting a summons because they wrote the wrong house number on my court order and even though they have it right on difficult child's papers, I will get a separate file and the deputy will not find a house with that address. The clerk said they have nothing on this "show cause". I hope that means that it was pulled, instead of just not being in the system yet but I doubt that will be the case. (Wishful thinking, LOL!)

    I just got a letter from difficult child. This one is 2 pages long and it sounds like he's having it pretty hard. He said someone started a rumor that he's a sex offender and the other kids are giving him a hard time about it but he's trying hard not to get in a fight because that can add 6 mos onto his sentence. His says he satys by himself most of the time.

    Soooo, I just wanted to throw out an update- thanks for "listening"!
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2009
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911

    IT is obvious you are dealing with idiots.

    We want you to do THIS.....but we don't know what THIS is. And when you voiced your concerns about difficult child returning HOME and they said "Deal with it?" OMG I would be livid.....I would be beyond livid. I would be making the news.

    Listen - there ARE places that your son can transition to. There are camps, group homes and the like for kids that DO NOT have a place to go to. If you say "I CAN NOT, I WILL NOT - I FEAR REPRISAL." and things like that - they HAVE to place him somewhere - NOT BACK AT HOME.

    Nothing has changed......nothing at home is different - and little if anything has changed in your difficult child other than he's in a restricted environment which most of our kids DO thrive in. ONce they remove him from that? KABAOOM. IT happens to us with Dude every time until we finally said NO MORE......and stuck to our guns.

    I'm sorry you have to endure this at all. I would go speak to a doctor if you are anxiety ridden and shaking after that phone call. It just keeps happening to you over and over - and there is no one there for you to say LEAVE HER THE FRIG ALONE.

    Sending hugs------and rhino skin -

  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    This is the problem- difficult child could be placed by either Department of Juvenile Justice upon release from incarceration or turned over to DSS. The group homes and so forth that Department of Juvenile Justice has as alternataives are for 16yo's and older- none are for 14yo's, unless they are serious sex offenders or drug abusers (those requiring specialized programs that Department of Juvenile Justice has contracted out for already). DSS HAS to look at family placement first if difficult child is turned over to them. That means my bro. If my bro was not an option, then dss can sent the kid to foster cdare or group home, but they already know that my bro wants difficult child because he had contacted half the town when he filed for custody 2 years ago.

    This is what makes me so scared to try to talk to them about the truth of it all. Especially after I tried this with the probation officer and her super, then the GAL, because my feeling was that the ONLY way to make this work is to have difficult child be at home but with appropriate supports for him AND ME. Instead, they wanted to make it a "do what I say or else we'll do this with your son and it will be your fault" situation, which is what makes me so anxiety-ridden. Really, if they cared about making sure that the family could provide what was needed for the difficult child instead of just establishing that the family will agree to anything they decide in the future, they would be waiting to see what difficult child needs before making the parent sign a "blanket" agreement. IOW, I think this is the typical establishment of their authority over the entire family instead of looking at what the specific needs are. And in our case, it was the very fact that difficult child knew I did not have authority over him- the people in the legal system did- that contributed greatly to our problems at home.

    Seeing how this turned into such a disaster before, my feeling is that if they want to dictate every rule and policy and interaction at home, then they need to put difficult child in a place where he is "watched" by people on their payroll and by people that they are willing to trust and listen to (instead of blame) if there is a problem. But as I say, that option isn't there in this case and since it isn't there, instead of them being more motivated to work something out with the parent, they are using it as an ax to hold over my head - like they have me backed in a corner and they don't have to be reasonable with me at all.

    You know it's the same as they handle all the stuff- when difficult child was released from detention the first time and they said they'd put him on an ankle bracelet- we got to the PO's office and before she put the ankle bracelet on and let us leave I had to sign an "agreement" to pay about $1000 if difficult child damaged the monitor. Well, what are you going to do as a parent? If you don't sign they put your kid back in detention and they know they are forcing you into a position like that. But, in my humble opinion, that's exactly why our system no longer works. Didn't it used to be that if the kid did something wrong, like damage an ankle bracelet, the kid knew up front that he would be paying the price, not the parent? Look at how this was handled- the guy says that I have to sign this before difficult child's staffing meeting. He made the appointment for the afternoon before that meeting is scheduled. So, I'll be sitting there knowing if I don't sign, it scr**s up all plans for difficult child. They use presuure. I don't thrive on pressure. And I've never understood why if it is a legal requirement, why do they require a parent to sign agreeing to it? Does it matter if you agree to it or not? (If I don't, they'll go to difficult child and tell him they can't proceed and it's my fault.) It's an ultimatum- period.

