Anyone with experience turning to child protective services for help?



I am less than shocked, but have been quite upset. It took difficult child less than 12 hours to run away from the inpatient rehab I just worked my butt off for a month trying to get him into.

Outpatient said, go to day treatment or inpatient
Day treatment said go inpatient
Now we have failed out of even the highest (is there a higher?) level of care

So I have a meeting tomorrow back at the outpatient with our original case worker's supervisor and the owner of the place ( case worked was a great fit but left the place)

I do have some other cards up my sleeve- I am close an IEP meeting and with an IEP there's a second day treatment place he becomes eligible for (if there's space)

And I have a court case in the works that, in a few months, might mandate inpatient, though I have doubts about whether he will stay even if jail is the alternative. (Typing that I am wondering if jail would be really good for him.)

I'm also trying to get him to go back to the day treatment place that sent him away and ask again, tell them he's ready

But the truth is, at least how I feel right now, *I* don't want him in day treatment. I can't take it anymore. I need a break. I'm not up to this. I cannot take care of him.

Today I will also be reaching out to a friend of a friend who, apparently, works with kids like mine. Ask her for ideas.

I just feel so broken. This is not manageable.... But is that just a thought I should be working on changing? Or should I be working to change my circumstance?

I could potentially have him sent to jail at our next court date- they will keep him there if I refuse to take him home.

Or I can call child protective services, tell them I am considering relinquishing my parental rights, and it's my understanding that he will be brought to a secure facility.

At this point I am pretty clear that I am not happy with out patient treatment, even if it's day treatment, but I'm feeling forced back to a lower level of care. difficult child is calling the shots through non-compliance. I have a pretty good idea that I could exert a ton of energy and get him place at day treatment, one way or another. And that it would work well for about 4 months - because he's good a new things - then it will 4 months later, he will be 4 months older and I will be back here sending this same message.

I am tired.

I think it was playing with fire. I think I want CPS and am a little not ready to call them so I said to the outpatient place "I cannot take care of him." That is a true statement, no doubt. I think I was saying it to see if they would call.

Surely, if you are reading this, you are asking yourself, but what about his father, can't he go live there? First- his father already has a CPS finding against him for inadequate guardianship. During the course of our marriage I was not allowed out of his site. He stopped stalking me when he got together with a new woman who is now about to have his child. They live close-by. He has, in the past, refused to take difficult child in. He took him in once after things were really dangerous here and I had difficult child arrested on a mental health warrant - ex took him in to avoid him difficult child actual treatment. He's really against having him live there, there's a 1 in 25 change he would agree to take him for a bit. But all that is going to do is get difficult child a few months older. The 2 of them rarely spend time together, but since I have planned this inpatient thing they are bonding a lot- having meals together, etc. And having difficult child live with me, refusing to care for him in a significant way, feels like ex's one last avenue of exerting control on my life. So, no, that's not really a very good idea.

So, I'm out of good options. Bad options are go back to a lower level of care to buy time. But I actually want difficult child to receive care. I want him to get better. Every bit of bought time is him older, closer to me having no control. And my other options- jail and CPS- those are both using my control to place him with the state and hoping that behavior on my part has an impact, or that he has such a terrible experience there that inpatient starts to look appealing and he won't run away.

This is really a sucky situation.


Well-Known Member
How old is he?

You do realize he will not quit until he wants to, no matter how old he is, right? But rehab is a good option. He may decide in there to change his ways and he is at least off the street. CPS could perhaps offer residential treatment.

Is he doing anything dangerous? Illegal? If he is still underage this could prompt CPS to help. However, CPS can be unpredictable and you can't guess what they will ultimately do. If he is doing illegal stuff or dangerous stuff, you can call the police too and maybe get treatment that way...then, again, he could be taken to juvy. We called the police on our daughter a few times and she got probation twice, but nothing else. She wasn't offered services and would not have complied willingly and was not ready to quit. This was all while she was under eighteen.

Do you have other kids who he is endangering?


He's 16 and an only child. The court case is via an arrest I made happen- violence around the home. And, no, no danger at the moment. He's in a calm patch. And, substance isn't really primary. It's behavioral. The only substance is weed. Though he's experimented with others in the past.

