Considering a Boarding school

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by beachbeanb, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. beachbeanb

    beachbeanb New Member

    Hey all!

    I am fresh off a trip to see a boarding school in Texas for my son. I am glad that I went and saw it but it does not make this decision any easier. Have any of you been in this spot? Wondering if it is bad enough to take this step and all the while thinking....well nothing we have done so far has worked! I don't is a terrible decision to have to make. The school is restrictive - very restrictive. But in what seems the most comfortable and compassionate environment. He needs restriction - he needs to learn discipline, personal responsibility, the value of being honest.....the list goes on. Ugh....I guess time will tell. Any suggestions would be most welcomed!!!

  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    How old is your son?

    Is this a boarding school? a therapeuric boarding school? or a residential treatment center?
  3. beachbeanb

    beachbeanb New Member

    He is 16...will be 17 in December. It is a TBS - faith-based in Texas. Very organized and appealling looking but very restrictive - which is what he needs. Just sad at what he will have to give up....great church group...swim team....but we are not ready to decide just yet....maybe a miracle will happen.
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Some things to think about...

    Suggested Questions for Residential Facilities Prior to Placement​
    Before the initial visit:
    1. Ask for the following in writing prior to visit. Including: program description, policies and procedures regarding home visits, phone calls (receiving and initiating), behavior management, crisis intervention, physical restraint, safety issues, participation in religious services and activities, meals, activities available after school/evenings/weekends, medical and therapeutic services, transition procedures to home/community, etc.
    2. Read all the above and observe during visit that the information you were provided matches what you are seeing and hearing.
    3. Ask to visit the specific building or unit your child will most likely be residing in.
    4. Is the residential facility accredited? By whom? Ask what the requirements are for their particular accreditation and a copy of the last review of their facility completed by the accrediting agency.
    During the initial visit:
    1. If you did not receive copies of the facility's policies and procedures prior to the visit ask again. Don't leave without them.
    2. Try to visit during a time that the residents are at home. Observe interactions of staff and residents while on your tour.
    3. Ask to at least see sample schedules of activities for after school, evenings and weekends. Take copies home with you if possible.
    4. What are the job duties of the person showing you around? You want to talk to and ask questions of one of the staff people that are actually working in that residence on a consistent basis. Not someone who just stops in once a week to conduct a group therapy session. And not just an intake worker.
    5. What is the staffing pattern at the residence? Are people assigned to work the same shift several days in a row or is a different person working every afternoon, evening? What is the turnover rate for residential workers and therapists?
    6. What accommodations are made for residents that have allergies? To foods, laundry detergent, soap, mold, etc?
    7. Will your child have to give up their medical doctor, psychiatrist, therapist and refer only to the facility's personnel? Is the facility willing to work with doctors and therapists you and your child already have a relationship with? Will your child's medication be changed by the medical staff of the facility immediately upon moving in? Who will monitor your child's medication?
    8. What is the training of the staff? In behavior management, crisis intervention, for medical emergencies, etc.
    9. Does the staff liaison with school personnel? How? How often? Will you have to request their input and/or presence at every IEP meeting?
    10. Is the facility clean? Paint not peeling? Furniture and carpeting in good repair? Are you comfortable with your child actually living in this environment? Remember, this is not a short vacation.
    11. Relate to the staff specific behavioral incidents and ask how they would be handled in the residence. Note later if the responses follow the policies and procedures you were given. Are you comfortable with their responses?
    12. Ask about any concerns that are specific to you and your child.
    13. How does the facility staff define success for their residents? What is their success rate? Where do the residents go when the placement ends; back to parents home, independent living, college, other residential facilities? Does the agency operating the residential facility have adult services/programs that your child could transition into if necessary?
    14. Is it possible for you to talk to former residents or parents of former residents?
    15. Ask for examples of how previous crises were handled. Such as: violence outbreaks, physical injuries, sexual abuse, deaths of residents, runaways, alcohol/drug abuse, etc.
    16. If a resident runs away or is hospitalized can they return to the facility?
    17. Ask about the clinical component. What kind of treatment is provided to residents on a regular basis? How much? What type? What are the training and credentials of the personnel providing treatment? How will you be informed of your child's progress in treatment? Will you be able to talk to each individual member of your child's treatment team whenever you want or will your communication be limited to one team member of their choice and when will the communication occur? Is it required that parents attend weekly or monthly meetings on site to maintain your child's placement here?
    18. Where do all the residents go to school? Do you have a choice in the matter? Does your child? Is your home school district involved? If not, how will you be kept informed of your child's educational progress? How involved is the relationship between the residential staff and the school staff! Do they have regular meetings together to specifically share information and coordinate their efforts in assisting the residents' progress toward their goals?
    19. Will you be allowed to make unannounced visits after your child is placed at this facility?
    After the visit:
    1. Review the written material you were given. Does what you saw and heard match the program in the written material?
    2. Were you comfortable with the staff you interacted with?
    3. Were you comfortable with the other residents?
    4. Do you feel you can trust these people?
    5. Do you agree, or are you at least accepting, of their philosophy and the resulting policies and procedures? If not, keep looking. You won't feel better later .If you just have more questions, call and ask or return for another visit.
    Written by the ICG Advisory Council, January 2001.
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    On a more personal note...

    Is your son willing to attend the TBS? If not, how will you get him there? will he run?

    Don't focus on what he'll miss this year if he goes to TBS. Focus on what will be missing from his life if he doesn't improve. Then determine if you think TBS in general and this TBS in particular can give him a chance to improve.

    These schools are very expensive. Please understand that they cannot guarentee that your son will improve or that any improvement will be long lasting. Many times Residential Treatment Center (RTC)/TBS success rates are measured simply by the number of children that are not admitted to a psychiatric hospital/Residential Treatment Center (RTC)/jail in the 12 months after they finish the program. Most parents have a higher standard for success, although for some children that may be as good as it gets.
  6. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I was wondering about out of home placement... not sure how we could even afford one that was voluntary. Not sure what we will do if things escalate further than they already have. You want the best options for your child, but it seems until they are ready and willing to work on things also, will it ever work? Sorry I am so negative. It has been one of those times when I am physically and emotionally exhausted. Respite care if sounding kind of good... for me! Wish I could go somewhere and recharge. KSM
  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    It depends so much on your insurance, your school district and your state what options you have in funding an out of home placement.

    Generally, the options are:

    1. Pay out of pocket
    2. Insurance
    3. School district funding
    4. Foster Care/CPS funding
    5. Mental health funding

    All of those options have pros and cons.

    #1 pro-wide variety of placements willing to take your money; cons - who has an extra $300/day
    #2 pro-it is a funding source; cons-it is very rare to have this covered and even the plans that cover it have limits far less than the therapeutic recommendations
    #3-pro-covers everything including transportation con-very difficult to get, esp if the child's difficulties are more at home instead of at school
    #4 pro - it is a funding source; cons - you have to deal with CPS, you lose control of treatment choices and some/all parental rights, may need to get charged with child neglect in order to access this funding
    #5 pro- it is a funding source; cons-rare and very difficult to obtain

    And then, the out of home placement of last resort -- juvy jail. Pro-keeps everyone safe Cons-too many to list.

    If you have reached this point with your child, talk to the parent-liason person at the psychiatric hospital and ask them to explain how it works in your state. Understand that they may not know all of the options but they will at least know where to start.