I'm writing my letter!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I am actually finally writing this letter regarding our juvie CSU (court srvices unit) in this state! Instead of writing 2-3 different ones, I'm starting by writing one and then might copy it to vary a small amount of wording for each recipient. It's to file complaints about specific people, to wage a grievance with our state Department of Juvenile Justice, and to ask the legislators to consider new laws while they are reviewing the juvenile justice laws this session.

    I have an opening paragraph stating the purpose of my letter, then have started bulleted specific complaints/grievances/what I believe are wrong-doings (the point there is to list specific issues with the people by name and to also make it obvious how out of control this is), then I'll have a sentence requesting that they consider laws to address 'the following' in order to close that loophole, meet the regs, policies, strategic plans, and overall objectives already defined in our state government, which of course, would cost the government and taxpayers less in the long run.

    Then I'll bullet those things I think would help immensely (such as eliminating the exception for MH providers to be licensed if they work for the local gov and requiring a grievance procedure be developed and publicized for parents of juveniles on probation or parole, not just those incarcertaed, requiring POs, GALs and other attnys in juvie courts to have a min amount of experience instead of using our juvie courts to train those newly licensed since this is a state that doesn't expunge juvie records, etc), then I'll have a closing paragraph, and I"m done!

    I think I could do a brief hx of difficult child/me as an attachment and send it to certain recipients, but all wouldn't necessarily need it. I'm thinking this will keep the 'main' letter shorter and to the point. I'm going to send it to enough agencies that I hope some conclude it wouldn't be a good idea to ignore it.

    The thing is, when I read the state committees' studies/recommendations, the state regs, policies, objectives, etc, it says exactly what I think- well, as much as can be expected and goals that I could live with being the parent of a juvenile delinquent. But it sure as heck isn't playing out that way on the local level. Why? because NO ONE from the state level checks on the local CSUs. And I mean NO ONE. They spend all that on the facilities for incarceration- they have a grievance procedure there for the kids and an ombudsman for parents to contact, etc. But that isn't where the loophole is.

    Please wish me luck. If they change one law out of the 4-5 I'll be requesting they look at, at least maybe one juvenile and family can get better than we have. I don't know why they can't figure out this would save them more money than they are spending now. Say if they spent $95,000 on a licensed MH prof who saw 20 families per year but only 1/2 of those juveniles were helped and didn't reoffend again- that's 10 kids kept from being committed to Department of Juvenile Justice. It takes over $100,000 per year to keep a kid in a Department of Juvenile Justice facility for a year- so they spend 95,000 to save 1,000,000. Duh!

    That's just an example- I'm trying to keep my requests general and not specific to my son.
  2. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    This sounds great. My question is,can you file a complaint to the stae on behalf of your boy? We did do that for our daughter as well as get a lawyer. In the long run, we decided to not sue as we knew that we would be in court for years and the money could be used later for treatment. The complaint was investigated and the Residential Treatment Center (RTC)/JJS did get into trouble and had to make changes. I was satisfied that other kids would at least not be harmed by these issues. It did not take care of the bigger issues such as untrained 20 somethings doing most of the "treatment".
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    We are in a state where supposedly they can't be sued. However, somehow they do get sued. I don't understand it. But I'm sending this to the state Department of Juvenile Justice office, the state mental health dept (part of it pertains to them), the state legislators (our General Assembly because they just started their session last Wed and juvenile justice is on the agenda), the attorney's bar, office of child protection and advocacy, and others. Also, I'll make sure it gets to state reps/senators from each party. The more I write this stuff out, the more out of control it appears but the simpler it gets to see where the problems lie, in my humble opinion anyway. It's the blind leading the blind. The gap between the state and the local jurisdictions (who officially work for the state Department of Juvenile Justice) is humongous in this state. Oh- and that civil rights agency because I'm convinced my civil rights (Ie, my parental rights) have been and are being violated.

    I'm debating on the media- it's not that I want or expect my letter to get broadcast to the public, I'd just like for an investigative reporter to look into this. How do I shoot for that? Do all newspapers and tv stations have an investigative reporter? Do you know that our state Department of Juvenile Justice has a person designated and a standard protocol for dealing with "matters that could become public thru the media" but only have one guy at the state level in charge of local CSUs and apparently, he does NOTHING. His name and contact info aren't even publicized.