    As far as me personally, I have been seeing a therapist, however, she has been on vacation. Even though I have an appointment made already for next week, she isn't really what I need in a therapist and I'm going to look for another. It works better for me to deal with stressors by finding solutions rather than taking medications. I'm not having a heart attach or about to commit suicide- so I'll work thru this, as usual. I just found the whole ordeal the few mos before difficult child was arrested traumatic and I'm not over it emotionally yet. I am getting there though. The thought of going back into it again without believing that it will just turn out the same is quite upsetting, still. I think that's a good thing- or at least it is preferable to being in denial by thinking that "things won't be so bad this time" when nothing has really taken place to change things.

    Star, if I interpreted your post correctly and you meant that I could get a therapist/psychiatrist to vouch for what this is doing to me- that wouldn't matter. No matter what they might say, in the end the people here in Department of Juvenile Justice really don't care what the mental health profs recommend. That has been a problem, too.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2009
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Adding support for the rhino skin, and keeping you both in my thoughts.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, I'm thinking about calling the parole officer this afternoonj or tomorrow and letting him know that I'm not so sure if I can sign an agreement regarding difficult child coming straight home upon release when I don't know when, under what conditions, etc. I'm not sure what the agreement says specificly but I think I should let this guy know something before the 11th hour. What do you all think?

    Does anyone have specific suggestions about how I can go about this without being "uncooperative" or a doormat? I don't want to end up noncompliant after difficult child is home because I eend up with a stack of requirements that I can't do and that I never knew about before agreeing to this. If they could find a group home for difficult child to go to a few months before coming home, some place where we could work on family therapy and let him be "eased" back into mainstream, I would feel more comfortable. I think difficult child would, too. Especially since no one seems to be too optimistic about getting family therapy while difficult child is in there.
  6. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would say that you've been thinking since your phone call, and that while you want to cooperate as much as possible, you're uncomfortable signing something saying that you'll comply with requirements that aren't even specified yet. If they push you to sign, I would just write next to your signature something like, " *specific requirements have not yet been disclosed to me; my signature above signifies my good faith effort to cooperate in general with post-detention requirements." Be sure you get a copy.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    So, do you think I should call him back this week or wait until the appointment to bring this up? I feel sure that him making the appointment for the afternoon before difficult child's staff meeting is a strategy to pressure the parents to just sign. It's written in a lot of documents that some families refuse to take a kid back home after Department of Juvenile Justice release (this is juvenile prison- not detention). Plus, when I told him I could come in any day next week, he said "let's make it Monday afternoon of the following week" and difficult child's meeting is Tues am. He'd already told me that this has to be signed before difficult child's meeting. Why? Does it make a difference in his length of stay? This system hoovers.
  8. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wouldn't hurt to call now, it's a fair question and would give him a chance come up with some "requirements" before you sign.
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ok, I'll call today or tomorrow- I didn't want to appear over-reactive. I asked him about requirements yesterday- he said he didn't know what they would be until difficult child is released- he said we would play it by ear. (I think he does know what he'll start out with- he just didn't want to say or deal with it right now.) It sounded like one day they will unlock the door, difficult child will come home, then I get handed the requirements. I'm not comfortable with that- I don't think difficult child is either although he'd accept anything to come home.

    He also said that we will have to make sure we are all on the same page as soon as difficult child comes home. My thought is that we need to make sure we are all on the same page in order for me to be comfortable bringing him home. And the psychiatric hospital and my therapist said this was needed, too. I just need to figure out words to use to communicate this without showing the attitude I'm feeling
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  10. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I don't think there is anything at all uncooperative about saying "I can't agree to meeting your requirements until I know what they are." That's just honest.

    I had high hopes that the farther you got in this system, that perhaps maybe, just maybe, you'd run into someone with a brain. Obviously, I was wrong, and you are in Oz with a whole bunch of cloned scarecrows. And you aren't even in Kansas. Go figure.

    Definitely take your time. They can't fault you for taking the time to be sure you can do what you're agreeing to.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Shari. Right now I'm thinking of telling them that difficult child can go somewhere else for a while and live under whatever rules they set. If he suceeds, then he can come home and I will change my rules to meet those, but I think it should be the EXACT sort of situation. So, if they back up another guardian, then they should back up me. If I'm over-protective, then the other "guardian" should let difficult child do whatever he wants- and don't send me any bill for restitution.

    Of course, this thought only works well until I hear that difficult child will be turned over to dss and have to go to my bro. Private attnys- even the court appointed one for difficult child- don't seem to know enough about the system to be able to tell me what really is the truth and what's just manipulation. I read something though that said the parolee's "mentors" set the house rules and so forth. To me, that isn't a mentor.

    As I've said several times- this system hoovers. I hope others can keep their kids out of it. My son could be helped- I honestly believe. But Not their way at home with me. He is too smart for that- ACtually, an idiot could figure this out and my son has already firgured it out. I don't think he's a bad kid at heart, I just think that he, like any other fool,, can see the way to manipulate this "it's the parent's fault" situation. Really, when it comes to a point where difficult child is testifying in court that he's afraid he'll get into trouble again if he comes home and he's not abused or neglected, they ought to get a clue, in my humble opinion.

