Signs of abuse in school/Residential Treatment Center (RTC)/group home

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Steely, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Please read this, and pass it on to whomever it may apply. It may save your mentally ill child's or another's life.

    The facility is not licensed.
    1. Verbal and/or written communication between the child and his parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. is prohibited, restricted, or monitored on any level.
    2. The facility requires that the parents and/or child sign a form releasing the program of liability in the event of injury to the child.
    3. The program requests/demands/recommends that they have legal custody of children.
    4. The program requires that children live in foster or "host" homes instead of allowing them to reside with their parents.
    5. The child or parent or forbidden from discussing the daily happenings at the facility. Often this policy is called "confidentiality."
    6. The child is denied access to a telephone.
    7. Phone calls between children and parents are monitored.
    8. The program uses confrontational therapy.
    9. Parents must fulfill requirements of the facility before being permitted to visit their own children.
    10. The facility is located outside the jurisdiction of the United States.
    11. Children are restrained or otherwise physically prevented from leaving the facility.
    12. The staff includes former students/clients of the facility.
    13. Staff members claim that self-injury or cutting/carving on ones body is normal behavior for a child in treatment.
    14. Parents are not allowed to remain with their child during the entire intake/entry process.
    15. The program inflicts physical punishments on children such as exercising for extended periods of time, bizarre cleaning rituals (ie scrubbing floors with a toothbrush) or food restrictions.
    16. The program uses humiliation to "break them down."
    17. The program forces children to remain in solitary confinement/isolation/time-out for an unspecified amount of time.
    18. The facility considers homosexuality to be a behavioral problem.
    19. The facility claims to be able to change homosexuality.
    20. The facility claims to be able to change transgender teens.
    21. Reading materials are prohibited or severely limited.
    22. The facility does not have a clearly visible sign outside the building or descriptions of their location are vague.
    23. The facility claims to modify behavior, yet has no licensed therapists on staff.
    24. A licensed doctor or registered nurse is not present at any time during normal operating hours.
    25. Current clients/students participate in the intake/entry process.
    26. Staff members offer to help parents obtain a court order forcing the child into, or keeping the child in, the facility.
    27. Children are observed while bathing, dressing, or using the toilet on any level of the program.
    28. The facility claims to treat drug abuse, but does not conduct a drug screen prior to entry.
    29. The facility does not allow children to follow their religion of choice.
    30. Staff members must "approve" family members, siblings, friends, or employment.
    31. Children are not afforded an education in accordance with state requirements.
    32. Medication is recommended, prescribed, approved, or dispensed by anyone other than a medical doctor (MD).
    33. Children are denied medications that have been prescribed by an MD.
    34. Staff members, admissions personnel, referrers, etc. make statements indicating that "your child will die without" the program.
    35. Children escort/supervise other children.
    36. Children have to "earn" the "right" to speak during group/therapy sessions.
    37. Children are denied outside activities on any level/phase.
    38. Staff members must approve the withdrawal of children from the facility.
    39. The facility expects total and unquestioned support of parents.
    40. Children on any level/phase are forbidden to speak to other children in the facility.
    41. The facility will not disclose the names of any doctors or therapists on staff prior to the child's admittance into the program.
     
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That's very useful info, Steely!

    I had to chuckle though- it clearly wouldn't apply to a Department of Juvenile Justice facility.
     
  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yes - I know. I thought the same thing too.
     
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Interesting. I'm not worried about my son's program.
     
  5. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Steely, I appreciate the info but I caution you to be aware of the motivation behind the source of this information and other info out there on the web. There is an entire network of individuals and web sites out there that are determined to undermine any and all Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s. I'm not saying you shouldn't be vigilant in watching out for Matt, I just don't want to see you or other parents swayed by dubious tactics and propaganda. Please check into any and all organizations (including educational consultants) thoroughly, be skeptical of all.
     
  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I think it's important to be vigilant when you have a child placed outside the home. However, I think also that the list is not an absolute. While my difficult child isn't the poster child for successful out-of-home placements, he was in RTCs that did engage in some of these practices, with my absolute blessing. Just as an example, physically preventing him from leaving the facility - uh, yeah, absolutely. You better believe it. One of my biggest problems with his last placement is that they *didn't* prevent him from leaving.

