Residential Treatment Center (RTC) Questions

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JJJ, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Hello all,

    As you know Kanga is in her first Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement and I have a lot of
    questions. I hope that some of the more experienced parents can help
    me tell if this is typical of a Residential Treatment Center (RTC):

    1. One staff person takes one resident out to dinner.
    2. Each resident gets $110 once a month as spending money.
    3. Summer school is only 2.5 hours of academics with a 10:30am lunch
    and a gym class to get to the advertised 4 hours.
    4. My child is the only non-DCFS ward at her Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Is this bad? or
    irrelevant?

    These things all concern me
    1. As a teacher we were NEVER allow to be along with a child (especially one with a history of false allegation like Kanga).
    2. I feel this is setting her up, when she comes home she won't be getting $110 a month nor will she be allowed to keep most of the (inappropriate) things she has bought.
    3. They are billing our school district for 4 hours of summer school, plus Kanga needs summer school and with breakfast at 8am and lunch at 10:30am, she'll never make it to a 5:30pm dinner without gorging on snacks in between, that just seems wrong.
     
  2. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Triple J,

    The Residential Treatment Center (RTC) both kt & wm were in never gave out that much money each month. However, they were given spending money for outings. If husband & I wanted to bring in add'l funds we could.

    Our school district had a small school setting set up right inside this Residential Treatment Center (RTC) so summer school followed the same hours as the rest of the district. However, I know that this setting had a very little academics with gym thrown in. AND it's almost the same for day treatment right now - both of the tweedles get 3.5 hours of academics & 3 hours of therapy.

    SDs never allow a child out alone with a staff member. The Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff would frequently take kt or wm out for one on one time. It was used for a reward; many times it was because a child didn't have anyone to take them off grounds. False allegations were documented when the tweedles were admitted. I seriously had no issue with this because if kt or wm were taken out they had earned that outing. That meant something to me.

    As to the non DCFS question - we had the same thing. Most of the other children were in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) setting were wards of DCFS. That wasn't the case for our children. Saying that, this Residential Treatment Center (RTC) specialized in children with PTSD, attachment & developmental delays. kt & wm would visit & tell us about the kids who where "up for adoption" or going to a new foster home & it broke my heart.

    Hope this helps a bit. I would think some of the other "seasoned" parents will be along as well.
     
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    That is the other part of my problem. Kanga is getting all these "rewards" yet she has done squat on her treatment plan. Yes, she is mostly behaving at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC), but her behavior away from our family wasn't a huge concern. Her behavior towards our family is still bad, she still tries to manipulate over the phone, she still suffers from impaired reality, and our one visit was awful, she completely regressed to about 5-years old. As I'm sure you know, it is very disconcerting to be sitting across the table from "5-year old Kanga" as she talks about how she "loves" her 18-year old boyfriend and is going to move in with him after Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I know she is still honeymooning, I just don't see how they are going to get her to work on her issues when she sees the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) as a cool place to be.
     
  4. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    JJJ,

    The reward systems drove me nuts - I finally asked them to quit with the toys & start rewards like books, hair items, hobby related items, etc.

    Saying that, we had the same issues with both kt & wm at Residential Treatment Center (RTC). The regression & the charming of the staff. And I knew the staff well enough to know they weren't being charmed a bit. The tweedles got "called" on it almost every time. The first month was a get to know you type of thing. Staff watched the tweedles closely that first month or two to see their "style".

    After the initial month, priviledges were lost & outings were lost due to behaviors & poor choices. kt & wm learned quickly if they wanted something they had to earn it.

    Once treatment started in earnest the family meetings & therapy began. And it is disconcerting to see a totally regressed child talk about living with her 18 y/o boyfriend. I still see that in kt on a semi regular basis.

    JJJ, it may not be the best way - all the rewards & such, but it is one of the only ways that RTCs have to track progress. AND toward the end of our stay at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) we really pushed to have rewards decreased & work on family responsibilty, home life - doesn't include daily rewards & outings as well as what the tweedles could earn at home.

    I've had the argument with staff at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) many times that their system of rewards is setting families up to fail - we cannot entertain or reward like the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) setting can. In some ways I got my point across because the tweedles treatment plans changed over the months; in other ways not so much.