    I will say that this parole officer seemed nice. It's just that one nice conversation isn't going to turn around everything that's already been done. I'm not in a frame of mind to play games with this and cannot let my son come home to the same situation- or worse. So, there is supposed to be a tranistion plan. I want to know what it is before I agree to anything and I want a time frame. Carp on this "you have to agree to it now, we don't know yet when he'll get out, he'll come home then we'll make sure we get on the same page and if difficult child gets into trouble again he'll go straight back to Department of Juvenile Justice". Right....

    I'm looking as much as I can up online. I see that this is their policy- to get the parole officer on board at the beginning. If the parent is supposed to do anything- like parenting classes- they have to start right away. It's a good sign that they aren't giving me any requirements like that. BUT, they also would need several mos to do another home interview on my bro if they decided to turn my son over to dss- the fact that they want my "commitment" right now is not a good sign in that regard. But, I can't continue to let them intimidate me into whatever makes them feel better just out of fear. Although, quite frankly, I am afraid for difficult child. I just remeber my son sitting at the top of the stairs with his arms cut up telling me that he could not stand his life and could not continue like this. They don't care about that- they have made it clear that they think it was just manipulation. Well, I'm not taking that chance. If it's manipulation, they can take that chance with difficult child living in the real world somewhere else. Then, take him off his medications and forget therapy.

    There are 2 things that I will fight completely for- 1) my son is not going to commit suicide right under my nose and 2) he's not going to kill his mother (me). I believe I know my son better than they do. Yes, I beleive he can do better and that he doesn't really want to carry these acts out- in that sense- it was learned. But, I don't think it will be "unlearned" by re-enforcing what they've been doing. I think he needs to learn better ways of coping.

    Is it wrong or am I a delinquent parent for feeling this way?
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911

    HOW can they NOT take into consideration what this ordeal is doing to YOU? That's absurd. THAT is not working towards a goal of family reunification - THAT is working towards a goal of - Well he's out of our sight and out of our minds and now it's back on you Momma.

    Does he have Medicaid? OMG I would SO be calling for an alternative placement or bootcamp or something even if it crosses state lines. ANd as far as a drug problem? Can't they count cigarettes (okay I'm stretching it but still addicting and nicotine IS a drug)

    I would NOT make one move until I knew EXACTLY and IN WRITING like Shari said - what they expected out of EVERYONE. PERIOD!

    These people are dellusional.
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Good evening! I left a voice mail for the parole officer this afternooon. I asked if I could get a copy of the agreement prior to our meeting because I was concerned about being being expected to commit to something unexpected upon difficult child's release that I might not be able to provide. I said that this might not be the case, but I didn't know since I have not seen the agreement. Also, if he wanted to move our meeting up so that we wouldn't be left discussing this at the 11th hour, that would be fine with me.

    I think they don't consider this a reunification issue- they would if difficult child was in dss but since he's incarcerated, they are supposed to do a transition plan- according to what I read online. I just don't know who is supposed to do that plan and what role I play in it. Also, by the way the parole officer talked, they send difficult child home first then provide people to check on him, give us rules, and talk to him and this is the transition period. Their only outlook on "family needs" or mental health needs is if things like more behavior modification is needed, if the family needs to be ordered in substance abuse treatment, etc. This is crime prevention money so their views are a lot different.

    Since I read that the "mentor" will be setting house rules and I was told that there will be a "worker" who shows up unexpectedly to check on difficult child and what's going on at home and "mental health" will be required (which I assume means an in home therapist- and they might be planning that mst guy that I can't stand), it just appears to be more of the same. I'm going to ask and see what happens if I say "when difficult child gets himself out of legal trouble, he can come back home". After all, it wasn't me that broke the law and if they are going to blame me every time difficult child does something wrong, then why send him home? But, I don't want difficult child sent out of the area where I can't see him or work on family therapy with him. I do want to get this stuff worked out and have him come back home- I just think it needs to be worked out beforehand- at least some- and if the legal authorites can't trust me to raise him or want to blame me for all his problems and can't back me up to difficult child, then it's a set up to send him home because it will be the same as before and it's difficult child's life getting ruined.