    It's just an example and as with everything, things have to be taken in context. Common sense is a parent's best tool when dealing with- outside agencies/placements. If you're not comfortable or if there's some little nagging voice in your head saying something's not right, you're probably right.
     
  7. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    From poking around that website, I get the impression they are anti-Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    It makes me uneasy to have their list posted here, which is a shame. I would like to see a list for things to watch for from an unbiased organization.
     
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    While I too appreciate the list, I can see many items on the list that are NEVERS or DONT's that would have taken away very good placements that we had for Cory.


    1. The facility is not licensed. Always a deal breaker for me if not licensed.
    2. Verbal and/or written communication between the child and his parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. is prohibited, restricted, or monitored on any level. Communication is often restricted or monitored for a set period of time. Then it can be loosened up if certain levels are achieved.
    3. The facility requires that the parents and/or child sign a form releasing the program of liability in the event of injury to the child. I never had that happen to me.
    4. The program requests/demands/recommends that they have legal custody of children. I never had to give up custody of my child.
    5. The program requires that children live in foster or "host" homes instead of allowing them to reside with their parents. My child did live in several group homes and one treatment foster home after leaving a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) but it was not so they could attend a school or Residential Treatment Center (RTC).
    6. The child or parent or forbidden from discussing the daily happenings at the facility. Often this policy is called "confidentiality." I was welcome to visit the wilderness camp my son was attending and the group homes he was in. Of course, I didnt know all the kids names or why they were there. Not my business. I knew the basic routine of how these places were run. Now in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) it was a bit different. I never got to see up on his floor and really never got to meet any of his mates there. He wasnt supposed to talk about them much. I could understand that.
    7. The child is denied access to a telephone. Cory was denied access to a phone rarely and normally as a form of being on restriction. We sent him phone cards and the house parents doled them out as they saw fit. For him to call certain numbers we approved. One place had a problem with this and we took him out very quickly.
    8. Phone calls between children and parents are monitored. Like I said before, most calls are monitored for a time period but that soon loosens up.
    9. The program uses confrontational therapy. Cory was confronted on some things that I think he needed to be confronted on but it was towards the end of his time in Residential Treatment Center (RTC). They needed to push him a bit and see how he would react to having buttons being pushed to see if he could withstand the outside world.
    10. Parents must fulfill requirements of the facility before being permitted to visit their own children. I am not sure what this means. If it is like making sure a payment due is paid, well maybe. If it means some piece of homework they gave you is complete, oh hell no.
    11. The facility is located outside the jurisdiction of the United States.
    12. Children are restrained or otherwise physically prevented from leaving the facility. If this is an unlocked facility and the children are being restrained from leaving to keep them safe from doing something that would be harmful to themselves...well, I would rather have them do this than allow my child to just run away and get lost.
    13. The staff includes former students/clients of the facility. Former students and clients can be some of the best staff members because they really get the new clients and what it feels like to be where the new clients are at.
    14. Staff members claim that self-injury or cutting/carving on ones body is normal behavior for a child in treatment. Big no on this one.
    15. Parents are not allowed to remain with their child during the entire intake/entry process. I dont think a parent should be with the child the whole time. It can make it harder on the child. They will pick up on all the parents emotional qualms about leaving their baby alone in this awful place. Letting the child go with a helper is far better.
    16. The program inflicts physical punishments on children such as exercising for extended periods of time, bizarre cleaning rituals (ie scrubbing floors with a toothbrush) or food restrictions.dont know.
    17. The program uses humiliation to "break them down."
    18. The program forces children to remain in solitary confinement/isolation/time-out for an unspecified amount of time.
    19. The facility considers homosexuality to be a behavioral problem.
    20. The facility claims to be able to change homosexuality.
    21. The facility claims to be able to change transgender teens.
    22. Reading materials are prohibited or severely limited.
    23. The facility does not have a clearly visible sign outside the building or descriptions of their location are vague. Nothing my son went to had clearly visible signs outside that would let you know what it was.
    24. The facility claims to modify behavior, yet has no licensed therapists on staff.
    25. A licensed doctor or registered nurse is not present at any time during normal operating hours. The wilderness camp didnt have a doctor or nurse during normal operating hours but the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) did. Obviously group homes didnt.
    26. Current clients/students participate in the intake/entry process. That was standard in everywhere we went.
    27. Staff members offer to help parents obtain a court order forcing the child into, or keeping the child in, the facility. That was standard at our Residential Treatment Center (RTC)
    28. Children are observed while bathing, dressing, or using the toilet on any level of the program. That was standard at the psychiatric hospital
    29. The facility claims to treat drug abuse, but does not conduct a drug screen prior to entry.
    30. The facility does not allow children to follow their religion of choice.
    31. Staff members must "approve" family members, siblings, friends, or employment. That was standard at all places we went
    32. Children are not afforded an education in accordance with state requirements.
    33. Medication is recommended, prescribed, approved, or dispensed by anyone other than a medical doctor (MD).
    34. Children are denied medications that have been prescribed by an MD.Wilderness camp didnt allow medications for psychiatric conditions
    35. Staff members, admissions personnel, referrers, etc. make statements indicating that "your child will die without" the program.
    36. Children escort/supervise other children.
    37. Children have to "earn" the "right" to speak during group/therapy sessions.
    38. Children are denied outside activities on any level/phase. You have to be at a certain level to do certain things, including leaving the building.
    39. Staff members must approve the withdrawal of children from the facility.You can remove your child AMA
    40. The facility expects total and unquestioned support of parents.
    41. Children on any level/phase are forbidden to speak to other children in the facility.
    42. The facility will not disclose the names of any doctors or therapists on staff prior to the child's admittance into the program.
     
