Black eye from Residential Treatment Center (RTC)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by hamsterwheel, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. hamsterwheel

    hamsterwheel New Member

    Well I guess the honeymoon is over. During the week difficult child had to be "controlled" and ended up in the emergency room complaining she couldn't move her arm. I spoke to her the same night and she said she couldn't talk, to many people around. Today I went to go visit her and she has a black eye?!!!

    On the night of the incident, I was told she was upset and sitting on the floor, refusing to sit on the bed and then kicked a staff member which required her to be “controlled.” Today I read a report that had no mention of the kicking but that she was refusing to sit on the bed vs the floor, used a couple of foul words, threatened to spit and god help me, racial slurs, I can’t believe she said something like that. I felt sick to my stomach after hearing that one. Never in her life has she said anything like that. I also know difficult child does not become aggressive unless she is “touched” first.

    At the time, I didn't make too much of it. I didn’t want to start a big “ ta do” on the weekend with administration not present. Nor did I want to make negative comments in front of difficult child. But now I'm sitting here fuming!!!!

    In all the times I've had to "control" her or the police have had to intervene were there ever bruises like this and a black eye never the less?!

    If that had been me, I‘d have been arrested.

    I even spoke to her clinician the next day, who never mentioned it, only said she hadn’t had a chance to review the incident report, but knew difficult child had to be controlled and difficult child was doing well in the program otherwise.

    difficult child seems to be ok, a little timid which is good I guess, but unusual for her as she is VERY persistent and demanding, which by the way, is one of the things we are hoping to improve. She seems afraid to ask questions now.

    I really don’t know how to handle this. Any advice?
  2. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    In the midst of a crisis staff must act immediately & on their feet; saying that, I've yet to read a crisis report that includes every second of an incident. After the adrenaline rush dies & a client is finally calmed can take a long time & things can be missed.

    Please know that I'm not advocating leaving out the black eye in the report - the bruise may not have blossomed until the next day.

    Additionally, there are other kids there who are just as aggressive & can become so while the staff are otherwise occupied. kt was hurt & then threatened if she "told". It is what it is - this system is not perfect.

    Now, as a mom I would be infuriated & have been in the past. I also, for the most part, gave staff the benefit of the doubt. However, if incidents of this nature kept continuing I went to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) manager & if need be to the psychiatrist in charge of the Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    I also had to keep reminding myself just how very manipulative kt &/or wm can be. wm had been caught hurting himself after he had accused a staff member twice.

    Hope this helps - this isn't going to be an easy time. Maybe you shouldn't visit quite so early in your difficult children stay. Give it a few weeks unless it's for family therapy.
  3. Check out their restraint policy. Restraints can cause harm, children have even died and that's why restraints have to be trained by the staff. Some Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s demand that their staff complete courses before being hired, but it is very much a question of economy. The courses are expensive.

    Here in Lucedale we had a number of Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s which are now closed. In general they were fine Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s of the standard you expect but if I did some of things I saw over the fence to my daughter, I would be arrested. We guess that we have to acknowledge that we are talking of two different worlds.
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    That is a tough one. Without really being able to get to the truth of the incident, it's hard to know how to handle it.

    Keep a close watch...hopefully this was just an accident that occurred during a vert chaotic episode.

  5. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I can only say, hindsight being 20/20, it is inexcusable for a child to receive a black eye (or any injury) during a restraint by trained professionals. Yes, our beloved little cherubs can be a real handful, but again, these are supposed to be people who are trained *frequently* on appropriate restraints.

    I should mention that my son was in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that left simply atrocious marks and bruises during one restraint. I rationalized them, and allowed staff to explain them away, by recognizing that thank you could be very violent and explosive. Again, hindsight being 20/20 - what on earth was I thinking? Three months after the incident, I pulled my son out of there, unfortunately not really based on staff's behaviors. Three months after that, the state shut the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) down. I'm still feeling guilty that I lost sight of what my priority should always have been, which was son's safety and well-being, period.

    The big red flags for me in your situation are that the written report doesn't match what was verbally reported to you (in my humble opinion and experience, if a client is physically aggressive, that is *never* left out of a written report), your daughter's obvious injuries, the fact that she couldn't talk to you the night of the incident because "too many people were around", the fact that she ended up in ER because she couldn't move arm (screams inappropriate restraint to me), and the dramatic change in her demeanor.

    You should have received a grievance procedure when daughter entered Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Follow it. Document all phone calls and conversations you have had about this restraint (when, who, what was said). Follow the grievance up the chain of command. I would also request documentation of when the involved staff were last trained on restraints, and what version of restraints.

    Personally, I would also check with the licensing agency (Dept of Human Svcs or Mental Health or whatever would be applicable in your state) re: prior complaints, and I wouldn't hesitate to file a complaint if your concerns are not addressed pronto. In that case, I'd also start looking for another placement - preferably before you file a formal complaint. Call me paranoid, but I would worry about retaliation. I would also get a photo ASAP of her injuries, as well as a copy of her full ER visit record (narrative as well as x-rays if any were taken). You are absolutely right - had you taken your daughter into ER due to injuries sustained during a restraint, you'd be dealing with DCFS. There is a double standard here, and there shouldn't be, *especially* since these folks are supposed to know what they're doing.

    My son and I were just discussing this subject yesterday - how some RTCs get a pass on what is flat out abusive treatment because difficult children are ... well, difficult children. Parents know their kids are violent, manipulative, prone to story telling, and so I know I was more likely to believe Residential Treatment Center (RTC) version of events.

    Just my opinion, but I would definitely pursue this.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010