    I don't know where it will lead, if anywhere, but it sure is therapuetic. LOL!
  4. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    I would find the local investigative reporter that you think has true grit. Be willing to sit with him/her and give background. I'd say having only one media contact person is a hole in their defence and works in your favor. Even if the reporter hits upon nonresponsiveness-this is tale-tail (or however you spell it). How about the American Civil Liberties Union? I think your parents rights were violated. I know mine were and we did not have it as bad with the JJS worker as you did with the PO.
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    This sounds wonderful. Is there any way you can track down the authors of the bills/laws/policies that you like?? send THEM specifically by name your letter with your intro letter telling who you are and that you would like them to know that their hard work is not panning out as they planned.
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yeah- but how do I track down an investigative reporter? Is there anything I can do other than call a tv station and ask if they have one?

    Budyy, our GA has committees within it that review laws pertaining to certain things- so, for instance, out of all the state senators and reps, there will be a committee from each side that review juvenile laws, then toward the end of the session, they will bring their decisions to 'the floor' where all of them are together to vote on proposed changes or new lawss. Now, there have also been outside committees, formed by various profs and citizens, to review the past years' costs, how effective things have been, make suggestions, etc,- this committee was 'hired' by last year's GA. That report will also be reviewed by the senate and reps' committees while they are reviewing it. Those reports from previous years are on the internet and I have read them. I don't have a problem with them- nor the strategic master plan that resulted from them. But as they refine and review this, they need to know where the loopholes are and why it isn't woorking. I'm not holding my breath that they'll listen to me but who knows how many other people might be starting to see it's the CSU on the local level that aren't doing what they should and no one is over-seeing it to make sure they do. KOI- they have closed every other loophole so it's the only thing I can see left. Even if it takes 2-3 years before they wake up, this is one seed planted, I hope.

    And if the state level Department of Juvenile Justice office knows that this has been sent to the GA, maybe it will convince them that they should look into what this PO/super are doing- or not doing.

    If nothing else, at least I know I've done all I can and like I said, it's therapuetic for me anyway.
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    So, I am thinking .... "KLMNO for congress!"
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Good luck!
    Good idea to point out the gap between local and state jurisdiction. That is something tangible that they can tackle.
    You are really helping other people. You know darn well that others have gone through the same idiocy that you have.
    Also, good idea to write the whole thing and then cut and paste what you need in the other letters. It will also help you to clarify your thought process.
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    thank you!

    Buddy- no way- I'd be in jail within a week. LOL!

    This state is primarily...well, I won't get political...let's just say the public here generally cares more about jobs than social issues and that's why the process is designed where lawyers, MH profs, judges, etc, get their experience in juvie courts- and seriously- they get a license or min requirements to get the job and they use juvie courts to train them. Then, when they have done the entry level stuff for a year or so, they become a super- so to me, it's the blind leading the blind.

    I actually found the legal docs that say the reason a GAL in this state has to be an attorney is because "they have been taught how to put a brief together and present it in court". OK- but where in there did they learn what was in the best interest of an at-risk youth...especially when these are typically people who are too young to be parents of a kid over 5 and have absolutely NO experience raising a difficult child? It's to give newly licensed attnys the courtroom experience. Only the bar and other lawyer organizations can nominate an attny for judgeship and all judgeships begin in juvie courts. Are you starting to see a pattern here? No way private attnys are going against this since many, if not most, got their start in their career by being a GAL and because if they have any aspirations of becoming a judge someday, it won't happen if they tic off other attnys.

    I can see the general public and legislators (who are of course mostly attnys voted in by the public) wouldn't give a koi- and that's how it ended up in this bad of shape- however, the past few years it's hurt their budget sooooo bad that they have had no choice but to look for a better solution. The state knows they can no longer afford to throw all these kids into Department of Juvenile Justice incarceration. A lot of that trnspired last year at the same time difficult child was first released with no services then recommitted- they actually said that the local gov had no funding to provide services so they were kicking difficult child back into Department of Juvenile Justice so he would be on the state budget.

    My son isn't their guinae pig to be trained on and I'm tired of him being a pawn in a war between the state and local govs and I'm tired of being the brunt of a head game and power trip of local CSU.

    I can point oout a lot of things stated in these gov reports that aren't being done. One- they are to have a collaborative approach that helps the family maintain employment and stability. Really? Did anyone tell the POs who have said they don't care what I say or if it costs me my job or not because it's all their choice, they will order whatever they want and any hardship it costs me is my problem? And this is how I'm treated when I try to see to it that my son is held accountable for committing an offense against me?
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    This would get my attention.... Keep this sentence.
  11. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Finding a local reporter .. Sometimes knowing someone who knows a good one works. Is there a parents group who wants your story. I was asked by NAMI to share our story with a reporter-newspaper however. We decided against it as we are not sure if we will end up in the sytem again. If we do, there is no way we will get help or respect after sharing the Koi we've been through. The local MH agency should have a parent advocate. In our case the parent advocate was also the NAMI group leader (this really isn't good). Sometimes these advocates know what parents like you have been through in the system and truelly want to change things, even if they are part of the sytem. Find out who has the county or state MH contract for services and get to their advocate. Can you get face time with a state officer-senator? I have done this before, on school issues. Sometimes these people have press connections. Just ideas.