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    in my humble opinion, it's like slsh is saying- it's not really an absolute and can't be when dealing with our difficult child's. Just like we as parents can't say we can follow a certain behavior plan for them at home all the time and never vary on it. OK- maybe there are some absolutes- the child is not to be beaten, sexually abused (or even touched or talked to in that way), locked out in the cold, or starved. They have a right to an education and access/means to report violations against them.

    I was a little concerned about the wording on that list saying that a parent wasn't allowed to contact or speak to a child. It appears more to me that they sometimes don't allow the child contact with anyone- even the parent. Department of Juvenile Justice does this at these times: 1) the first 6-8 weeks the child is there, 2) no phone calls or letters are allowed if the child is in trouble, 3) if the parent is accused of abuse/neglect or lost parental rights, 4) if either the parent or the child does not want contact for a while, 5) if the staff/jufge/PO/GAL (with court backing) has determined that parental contact is not in the child's best interest at that time.

    Now supposedly we as parents are supposed to feel comfortable with this because it's a legal system that has it's own authorities monitoring it. But a report was recently published and out of all the juvenile justice facilities across the country, 13 reported many serious sexual abuse incidents. Two of those 13 were in my state so I don't feel too comfortable. Fortunately, my son is not in either of those two but still, his facility reports to the same authorities as those two and difficult child has told me there are inappropriate communications between kids and staff where he is- although he swears that no sexual incidents where he is have involved him.

    I can tell you that if I was paying for my son to be somewhere, I would expect more accountability than what I'm getting- which is basicly none. And if they restricted contact anymore than Department of Juvenile Justice (as I've listed above), I would have a big problem with it. But I'm ok with the amount of contact difficult child and I have. Oh- they do read our letters and can listen in on phone calls and I am frisked before entering and not aloowed to take anything at all in except my drivers license and the tag thingy they give me when they take my car keys at the security gate. difficult child gets strip searched at the end of any visit or meeting I attend there. (That does break my mommy heart.) When we visit in person (weekly), we can talk privately but we are watched. We can hug each other.

    Steely, M was being violent with you just like my son was getting that way with me. You are very lucky (actually M is very lucky) that you had the option to get him somewhere else besides incarcerated. I know you think this is supposed to be a very different type of place, but everyone in this state in any public agency swears that where my son is, is actually a Residential Treatment Center (RTC)- it's just run by the state Department of Juvenile Justice. I'm not saying this so you'll feel worse or sympathize with me, but just to try to help you as you decipher if M's Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is really helping him or if there's really reason to think he is being mistreated.

