Costa Rica?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Dazed n Confused, May 1, 2010.

  1. Dazed n Confused

    Dazed n Confused New Member

    As my difficult child finishes up his time at wilderness in Hawaii, we were told about a place in Costa Rica for kids with Anxiety, Social Phobia, Depression, Some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), etc.

    Anyone have any thoughts about Costa Rica, anyone send their child there?
    If you PM me, I can give you the name of the place that was recommended.

    It is a year long program, he will be 18 in January but they will have him sign an agreement to stay. He can't come home, we had our first family phone call about a week ago and nothing had changed.

    The counselors and staff couldn't figure out why we had even sent him there because he is so polite, respectful, does his chores, etc. They could tell he had anxiety and some depression but not the ANGER that we told them about. We after the phone call the counselor actually said he now understood why. Apparently he is perfect away from family its just his parents and grandparents that he can't communicate with.

    The other place that we were told about was in Utah, I'm not so impressed with that one, just from what I have read on the internet. I have yet to talk to the "admin" at either place.

    He had a psychological exam about 2 weeks ago and basically it was what we thought.

    Sorry now I am just rambling...............I don't know how some of you have made it through all of this. You are strong people.
  2. Dazed n Confused

    Dazed n Confused New Member

    I should mention that he also needs to grow up, even though he is 17 after testing mentally he is about 14 or 15.

    I don't think 6 months in Utah will help do that. The place in CR is supposed to help with that and the therapy.

    Should I ask our Easy Child for another option?
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Dazed- I'd worry, personally, about sending my child out of the US (with the possible exception of Canada). I imagine you could have few parental rights and very little legal recourse as an American in a foreign country. I also think it would be much harder to monitor for any changes in the program, etc. Not to mention the possibility of political unrest (though Costa Rica is very stable when compared to her Latin neighbors).
  4. Dazed n Confused

    Dazed n Confused New Member

    That was another concern for me, thanks for writing that. My head is spinning and trying to do the right thing. UGH! I need the STAPLES "EASY" button. =)
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I agree with TM that I personally would want my child in the United States.

    My son has been at an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in Utah since the end of August. Most of the kids there are the "softer" kids -- anxiety, depression, academical underachievement, etc. My son is here right now for his first home pass, and boy, what a difference. We can't believe it's the same kid we sent to wilderness last June.

    In your shoes, I would press the ed consultant for more programs that would meet the needs of your son. If possible, visit them in person. You don't get a feel for the place or the people running them unless to you go there. That's how we chose the program for our son, and our gut instincts were right on.

    Good luck.
  6. Dazed n Confused

    Dazed n Confused New Member

    Smallworld - could you PM and let me know the name of the school your son is attending.
  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Sure, I will right now.
  8. The owners of the local Residential Treatment Center (RTC) here in Lucedale got one of their Residential Treatment Center (RTC) closed on Costa Rica back in 2003. However it is still open today under a new management but with the same owners. It is for males and females.

    I also noticed another boarding school in Costa Rica with a softer approach but it was only for males, so we couldn't use that.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I would be extremely leery of any program outside of the US. For the reasons mentioned above and because you would have no clue what kind of problems the other kids would have. Programs in the US will likely have kids with fairly similar ranges of problems. Outside the US you wouldn't know if that was the case, and they could tell you anything. It would be almost impossible to verify. The chances that you would end up with an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that did what the one grouphome that Star's difficult child was in did could be very high. You may or may not remember - on days parents/supervisors were to be there the owner hired people to come in and say they were the house parents, tdocs, etc... while in reality her son was miles outside the nearest town with some other kids his age and older, little to no food, no way to get into town or to school, etc... It was a horrible place and took awhile before she could get him moved.

    I would be afraid of that, and of the fact that she would be in a country where she didn't speak the language (?), didn't know the culture, and might not be able to get help if she had to walk to the nearest town for it. Also you don't know what the legal system there will do with various difficult child behaviors. She might do the kinds of difficult child things that end up with charges being pressed and then having to deal with a legal system where she may have few or no rights and where you might or might not be able to even visit if that happened.

    I would push for placements in the US or maybe Canada.
  10. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I wouldn't even send a teen to a program in Canada. United States only. There is currently a boy from Canada at my son's Residential Treatment Center (RTC), and according to his parents, the US has better therapeutic programs. Furthermore, the legal system is different, and your child would not have the same protections he is guaranteed here.

    Again, push your ed consultant for programs that meet your son's needs. There are plenty of them right here in the United States. Furthermore, this is such a big decision that I can't emphasize enough that you should visit programs before deciding to place your son there. Visiting the facility and talking to the administrators, therapists and students at the programs really cemented for us which program was right for our son. In the eight months our son has been at his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) we have never second-guessed our decision.
  11. Last week I saw on TV that a mother from England was in the States looking for for her girl who ran away from some wannabee Residential Treatment Center (RTC) up in Missouri, which tried to treat her girl with bible song and some kind og education which they wont seek accreditation for because accreditation means that they would have to meet some standards by the state. The case was on America's most wanted. Apparently they didn't have anything that good in England.