    Oh, when I called medicaid to tell them he was no longer in psychiatric hospital and committed to state, instead of changing his classification to remove him from an independent recipient, they dropped his medicaid altogether. They told me that soince he's committed to the state Department of Juvenile Justice, the state covers medical expenses. The state Department of Juvenile Justice had sent me a form to fill out for medical insurance information, so I don't think the state is expecting to cover medical costs. I read something about Virginia's studies on mental health and Department of Juvenile Justice stuff. It said one of the two biggest things needed was coordination between agencies. Boy, they aren't kidding.
  14. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member


    While DSS may need to look for relatives first, you could ask the judge to order that difficult child be presented at the therapist's office weekly for family therapy. Would your brother be willing to drive him back to your town every week? or may that cause him to drop out?
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My bro is out of state- and not in an adjacent state. Besides, he would never be supportive of reunification and I would never find him a suitable guardian for difficult child. It's a nice thought, under different circumstances. Oh- here, if a kid is turned over to dss, dss is in control of them. The judge can still keep them on parole or give them court orders, but not for placement, reunification efforts, therapy, etc. That is all left up to dss.

    Everyone in the system here told me that Department of Juvenile Justice would do the same for difficult child as Residential Treatment Center (RTC) so I shouldn't worry about difficult child being turned over to them. Well, besides the obvious difference in his criminal record, Residential Treatment Center (RTC) pushes family therapy while the kid is out of the home and the one I had difficult child accepted in had a psychiatrist on board that he would see 3 tiimes a week. The GAL really didn't know enough about what she was talking about to make a good advocate for difficult child- it's just a shame, in my humble opinion.
  16. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I think you missed my point. If the judge orders your difficult child to attend things in your community, dcfs will have to place him in your community to meet the terms of his parole. The judge can refuse to allow him to be moved from his jurisdiction. That would block your brother.

    Also, would the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) you had lined up take him upon discharge from Department of Juvenile Justice?
  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Oh- apparently, it doesn't work that way here. I am going to look into any option for a group home, but it would have to be Department of Juvenile Justice to place him. If difficult child goes to dss, he goes to my bro- his parole status goes with him. He would just be on parole there. According to what I read, Department of Juvenile Justice's group homes are not what difficult child would qualify for, but I'm hoping they have more options. If he could do that for a few mos while we do family therapy, that's fine. If we can do family therapy while he's in Department of Juvenile Justice and they aren't going to load me up with rules and requirements I can't meet at home, that's fine, too- I just want to know that before I sign anything.

    The judge has already written her order. It just says he goes to parole after Department of Juvenile Justice- that leaves it all up to parole officer. As far as Residential Treatment Center (RTC)- difficult child will never get it now. A good portion of funding was going to be covered by medicaid because he had been in psychiatric hospital over 30 days. That is no longer his status. They wouldn't allow Residential Treatment Center (RTC) before because Department of Juvenile Justice was in charge of his placement and the probation officer wouldn't ask the people in the system who could fill out a certificate of need to do so. Plus, the GAL told the judge that I could not be trusted to leave difficult child in Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Even though difficult child will be on parole instead of probation after his release, the other people in the system are the same and if difficult child does well, he wouldn't need Residential Treatment Center (RTC). If he doesn't do well, he goes straight back to state Department of Juvenile Justice incarceration. That's why I say this will probably ruin his life. The recidivism rate here is pretty bad for kids- you'd think they would get a clue that their way isn't working too well.

    Basicly, the people in Department of Juvenile Justice have to approve of and advocate for difficult child to go to Residential Treatment Center (RTC). They wouldn't do that before his latest criminal act when I was trying to get them too. They wouldn't do it when he got arrested last and psychiatrist wrote a letter saying difficult child needed this. So, they aren't going to do it ever. They are convinced that Department of Juvenile Justice incarceration does better than Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    If I can get things arranged to be able to move, I will do so. That will give us different people but the court order for difficult child to be on parole will stand. When a kid is on parole from state incarceration, ANY violation of rules lands them right back in.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2009
  18. Jena

    Jena New Member

    i know i'm late to this. i just wanted to say hang in there and stay tough. you have been through so much with this and you keep plugging along....... True warrior mom you really are!

    i agree bigtime to get the list of requirements before taking him back into the home, i'm glad you called.

    don't lose sight of what you are to yourself and to difficult child. the system can make you second guess yourself what you do, how you react, how you proceed, i've seen it done lately and it's a horror show. your a great person, keep following your gut it got you this far it's going to take you alot further.

    i agree with star on her points as well. you aren't being over reactive or uncooperative you are a concerned parent who wants safety in your home and the best environment for difficult child.

    ((((hugs))) lots of hugs to you!!!!
  19. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you for the support! He just called- even though last week he said he might not call every Sat. He said phone calls "cost" 25 points and he earned 195 this week! :) I really believe that something like 9 mos would do him more good than a long stay like 18-24 mos- or longer. I know they need fairness and consistency in the system, but I hope they can see that sometimes with a kid's age and other issues, being incarcerated too long can be counter-productive and damaging.
  20. ML

    ML Guest

    I don't have any wise words or advice but I do want you to know you can always count on my support. My prayers are ongoing and even when I'm silent, I am supporting you with my thoughts and friendship. Keep on doing the next best thing and remember to take care of you.