    I hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Janet snuck in on me but I think we are saying similar things. A big difference with Department of Juvenile Justice of course is that I cannot remove my son and the GAL advocated for Department of Juvenile Justice instead of private Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for that very reason- she said I couldn't be trusted not to pull difficult child out- which makes no sense because she's the one who initially tried to get difficult child to stay home on probation while I was the one pushing for private Residential Treatment Center (RTC), and because it could have been ordered that I couldn't pull difficult child out. Anyway- another big concern I have that those with kids in provate Residential Treatment Center (RTC) don't is that there really won't be a transitional period where difficult child can come home on day passes, then overnight visits. He gets discharged and that's it- except he'll be on parole with a PO calling the shots from a legal standpoint. That doesn't help me a bit- that just means that the PO orders me to turn my home into a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and if difficult child messes up, I face the wrath for it again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    1. The facility is not licensed.
      [*]Verbal and/or written communication between the child and his parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. is prohibited, restricted, or monitored on any level.
    2. The facility requires that the parents and/or child sign a form releasing the program of liability in the event of injury to the child. NA- they won't be held accountable
    3. The program requests/demands/recommends that they have legal custody of children. NA- the judge gave them custody
    4. The program requires that children live in foster or "host" homes instead of allowing them to reside with their parents. NA- the PO or GAL (thru the judge) can make this happen
    5. The child or parent or forbidden from discussing the daily happenings at the facility. Often this policy is called "confidentiality."
    6. The child is denied access to a telephone. At their desire
      [*]Phone calls between children and parents are monitored.
      [*]The program uses confrontational therapy.
    7. Parents must fulfill requirements of the facility before being permitted to visit their own children. Can happen- it did not happen with me
    8. The facility is located outside the jurisdiction of the United States.
      [*]Children are restrained or otherwise physically prevented from leaving the facility.
    9. The staff includes former students/clients of the facility.
    10. Staff members claim that self-injury or cutting/carving on ones body is normal behavior for a child in treatment. No, but they do claim it's just for attention and the kid can get isolation for it.
      [*]Parents are not allowed to remain with their child during the entire intake/entry process.
    11. The program inflicts physical punishments on children such as exercising for extended periods of time, bizarre cleaning rituals (ie scrubbing floors with a toothbrush) or food restrictions. Some limitations on this.
    12. The program uses humiliation to "break them down."Unknown
      [*]The program forces children to remain in solitary confinement/isolation/time-out for an unspecified amount of time.
    13. The facility considers homosexuality to be a behavioral problem. Unknown
    14. The facility claims to be able to change homosexuality.
    15. The facility claims to be able to change transgender teens. Unknown
      [*]Reading materials are prohibited or severely limited.
    16. The facility does not have a clearly visible sign outside the building or descriptions of their location are vague.
    17. The facility claims to modify behavior, yet has no licensed therapists on staff.
    18. A licensed doctor or registered nurse is not present at any time during normal operating hours. Sometimes
    19. Current clients/students participate in the intake/entry process.
    20. Staff members offer to help parents obtain a court order forcing the child into, or keeping the child in, the facility.
      [*]Children are observed while bathing, dressing, or using the toilet on any level of the program.
      [*]The facility claims to treat drug abuse, but does not conduct a drug screen prior to entry.
    21. The facility does not allow children to follow their religion of choice.
      [*]Staff members must "approve" family members, siblings, friends, or employment.
    22. Children are not afforded an education in accordance with state requirements.
      [*]Medication is recommended, prescribed, approved, or dispensed by anyone other than a medical doctor (MD).
    23. Children are denied medications that have been prescribed by an MD.Can happen
    24. Staff members, admissions personnel, referrers, etc. make statements indicating that "your child will die without" the program.
    25. Children escort/supervise other children.
    26. Children have to "earn" the "right" to speak during group/therapy sessions.Unknown
    27. Children are denied outside activities on any level/phase. Can happen
      [*]Staff members must approve the withdrawal of children from the facility.
      [*]The facility expects total and unquestioned support of parents. BIG YES
    28. Children on any level/phase are forbidden to speak to other children in the facility.
      [*]The facility will not disclose the names of any doctors or therapists on staff prior to the child's admittance into the program.