    I believe that it doesn't matter if the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is in the next state or in the next country. As a parent you have to investigate every little thing and start asking questions. They might not like you for it. They even might threat to kick your child out because you question their methods, but in our case we do only have one daughter so that is out right.
  12. Dazed n Confused

    Dazed n Confused New Member

    I sent our Easy Child an email letter her know that I would like to look at atleast 2 more options and that there has to be programs with "softer" kids and the therapy he needs in the US.
    She may not like it but oh well. She got defensive when my husband asked for a 3rd option originally.

    Knock on wood, she cooperates, she can be stubborn sometimes.
  13. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    It's time to look for another Easy Child if she won't cooperate.
  14. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    TM, the problem is that ECs are very expensive. You usually pay a lump sum, and the Easy Child is supposed to help you for the duration of the time your child is in therapeutic treatment. So it's very disappointing and expensive if the Easy Child doesn't work out.
  15. Dazed n Confused

    Dazed n Confused New Member

    They are expensive and while they visit and are connected to these programs, its just frustrating. They are supposed to visit the schools, talk to your child, talk with the therapists, etc. I love what the program in Costa Rica offers............its CR. I wish I could find one here.
  16. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    If you don't mind, PM the name of the program to me. I may know something about it.
  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Along with the concerns others have already mentioned, I think I'd also be concerned about his age- is the age of maturity/adulthood 18yo there? What happens if he ends up 18yo and not in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) but on the street in CR, either by suspension for punishment, running away, and someone breaking a contract?
  18. dadside

    dadside New Member

    I fully agree that you should not send your child to Costa Rica. And I'd consider Canada only if there was some program so unique and appropriate there -- but I've not seen any that can't be found in a licensed US program.

    I only know about one "wilderness" program in Hawaii, and it is not like most other places you more commonly hear about, so I don't know that the outcome would be the same. There may be more than one wilderness operation in Hawaii, and that could make a difference, but I do know that the isolation of where they operated made a big positive difference in my son's achievement in a program in Utah.

    As for you Easy Child and her apparent reluctance to recommend other places, I'd suggest finding a different Easy Child. Also, you should be aware that different ECs operate differently. Some may only help find a place. Some, for more money of course, may follow your child's progress etc, perhaps intervening with the school/program if appropriate, or recommending a new placement. And some less-than-open/honest ECs will accept fees from schools for placements - even while accepting fees from the parents.

    Do you have a good understanding of the kind pf place your son should go to next? Options range from a clinically-oriented facility to what approaches an open-campus atmosphere. Therapy provided differs. Outdoor activities may be "right" for some, while music may be key for others. My sense is that better definition of needs is in order, as well as perhaps a new Easy Child.

    Finally, when you do select a school/program, don't pay for more than a month at a time. There are several reasons why not. Similarly, don't sign a long-term contract obligating you to pay. And, be sure the school/program will certify grades and course completion for everything actually completed. (At least one school wouldn't certify anything for students enrolled less than a full year!) You never know how something that looks good will actually work out until it is in action.
  19. Dazed n Confused

    Dazed n Confused New Member

    We signed a contract and paid a full fee for the Easy Child, the contract is for 18 months. As for communicating with us, therapist, the psychologist that tested him, she even met with our son, she has been great. So to get a new Easy Child would be hard. I don't know how much money we would get back, etc.

    I don't know if she gets defensive because my husband comes across as "Are you kidding me out of all the schools, you only found 2." I can see how that would make her defensive. But I also see her point.

    I don't know why but Utah,scares the H@!! out of me. When you do internet searches, the

    As for my son running away, not happening, his anxiety would prevent that. They keep kids after the age of 18. In Hawaii, he hasn't had one outburst etc. We were actually asked why we sent him there. He was doing everything asked of him, polite, respectful, etc. and then we had our first family phone call with the counselor....................lets just say WOW, the counselor then understood. My son is so afraid of making himself look bad, different, etc. that he holds it in and then explodes on us. He loves being there and doing everything, but as a family with him and us there is a wire loose. I hope this makes sense.

    The Easy Child, psychiatric., Counselor all agreed that he needs a soft program to help with depression, anxiety, social skills, and mature. He is 17 but he is immature around 14 or 15. Does not defy authority, teachers, no detention, no court records, etc. He was fine until 9th grade and then boom, like a light switch. We think something happened to him, but no one can find anything. He quit going to school and became addicted to the computer, his anger at home is why he was sent to a wilderness camp.

    Anyone at all have a child like that, if so, what long term program? Is it helping? I need any help or info I can get.

    TO make this even better, I was thrown from my horse on the 15th, have a concussion, doctor still won't let me drive, work, or ride. I am emotional, irritable, confused, have trouble talking. I have corrrected mistakes in this about 20 times, so I am sorry if this doesn't really make sense.

    Smallworld - I replied, did you get it.
    Dadside - PM me if you would and let me know the name of the place your son went to in Hawaii and Utah.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Since it's very expensive, I agree with doing an internet search to make sure most kids are functioning when they get out. There are no guarantees for the money.

    I would have never sent my child out of the country, but I'd have been leery of all Easy Child programs too. At 18, can your child leave and stick you with the bill? Are you willing to risk that?

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do.