    I guess I'd keep my eye on othe goal. Give Kanga time to settle into the routine there - see what progress she's making & what is successful in getting that progress. I have to say that we still have to use incentives not normally used for kt and wm. It won't happen in the real world - I'm not sure they will ever "live" in the real world.


     
  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    My daughter's Residential Treatment Center (RTC) was a private Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and that might have made a difference. Rewards were few and far between. Most of the kids there were very wealthy, so things were limited to them. Parents could bring very little as gifts. Shopping was not allowed during visits unless discussed with staff ahead of time. School was year round. So, it was a hugely different type of setting from Kanga's.

    It does seem that RTCs that are geared more to DCFS clients give the kids more things. I would guess it is because they have so little. Field trips are far more common. So are material rewards. The funds given to the kids usually are state mandated.

    In either type of setting, you do have to fight to get the best treatment plan for your child, it seems. I know my daughter's Residential Treatment Center (RTC) was not geared towards the parents who were actively involved. I drove them crazy with my demands of visitations, phone calls, etc. I insisted on being actively involved in her school curriculum, etc. They weren't used to this. It actually took a social worker to tell them that I was my daughter's mother and I had an absolute right to insist on the things I felt were best for my child.

    So, if you feel something is not right for Kanga, speak up. Ask questions as to why things are done the way they are. Sometimes they will give you reasons that will make perfect sense. Sometimes the answers will send up warning flags. When that happens, explain why that is a bad idea for your child and what you would suggest. That includes making things like field trips a reward rather than just a thing that is done.
     
  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    JJJ - Unfortunately Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is going to set up some ridiculous habits in terms of outings and shopping with Kanga. We've run into it in every doggone placement and I still don't know how to fight it, other than *not* do visits at placement anymore and have thank you come home, where we are "boring".

    Movies, shopping, video arcades, eating out, bowling, yada yada yada. On the one hand, I understand it because they have to keep the kids occupied, but on the other, we cannot possibly match the level of fun activity.

    thank you's first Residential Treatment Center (RTC) was connected with a charitable group and was in an affluent area. OMG - you should have *seen* the Christmas presents he got. Karaoke machine, Play Station - it was nuts. One year he wanted an art set, so I got him one. A benefactor did too... ours paled in comparison.

    The allowance ... don't quote me, but I think part of this is mandated because she's getting (or will be getting) SSI. If you object to what she is buying, you should talk with therapist and staff. When thank you was getting into his Wicca/vampire junk, we made it very clear this was not acceptable and should not be allowed. Ditto his death/black metal music and his all black wardrobe. Pretty much, our home rules applied at all placements in terms of his purchases (except now, which is of course another story altogether - ugh!). Staff was pretty good about keeping him in line, but ... peers were not much help.

    I'd also talk with them about snack issues - they certainly can monitor if that's an issue.

    It's hard to see her getting rewards for not doing much - I totally understand. I think part of it too is building relationships with staff now, while she's still honeymooning. I never gave a second thought to 1:1 time - once I made the mental leap to understanding that these folks were essentially his surrogate parents (very very hard thing to deal with), I really had no choice but to place my whole trust in them.
     
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    When Cory has been in placements this sort of thing went on too. It all depended on where he was how much it went on. I dont think he ever went too many places one on one unless he had like a doctors appointment and they stopped for something to eat along the way.

    I just asked him that one...lol.

    They did do outings as groups to places.
     
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Wiz was in a long term psychiatric hospital, but it sounds like Residential Treatment Center (RTC) mroe than psychiatric hospital. It was for 4 months. The kids there got $50 TWICE A YEAR for clothing allowance - the ones who lived there. Wiz DID earn rewards, twice he chose going out to Golden Corral to eat and then buying a beanie baby. By the 2nd time, the male staff member who went with him had seen SO much improvement that he bought a 2nd beanie baby for Wiz. BUT this was maybe 2 weeks before Wiz was released. We were strongly limited in what we could bring. We had to sign all kinds of release papers to let a staff member take Wizard out to eat for a reward. But it was something that REALLY motivated him.

