Another Almost-18 year old in custody of CPS


This must be an epidemic -- my 17 year old Difficult Child with bipolar disorder had another manic episode on Monday -- this time at school, where people besides me got to experience it. He attends a non-public school for kids with emotional disability, but hadn't really been displaying the behaviors that he's been showing at home. It's been a roller-coaster ride.

During his manic episodes, he hates me, hates the family, breaks the rules, stays out late, rants and argues loudly & aggressively if anyone gives him an audience. Luckily no violence, as was his past pattern before residential treatment. But my issue is that he takes no responsibility for coping with his mania, for developing strategies to somehow not inflict his turmoil on everyone else.

Once it passes in 3 days, we are all supposed to pretend that nothing out of the ordinary happened, even though we are shaken & re-traumatized.

After running away from school on Monday and staying out all night, he is now in the custody of CPS and they are having a hard time understanding why I am not rushing straightaway to pick him up. He will be 18 in 2 1/2 weeks and his Probation Officer is going to try to change his status to allow him to have Transitional Housing, but in the meantime they want me to take him home. However, I do not want that, and have located 2 nearby youth shelters that he can choose from.

Any advice?


Well-Known Member
A few words before turning off the light: stay strong. It depends upon what the law says where you live. In the USA where I live at 18 there is no legal responsibility for parents. 17 is the age in Canada. On the one hand the authorities will be more motivated to provide the treatment and secure placement he needs--if you do not take him. But you may get into trouble if the law where you are says you are responsible until he turns 18. And this could put your younger child at risk of being taken from your home.

There are threads about this if you do a search. In the past few weeks a mom was in a similar situation and she got threatened that her other kids would be taken from home. The situation was different as the older child I believe made allegations. But still, they have power over the other younger kids, if there is any suspicion in the family. That would be my concern.

Will check back tomorrow.

so ready to live

Well-Known Member
Hi 4tall. I'm so sorry you are in this... I too have adopted children from foster care, one of whom struggles so much. I too was waiting until he turned 18 so legally I wasn't responsible any more. We had good times and bad, but I was afraid of him at times. No way to parent/no way to live.
he hates me, hates the family, breaks the rules, stays out late, rants and argues loudly & aggressively if anyone gives him an audience.
I do not want that
Can you be honest with those who are suggesting he come home before transitional? That he is aggressive and you are afraid? It seems to me this would be protecting your younger child. My heart and prayers are with you, this is so hard. It's so "not what we signed up for". Hold tight, many of us get it.


Well-Known Member
That he is aggressive and you are afraid? It seems to me this would be protecting your younger child.
Good morning.

I think what srtl writes is the heart of things: you seek their help (CPS) protecting the younger child from his aggression and raging.

Let us know how things develop.
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Roll With It
The people at CPS always put pressure on the parents to take the child home because it saves them money and is the easiest and fastest solution for them. It is wise for you to let them figure out a place for him and to keep them from hassling you, I would say that you are afraid for the safety of your younger child. That you do not want your difficult child to return home because you have come to the point where his aggression and rage are so bad that you fear that it is not safe for your younger child to live with him. Therefore CPS must find a place for him until he is 18 and his PO can place him in the transitional housing placement.

Stick to your guns on this. Let CPS know that your son shows zero remorse for his aggression and takes zero real responsibility for his actions, blaming everything on someone else, and it has come to the point where you feel you simply must protect your younger child. You love your difficult child with all of your heart, but your younger child must have a safe home.

I am sorry it has come to this. No mom ever wants to get to this point.


i agree with all of the above. You and your other child deserve to have a safe home. He needs to understand consequences. Stick to your plan! I know you love him, and this is harder than anything you have done but he needs to now find his way and for that you need to get out of his way and support with a loving heart from a distance! Hugs


Thanks for all of your help. Almost 18 year old had a court hearing on Friday and Judge changed his placement to allow him to have Transitional Services once he turns 18 in two weeks. So he is waiting out the next couple of weeks in Juvenile Hall, when they will try to find him a placement.

He's refusing to take his Bipolar medications, so he will be going downhill quickly. But he is in a safe place for that. And I will try to get psychiatrist to change his antidepressant to Wellbutrin, since he has been on Zoloft (SSRI) for several years and that could explain why he still has mania, even though he takes a mood stabilizer. (Not supposed to take SSRIs with a mood disorder.)