    I think playing up parents' rights in this process and trained professionals is huge. The very needest children in the system need the most trained professional. Who is more needy and at risk than a kid with mental health issues who is being "served" in the juvenile justice system??? And by the way, why is that the solution?? To me it is like giving the most reading disabled kid to an instructional assistant instead of the trained teacher. Incarcerating a kid and exposing them to more troubled kids and not giving appropriate MH services is not going to turn the system around and stop kids from reaffending.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't really think I have time to do all that digging and research to find someone, exhausted- but it's a good thought.

    Buddy=- I don't actually have that sentence in the letter...well, yet anyway- I'll think about it and see if there is a way to make it obvious instead of saying "the emporer has no clothes on".

    Exhausted- as far as the MH and stuff- check this out- 2 years ago it became law that a kid coming out of Department of Juvenile Justice with MH treatment (as far as licensed therapist and/or psychiatrist) while in Department of Juvenile Justice, along with the typical behavioral counselor (not a MH prof), had to have a MH review (90 days prior to release)and plan put into place (30 days prior to release) by PO. OK- now how this plays out in reality:

    PO had the review mtg on Dec 28- approximately 45 days prior to release at which time he said since difficult child was going to group home and I said they would have to see to it therapist got paid for, difficult child was transported etc, because they were not releaseing him from Department of Juvenile Justice control, only the Department of Juvenile Justice facility, and returning him to my custody and I'm paying CS, they are now trying to claim that the GH staff (not MH profs) can take care of difficult child''s MH requirements. We'll see. The actual treatyment plan that should already be written out and set up by PO is supposed to be decided on at a mtg tomorrow- less than 22 days instead of 30 days prior to release. Still- nada in writing from PO.

    So that's what I mean as far as over the past few years, some of these things have become state policay and law but they aren't happening ITRW. The POs are still documenting things inaccurately (in my speculation only) in order to justify it but at some point, they'll have to address the fact that they can no longer afford to alienate parents. See, either I take care of difficult child;'s MH requirements meaning I'm going to have some say-so in who he sees, when appointment times are, etc, or they have to be noncompliant with the law, or they have to go explain to the county team why they need money for a therapist and transportation. So tomorrow we find out which one they are going to go with- however I don't know that it means too much to me until I see something in writing.

    Then though- on top of that- they can get a state employee to claim they are giving adequate counseling because of that dern exclusion in our law that state employees don't have to obtain the same MH license as everyone else in the world- a big one I want changed in the law. It does no good to require MH treatment if they are then going to allow a person who isn't a MH prof to provide it. It can actually do more damage to have an unqualified person trying to do this stuff- especially when it's an order to get it because every 'suggestion' by the counselor becomes a PO order.
  13. buddy

    buddy New Member

    LOL, I didn't think you did but I thought it would be a good one to use to introduce your points!
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    OK0- shewwww....I wrote up everything then copied it, tweaked it to a letter requesting review of juvenile laws and laws pertaining to juveniles committed to Department of Juvenile Justice (MH primarily), changed thed hx/current PO stuff to be an attachment for reference, added four addresses of people attending the GA (legislation session) and printed those 4 copies. They needed to get out ASAP. I bought large envelopes today, will address them while food is re-heating, then I can eat and go to bed and go to the post office tomorrow since I have to take 1/2 day off work to attend the MH treatment plan mtg tomorrow anyway- oh wait-I don't have to attend- PO gave me permission to attend. LOL! The regs say parent is to be involved. Period.

    After the mtg tomorrow, I can spend the remainder of the week catching up on other things- taking garbage out, sending difficult child a b-day card/letter, and tweaking this letter again for written complaints to state Department of Juvenile Justice, and other agencies that are supposedly there to protect our rights.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I just found out something interesting- the reason it's so hard to find out who to contact when it's a PO violating parental rights is because it's a criminal act due to their status as court officers. I was trying to find the right address for the fed Office of Civil rights and stumbled on the fed website for Dept of Justice, which has a civil rights section and subcategories under that. I called to get direction and the lady said my and my son's rights were being violated and the GH/re-entry program is mis-using fed funding, based on what I told her and she told me to send it to their criminal section and they would respond letting me know if they could investigate or if I needed to send it to state level for investigation. I'm sending it to both.

    The letters to the legislators went out this morning- honestly, I'm not expecting much from that because of the influence of voters in this state.