    I think maybe you need to work on her IEP (they must have an IEP for her, and include measurable goals). Of course, the older tehy get the more input they get, and sometimes this starts too early and is too much say so.

    The $110 the other kids get may be supposed to pay for shampoo, toothpaste, clothes, etc.... not sure. You may be able to limit what they give Kanga, or not provide toiletries, etc....

    I would be very upset if my child was taken out one on one regularly, way too many opportunities for abuse (of Kanga, or by Kanga). Also for false allegations. They may have to learn about the false allegations by themselves.

    I am sorry these things are happening. They do sound worrying. Is it possible to have the $$$ put into a bank account for her, instead of her being given it to blow?

    Just ideas, as I said, ours was not called an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) but a psychiatric hospital - but Wiz was one of the patients who spent dramatically less time there than the other children. Many spent years there.
     
  9. Star*

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

    1. One staff person takes one resident out to dinner.
    Occasionally if a staff member had an errand to run and a psychiatrist or counselor felt a one on one outing was appropriate or could be beneficial, sure. However I have never heard this with kids who have a hx of accusations. Maybe you need to put that in writing and send a registered, return receipt letter.
    2. Each resident gets $110 once a month as spending money.
    In all the Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s and group homes Dude has been in over the years (13 I think) I never heard of such a thing. I would ask the staff HOW this is possible.
    3. Summer school is only 2.5 hours of academics with a 10:30am lunch and a gym class to get to the advertised 4 hours.
    My concern here is that the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is billing for 4 hours. Have you seen a bill? Can you call your school district and ask to see a copy of what they have been billed for? It IS harder in the Summer time to get these kids to class for 4 hours and a teacher that will be there. My larger concern is are they accredited? Is Kanga getting credits towards a diploma (Carnegie Units) or are they going to do her like they did Dude and tell him at 17 - nothing counted towards a diploma and dumped him in Adult Ed after telling us - YES they are ALL accredited. Bologna!
    4. My child is the only non-DCFS ward at her Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Is this bad? or irrelevant?
    So was Dude the majority of the time - it's actually GOOD because kids will talk to each other and the last time Dude EVER whined about his situation - the other kids (mostly girls) told him about THEIR lives and well, that ended the pity part.

    These things all concern me
    1. As a teacher we were NEVER allow to be along with a child (especially one with a history of false allegation like Kanga).
    I think again, a letter stating her history with return receipt.
    2. I feel this is setting her up, when she comes home she won't be getting $110 a month nor will she be allowed to keep most of the (inappropriate) things she has bought.
    If the $$ is earned - or a reward and she can use it to go on outings to buy herself goal oriented rewards - this is good. I wasnt' sure you were going to bring her home. But you are correct this AMOUNT $27.50 a week for a kids allowance is very unrealistic for 13 yo.
    3. They are billing our school district for 4 hours of summer school, plus Kanga needs summer school and with breakfast at 8am and lunch at 10:30am, she'll never make it to a 5:30pm dinner without gorging on snacks in between, that just seems wrong.
    This needs to be addressed to the director. No butts. Most of our kids NEED snacks to stave off the meanies. It's not just a snack going from 10:30 - 5:30 without food is UNHEALTHY....
     
  10. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Thanks all. I was so grateful that this Residential Treatment Center (RTC) took her because it was so horrible on our entire family while she was home. As I'm learning more about the program, I do not think this is the right place for her. Again today, the therapist called me while in session with Kanga so Kanga could share some news. Once again, her great news was out of her strange reality and she got upset when I simply stated the factual situation. If I wanted to be caught in her alternate universe, she wouldn't be at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    Also, her summer school day is actually only 90 minutes of instruction, ugh. I'm so bummed.
     
  11. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    For now, she is safe and so is your family. While she's there, look for a more suitable placement. At least you have the time to do this now. Sometimes getting a child out of the house has to be the first goal. Finding the right placement has to wait. That was definitely your situation.
     
  12. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Meowbunny,

    Yes, you are right, getting everyone safe was (had to be) the #1 goal. I spoke with our grant case manager and we are going to see about moving her to a more appropriate placement soon.
     
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