Yes, I know he will only quite when he's ready. I don't really feel, though, like him quitting or not quitting is the bottom line. Even though the underlying stuff also isn't going to improve if he doesn't want help. And if he doesn't, then just how do I get him away from me.

He hasn't been to school in 1 year. He does nothing but watch tv. No friends, really. Doesn't listen to a word I say, won't do his own dishes or clean up after himself, will only eat exactly what he wants to eat and had to be hospitalized this fall for drastic weight loss around the same issue, so just not "obeying" him isn't a great idea- leads to the hospital, but no psychiatric care.

If I do a new arrest it will go to criminal court and adult jail now- so I'd rather work through the arrest that's in court via family court (which he has aged out of)- at least that will only lead to juvy.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I was so desperate when my difficult child was 17 that I did call DFACS and ask about turning her over to foster care. They told me at 17 they would not take any action since she was almost 18. I don't know what they would say about a 16-year-old but it would be worth looking into.



Well-Known Member
I'm kind of fuzzy here. He isn't using many drugs, although, to be honest, you don't really know that. I thought the same thing about my kid and I was wrong. But obviously, if he isn't, he is mentally ill. Why won't you insist on psychiatric treatment and compliance while you still can?

Have you ever drug tested him? Have you ever searched his room or read his FB or cell phone messages? It sounds sneaky and it is, but it is also sometimes lifesaving. That is where the honesty lies...with his friends, not with his parents. He will be honest, especially on his cell phone, which he doesn't think you will read.Check every spot in his room, including in cracks and under mattress and in bookcase and anywhere you see where something could be hidden. We actually had a cop bring a dog in and he found stuff we missed. He won't trust you anymore? Well, it could be life or death and you NEED to know what is going on.

Hugs and sorry for your hurting mommy heart. Best to know for sure if it's drugs or real mental illness, not caused by any drug use. They are treated differently. Don't say "But he never leaves the house." You wouldn't believe how they get drugs. Even if they don't leave the house (or we think they don't).


I'm 5 years into trying on insist on psychiatric treatment - it's hard to come by when mixed with substance. Most places insist the substance gets addressed first, then there's limited psychiatric support suing that treatment. He's been through 2 patches where he was tested regularly and it is just weed, with very occasional experiments thrown in.

He's 6'1" and 200 lbs, there's not much I can do this point. He won't comply with any treatment. Followed me down the street just now calling me a :censored2: - I escaped to a restaurant. I suspect I will be calling the cops this evening.

The whole idea of turning him over comes from nothing left in terms of options or ways to compel treatment.

He doesn't have friends. I'm not afraid of lossing his trust.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
My daughter was sneaking out regularly at night during her junior and senior years in high school and I knew nothing about it until years later when my easy child told me.


Well-Known Member
I have not had direct experience but know several people who have turned to CPS or youth services for help. A lot depends on what worker you get etc. Sometimes they can help. I think it is at least worth giving them a call and see if they can help. I would do it now when he is 16 because as he gets closer and closer to 18 the less likely they are to help I think.


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New Member
You say it isn't drugs, even though he has used's just behavior. Drugs cause behavioral problems. The drugs he has admitted to you is probably the tip of the ice burg. I was told this by a therapist when I was trying to find out what had happened to my beautiful, athletic son, who all of a sudden was doing crazy things. I was denying it was drugs.....but you know what, it was. Unfortunately, his age makes you still responsible for him. But I would make an appointment with a judge (I did this).....have a talk with him, and see what he can do for you. I didn't know I had that option, but just took a chance and was granted an appointment. This has been many years ago....but give it a try. Hugs to you.


New Member
We did not have issues until son was an adult, though it might be easier since 16 years. If he is a harm to himself or others he can be observed for 72 hours I think to diagnose what is going on. I don't know if the justice system would help him as much as observation. We were always trying to figure out ways to have son declared incompetent, though as an adult that is nearly impossible. As for searching the room, if there is carpet, look for pieces cut out. Good luck.