Childs rights overrule parental rights?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by FlowerGarden, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. FlowerGarden

    FlowerGarden Active Member

    My son is 16 and in the CCIS unit right now. Everyone feels he needs to be in a residental environment for awhile so that he can deal with his illness and life. The doctor is afraid that he will be in jail soon if he doesn't go to one.

    The state has a certain agency that the CCIS is working with to see if he qualifies for placement. Supposedly if he does qualify, he has the right to decline going.

    I keep being told all his rights as a child and it seems that in our state of nj, we have no rights as parents. We tried calling a lawyer dealing with family law and we were given the name of someone else to try. We called that lawyer and he told us that there's nothing we can do.

    Anyone have any input on how to find out our rights as parents?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We're responsible for the garbage they do until they are eighteen, but they can decline medicine, in my state, at age fourteen. I have no idea why.
  3. mom_in_training

    mom_in_training New Member

    Unfortunately here in Ca its the same. My difficult child had the option to say no to any program that I found to help her at 16. I was in misbelief considering that some of our kiddos are not yet mature enough to know let alone understand how any specific program can help them. Its almost like the very worst has to happen for them to be forced into getting any needed intervention. It is the parents that try and prevent the worst from happening that hit the brick walls with their kiddos rights to say no. That is what happened in my case. Of course we all know that when any help is offered it will only work if your kiddo is a willing participant and that in itself still is no guarantee that your kiddo has the ability to latch on and make better choices in life.
  4. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    I fight this fight regularly here in IA too. Just keep your chin up and look hard. Do you have the ability to have your child adjudicated? That is the route we had to go first. Good luck.

  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry. It really stinks that this happens. Here in OK if a child wants to refuse a placement it has to go before a judge, with the parents and docs all testifying. It is a very quick process and apparently very few kids win. Most are sent to wherever teh parents and pros recommend.

    Hugs, this is so hard!

  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Wonderful, isn't it??

    Actually, once thank you hit 12 they started informing him of his rights in great detail (gag me). I was really really worried because it would be just so typical for him to decide to refuse treatment. Here in IL at least, thank you can refuse treatment at which time we and the mental health professionals involved would go to court to basically prove his incompetance to make a medical decision and force at least *placement*. I don't think under any circumstances, ever, can medication be forced. Anyway, thank you would at the same time be assigned a guardian ad litem who would advocate for thank you having the right to make his own choices regarding treatment.

    In our case, I was assured that given the substantial documentation of thank you's mental illness going back years, we would have no problem getting court-ordered treatment.

    I don't know what CCIS is (family services or juvenile court??) but I wonder if you can get the juvenile courts to order treatment - he cannot refuse a court order in spite of his "rights".

    Good luck - hopefully you're worrying for nothing and an appropriate placement is found for him and he will agree to go. I will keep my fingers crossed for you!
  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Same here, Kanga had her rights explained to her at age 12. Just what a defiant child needs, power. The therapist demanded that Kanga be present when the results of her psychological evaluation were presented to me. We were in the waiting room when they told us this and I very calmly told Kanga to get her coat on because we were leaving. They were shocked, didn't I understand that Kanga had the legal right to make her own mental health decisions? that she was entitled to all of the info so she could make an informed decision? I nearly growled at them that she was a very depressed, very fragile child (who was functioning at a 7-8 yr old level) and they wanted (a) to tell her all the things the testing found wrong with her and (b) encourage her to make her own medical decisions. Let's take a child who has issues trusting adults and convince her that she is right, that we think she is more capable of making huge decisions than her parents.

    It is nuts!
  8. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I was fortunate that my daughter's therapist felt that telling her of her rights, diagnosis and possible future issues would be a huge disaster for her emotionally, so everyone tightly zipped their mouths even when it came time to send her to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), which she could have legally refused had she known the options.

    The reality is that in today's world parents have few rights once a child hits 14. We are supposed to support them but cannot force them to take medications, be off birth control, do any discipline but grounding. It is truly ridiculous!
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I know we lived in OH and I heard other parents talking about this nightmare. The children had more rights than the adults - even if a child had a 105 fever if they refused treatment (medication or other) to lower the fever, no treatment could be given.

    I heard health care professionals in the Children's Hospital talk about how WRONG this was, how children usually are not capable of making good decisions about health care.

    I started when my son was very very young telling him that if he EVER refused medical care that his father or I felt he needed, then he WOULD be needing a new place to live. I talked it over with husband and we agreed. We stood firm when he was a raging 7yo and the almost PhD therapist wanted to do certain things, things that the entire family would need to participate in. I said no, this idiot said it is not my decision. I said, well, see ya!!!

    He did see the light and we did do some of the things, with major alterations to account for the fact that difficult child was not the only important thing in the world, and the sun did NOT revolve around him.

    When we moved to OK I asked and did some research. When we had our 1st psychiatric hospital placement we discussed this, and the staff all thought it was ridiculous that a child would get the power to make these decision.

    At the 2nd psychiatric hospital placement they were far more concerned with difficult children rights and needs, rather than difficult child's need to fit into the family (family comes first - sometimes one member's needs have to be more important, but NOT always!).

    They said that there is a mechanism teens can use to fight treatment, but the teen has to ASK for a legal advocate and take the thing to court. Usually the kid loses, unless the parents are clearly abusive or idiotic. Most teens who need this kind of care are not able to handle organizing all the steps to do this challenge.

    So we are lucky. Common sense still seems to live here, in some ways.

    I am so sorry you all have to deal with this stuff. If you have young ones, decide how you will handle it and start early letting them know the consequences of this action.


  10. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    I have heard the same from other parents in NJ and NY. I think it's ridiculous. You are trying to get help for him and keep him out of prison. I feel for you.

    Ask an attorney about civil commitment. In Texas you can go before a judge and request that he be committed against his will. Then it is court mandated and he has no choice. Not sure if NJ will allow this or not.

    Do you think he might refuse? Maybe telling him he will lose all priveleges? Tell him you will strip hsi room of everything but the mattress and blanket. Take away his favorite clothes?

  11. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    It's absurd, in my opinion.

    1) If preteens and teens could make decisions for themselves, they wouldn't need parents.
    2) Then to add insult to injury, allow a mentally ill teen to refuse treatment?

    Our legislatures never fail to amaze me.
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Playing the devil's advocate here, they don't want to take them because if they don't want to be there they won't cooperate, and they won't make a recovery if they have no desire to recover. They're holding out for kids who want to get better (I don't think they exist, but whatever) and parents who have money to get their kids declared incompetent AND pay the bill.
  13. FlowerGarden

    FlowerGarden Active Member

    He is saying no to residential. He said that he will try a Partial Hospital Program. We (dr., clinician, and husband & I) feel that he is too unstable and aggressive. He supposedly destroyed hospital property over the weekend, but I don't know what. I do know that he mentioned he hurt his hand when he punched a wall. So maybe that's the damage.

    We called 2 lawyers and both said that they can not help us.

    From what the clinician has said, we basically have to take him home and wait for something to happen. Then once he does something wrong, we can have him charged and go to court. Supposedly then the judge can order him into residental.

    I can't understand why someone has to have a "record" when so many professionals, family, & friends think he needs some time away from all distractions and focus on getting the help he needs.

    I had to laugh at one point of all of this - The clinician told us that as parents, we are required to make sure that he takes his medication until he is 18. Then a few minutes later, she's telling us how it is his right to decline medications while in the hospital! Unbelievable.

    I forgot who asked what CCIS is. It's the Children's Crisis Intervention Unit of the hospital.