    My point here is one that was hard for me to see- private Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is considered a private rehabilitation program (in lieu of legal incarceration) by most and therefore many will be run like a Department of Juvenile Justice facility
     
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Most of you remember that Wiz was in a psychiatric hospital for 4 months. It basically was an Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    Communication was limited to people that we specified unless those people did or said things that undermined treatment. They came to us the second week and asked that we stop communication with my parents. My mom and dad had spoken with Wiz about taking him out of there by force or trickery and a staff member heard it. They actually had a "fire drill" to separate them without making a scene. They wanted to speak with us before they said anything to Wiz or my parents.

    By week 4 they realized my parents would not join therapy, no matter what they said. They had a letter from my mother contradicting most parts of his history and placing ALL blame on us for his behavior. It was blamed on us moving away from them when Wiz was almost 3.

    They were not legally allowed to keep ANY mail that arrived by the USPS from him. This was difficult because several of their cards had messages that either undermined treatment by encouraging him to not cooperate or else they made him hysterical by talking about all the stuff we were doing with the other kids that he didn't get to do. Almost all of the things my mother mentioned were false. They were things we had not even considered doing. husband was in his last semester of grad school and I was spending 3 days a week in the city the hospital was in. There was no TIME to do these things.

    It was a locked facility because many of the children were runners. Wiz did not want to run because he didn't know anyone anywhere near there. Thank Heavens!

    The nurse and therapist spoke with me about medications. The doctor was ONLY available one day a week at around 7 am. This was when the treatment team met and parents were NOT encouraged to attend, were actively discouraged in fact - esp if we wanted to speak with the doctor. I was there for 13 out of 18 treatment team meetings. More than any parent in the history of the facility, sadly. Once the doctor stopped changing the meeting time to exclude me we got along well. He got the point that I would insist that he speak to me at the end if he pushed things through before I got there, so he settled down. He HATED my persistence, LOL. He LOVED my muffin tops though.:tongue:

    Wiz was observed though most aspects of bathing and dressing. He refused to bathe or shower. Would go in and run water and not get in, or get in and not use soap. Or only soap a bit of himself. All sorts of angles on bathing avoidance. They had a male orderly with extensive training stand in the outer area with the bathroom door open to make sure he got in and soaped. The man dispensed the soap and shampoo. If Wiz had a fit, kicked him, hit him, etc... then he got to get out, dry off, get dressed and start the procedure all over again. He was never touched or hit or hurt or humiliated. Just forced to do it over and over again until he decided that it was easier to do it right the first time. Took 6 weeks of daily work cause he is a stubborn fool sometimes.

    They went over this, showed us teh man's work history and background check before they started this.

    We were limited in the times/days we could visit and/or call to speak to him. Also in what he could have. We donated a lot of stuff to the ward. My dad had a bunch of walkmans (cassette players) that worked. He had gotten them to use at school. The hospital's cassette players were all broken but they had a lot of meditation cassettes. We took those and a huge thing of batteries and cheap earphones, along with a couple of boxes of books we had cleaned out and some games we were done with. (My kids have NEVER had less than several hundred books at a time that were on their reading level. Just one more way my parents set up unrealistic expectations.)

    By doing this I got a lot more cooperation and access to the docs. The nurses would not shield the psychiatrist from me after I did that and brought them some snacks. And they saw we respected the rules, at least husband and I did. My parents never stopped bringing in things that were not OK. Esp my mom.

    The list of things to watch for may be a good general guideline, but the motives behind the people who made the list should be examined. If they are anti-Residential Treatment Center (RTC) then it may be that some of the items are beneficial or needed to run the facility properly and provide a therapeutic environment. Each family has to evaluate it for themselves.

    Some of the kids at Wiz' facility were left in the calm room (truly a room with padded walls and ceiling and floor, with low lights, soothing colors and they could pipe in soothing music) "until they calmed down". Two of the patients were regularly in there for hours. Anyone walking by could hear them ranting and screaming awful things. You had to walk right past it to hear though. I never knew who, but the rules were explained that if you went in you were there until you were calm for 5 minutes in a row. After 10 minutes they would give you a prn medication if one was ordered in your chart. After 30 minutes they called the doctor on call to have one ordered.

    I do hope the list and our perspective on it and experiences will help you decide what you will do.
     
  13. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Let's see after 3 Residential Treatment Center (RTC) stays for wm, 3 for kt all at the same facility I feel grateful it was an incredibly professional setting.

    Saying that, Sue's comments are right on.....it's about common sense as it applies to your difficult child.

    I approve every phone call that kt makes, i.e. I dictate the numbers she can call. As she has worked her way up through levels I approve numbers of what "friends" she can communicate with.

    Restraints are needed for my ktbug not to run - I'm informed of each & every restraint. There are always 2 staff present during a restraint (one always a female).

    Family has always been welcome & can come at any time - day or night. Phone calls from parents always happen - no exceptions.

    Really that list is extremely vague or it's very anti Residential Treatment Center (RTC). It's attempting to scare parents rather than letting them research a facility and making a decision based on it's merits.

    Steeley, I appreciate your posting this list but maybe just maybe, we here a CD.com need to make a list for the parents here who are considering placement.
     
  14. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    That's an excellent idea, Linda. I don't have a child in placement so I can't suggest any guidelines except:

    1. The facility needs to be fully licensed.
     
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    We sent our son to a TBS in 12 grade and it was a controversial move because his behaviors were not as severe as many others who go due to these problems, nor were they going on for very long. However, he was about to turn 18, and we felt that we had to do something....and made the move.

    Ironically, the owner of the program was acting in a weird manner and we later found out he had a drinking problem (at the time...may have gotten treatment since then).

    One thing that stood out for us is that he treated our son differently than others. The rules were not the same. HE was harsher with our son. Another person in charge did something similar.

    IN my mind this was not appropriate. Rules should be consistent.

    It was a new program and some of the "kinks" had to be worked out. One problem they had was that they did not have a physician on site nor did they have quick access to one.

    However, they rectified that fairly quickly...and brought in a psychiatrist weekly (or for whatever was needed) for an additional fee (of course).

    The problem with the owner singling out our son got so bad, our son left early. It was a toss up between whether he was kicked out or whether we pulled him out. IN the end, they wanted him back...but husband would not have it.

    The weird thing about it all, is even with all the craziness, he DID benefit from the program. The group therapy helped him a lot and his counselor there was very good.

    We brought him home after about 9 months and he saw a very good therapist for a relatively short time and this also helped. Today our son is dong very well.

    His situation was so very unusual.

    For us, it was a matter of speaking up when we were very sure that things were not as they should be, but keeping quiet when we were not sure. We also praised the staff when they were helpful. Additionally, we got input from professionals locally.

    It is a very very tough call...very confusing to be sure.

    It's good that you got a list of things to watch for. Some things on the surface seem out of line, but not truly be "out of line." Confrontations might be acceptable, but there are lines that should not be crossed...like physical abuse.

    Staff might chose to monitor conversations and/or mail for good reason. Perhaps in time, privacy privleges can be earned back. (I'm not an expert on this...but that would seem healthy to me).

    I really don't see anything wrong with physical labor (cleaning, etc.) as long as it is not excessive, long term and as long as everyone gets the same consequences.

    AGain, even in an imperfect situation, our son did very well. Today, he is a very responsible, happy young man and we know we did the right thing.
     
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think SLSH, Timer Lady, Star, and I have probably had the most experience with out of home placements if I have pulled all my memories together from the board. I may be missing a member or two but the three of us have had our kids out of our homes for most of their young lives.

    Cory started his rotation with out of home placements when he went to wilderness camp a month after his 11th birthday and he was there for 16 months. After that he was in at least 7 group homes if I recall correctly, 2 psychiatric hospitals and one psychiatric residential treatment facility and one therapeutic foster home.

    Out of all of those, we had two "bad" experiences. One was slightly bad and one was really bad. The slightly bad one didnt really involve Cory but the group home was shut down while he was there due to the criminal behavior of one of the group home owners. He was the on site manager at night and was arrested that night so the home was closed and we had to pick up Cory at midnight or he would be sent to juvy. Not fun...lol.

    The other extremely bad situation was the therapeutic foster home where a gay male couple was doing this fostering. I didnt have a problem with this until we walked into the home and found one boy Cory's age and 4 boys around 6 or 7 years old. Cory was almost 17 at the time. The house was spotless with all these glass nicknacks around and no toys and nothing out of place. Hmmm. And they had difficult child's?

    This place was long distance to call for me so I gave Cory this text message thing like a pager so he could email me. AT ANY TIME. It was agreed in the foster care plan that he was to have access to this pager thing at all times for him to have this with him so he could email me whenever he wanted to.

    Well the second night Cory was there this foster dad asked Cory to come watch tv in the bedroom with him. Uh...can we say inappropriate? The guy was in his boxers. The guy also took his pager thingy.

    When Cory didnt answer his pager thingy from me, I called his case manager and demanded a meeting asap. Cory told what happened. The guy denied it of course, but I pulled him and told them I wanted an investigation. I called CPS too. Who knows what happened.
     
  17. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I do not believe this organization is anti Residential Treatment Center (RTC) - it a non profit that is dedicated to help us recognize warning signs. That is all this list is, warning signs. If we do not feel the signs are a warning, than we move on. It is meant to educate and help people. We need to not minimize or rationalize warning signs, and look at them head on. It is only when we face them head on that we can decide if abuse is going on.

    I was in "the best" facility for 6 months when I was 16. Nationwide, renowned. My parents believed everything that the staff told them. They did everything they told them to do. Theyy bit into it hook line and sinker. Because they did, I watched the most horrific abuse. Physical, mental - I think the mental was the worst. Despite 10 years of therapy I still have flashbacks, and it has been 25 years.

    Matt almost died when he was 12 by being improperly restrained. I went to pick him up and his face was blue. All of the blood vessels from the neck up into the face had exploded.

    I do not think this list is a be all end all - I think it serves as reminders that something could be going on. For instance, no phone calls could be the programs attempt to cover up abuse. Or it could greatly benefit all parties. That is what this list was about - things a program could do to cover up - which should serve as our warning signs to dig deeper.

    All was great with Matt's program until out of the blue they severed all phone contact with me, except a once a week supervised call. We went from talking every single day, unsupervised, to once a week supervised - in one day. Now this could be absolutely nothing - or they could be trying to suddenly cover up something. How would I know, because Matt would have no way to tell me if something was going on. He has no access to a phone or a way to write unsupervised letters, and I am not allowed to see him.

    We can never be too careful, or minimize, or diminish warning signs. I do not mean to scare people. or scare them out of putting their kid in a program - I am only trying to make us all more aware and wiser. If you agree and consent for these things to happen as part of your kids treatment, than that is perfect. It is when you are not consenting or are being manipulated into conforming to their rules against your will, that it is a warning sign.

    Mentally ill kids are some of the most abused kids out there, because their illness is so provocative. As part of being a warrior mom, we have to also protect them from this.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  18. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    We do have the list of questions to ask an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) prior to placement in the archives. I think that's a good place to start for things to be aware of.

    I do want to say that it is incredibly difficult to keep a clear head when we're dealing with- Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff. In my experience, our thinking can be clouded by so many things - the severity of our child's illness, the fact that we know what our children are capable of (for the ones who are violent), the trust that I think we must implicitly give Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff when we hand over our child, knowing that our kids are manipulative and not always terribly reality-based, and yes, the fear of how to deal with- our child if the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) isn't appropriate. There are so many emotions involved here, it's easy to lose rational logical thoughts.

    Somehow we have to do our best to keep our eye on the ball. In my world, my #1 priority was his safety. #2 was treatment. #3 was education. (Just based on my life with thank you - certainly your priorities might be different based on your child's needs). Did I always keep that in mind? Nope. Was he in a bad placement at some point? Yep. Did I lose sight of the goal? Yep. I let the lesser concerns of what on earth would happen to him/my family if I pulled him, as well as the despair and hopelessness of having had a kid who at that point had near 20 hospitalizations and 4 years in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) under his belt, cloud my judgement.

    We learn. Again, the advice I would give any parent who is concerned about an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement but who cannot put a finger on a specific issue is to follow their gut, after careful thought and examination as unemotionally as possible. It's hard.
     
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sue is very wise.

    I never had any personal experience with being in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I had been in a phospital several times as a teen. Oddly enough those were good experiences for me...lol.

    I did worry when I had Cory placed. It is a leap of faith. I was fairly lucky in that none of the placements we used except for the wilderness camp asked us for the no physical contact for X amount of time. Even with the camp we could write and were encouraged to do so. Obviously in the woods, there was no phone...lol. We did see him every 5 weeks though.

    The one place that sounds the most like your list of concerns is bootcamp...lol.
     
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