Is there a lock-in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for 17 yo?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by M0MTY, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. M0MTY

    M0MTY New Member

    Is it true you can make a teen go to treatment but they dont have to stay? My difficult child ran away from the center, and instead of locking him in to help him they sent him home and said they cant help him until he wants to be there and is willing to stay. Of course, it got worse, he gets arrested for possesion and the juvy center lets him out 4 hours later. However we left him there, which I am told was the smartest decision we made (I am still wondering that decision since it has been total hell since that day) the judge then sent him home under house arrest for us to handle again. I have talked to therapist, but they say he cant be helped unless he is ready. Well he may not be ready but I am, I am his mother, why cant I get him help because I want it and I know he needs it... Why if he is still under my care does he get to decide if he wants to get treated? I just need some advise on my next step. We do not have substance abuse insurance, most of the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) are so expensive and none that I know of, will force him to stay even if I am paying for it. Is there any other options for me? Everyone says to kick him out and let him hit rock bottom then he will want treatment... really this is the only option? He is my only child, and I am just suppose to throw him away? I feel I am the one being punished. HELP!!!

    Back Story: 17 yrs old, quit school and sports (was quarterback), wrecked 2 cars, received 3 speeding tickets, lies, steals from us, has punched holes in the walls and doors of his room.

    PS: They dropped the charges of possesion so I dont even have that to help me...
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Hi there! Welcome to the family.

    I'm glad you found us, and terribly sorry you had to.

    My daughter is in exactly the same position, only she's 16. We've done house arrest, probation, tried Residential Treatment Center (RTC) but they wouldn't hold her because she didn't want to stay.

    Different states have different rules. In Ohio, for example, an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) won't hold a kid over the age of 14 if they don't want to stay... Unless they're on probation. Then, the kid doesn't have a choice. But... Essentially, here, from age 14-18, the parents are required to care for the kid, but not allowed to DO anything.

    Basically, it's a Catch-22.

    What do you do when you discover a theft, or when he is punching holes in walls?
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.

    I'm no expert on 17yo fellows... but I've got a male teen difficult child of my own...
    Just wondering.
    Has anyone tried to get to the bottom of this from a different angle?
    I'm seeing signs of depression here.
    And in males - and even more so in non-adult mailes - depression often comes across as anger.

    No idea what resources you've already tried... but just wanted to toss that out there.
  4. M0MTY

    M0MTY New Member

    We have tried to punish him but he just ignores us or runs away. At first we made him contact the store that he used the card on and tell them what he did, but that did not accomplish anything. He is so far gone, he cannot be talked to or rationalized with, the holes are still there (about 9 months now) we leave them as a reminder what he did. I dont think we are fixing any of them till he moves out.
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    OK... Let me tell you what we did.

    Every time Onyxx got violent - we called the cops (many, many times).
    When she stole drugs - we called the cops.
    When she attacked a teacher - the school called the cops (this happened more than once).
    When she ran away - we called the cops.
    When the cops caught her in a vacant, locked house, stoned, with a male friend? They called us. And filed charges.

    She inevitably gets a slap on the hand. Probation. House arrest was a joke - it was horrible for the rest of the family.

    But... When she ran? We refused to let her come back. That was awful, but it has been the best thing we ever did. She went to a teen shelter, then to foster care. It's expensive... But she knows she has nowhere else to go. And my stress levels have dropped immensely. I love her, but I refuse to be a victim in my own home.

    How long till he is 18?
  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Most states have different ages of consent for psychiatric treatment. Here in IL, it's the ripe old age of 13 (I think - might be 12 - ridiculous in either case). Which means.... a minor child that you are legally responsible for can refuse any and all psychiatric treatment. Talk about a rock and a hard place... Here in IL, RTCs cannot be locked down, period.

    I can only second Step's advice to call police for any violence, property damage, breaking curfew, terroristic threats, etc. I would also steel yourself for the ordeal of kicking him out (some jurisdictions require you actually legally evict an adult child - best to check on that now), and I would also make it very clear to him that unless he gets his act together, at 18 it will be "Happy birthday, honey, and here's your bags."

    Obviously, remove any access he has to money, cars, etc. You are required to provide basic needs - food, shelter, clothing (your choice, not his). Anything else is gravy. If you still have valuables left in the home, lock them up.

    The cold hard fact is that until he is willing and committed to getting treatment, you can do absolutely *nothing* to help him. It will tear your heart out.

    My son was in RTCs from age 9 to 18. At 18, we refused to let him come home. At 18-1/2, we begged him to - he lasted 36 hours. Basically was homeless/couch surfing from 18 to 20. Horrible *horrible* years. At 20, the light came on for him (kinda). He's been home since June, not in treatment but not using (to my eye anyway), follows rules, got his GED, in college now. But he had to hit rock bottom, and he did... hard. Darn near killed me to watch, but I had to remember that if I could have "fixed" him, it would've been done a loooong time ago.

    Hang in there.
  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Oh Gosh I feel for you..... I agree with others call the police each and every time he does something like steal from you. It will take a while but they will get to know him, if you are lucky they will refer you to resources in your area, and sometimes getting involved in the court system is the only way to get the message across.

    I agree that until they want help there is not a whole lot you can do to make them get help. RTCs can help but they only do so much if the kid does not truly want help. We sent my son to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) when he was 15-16... it did help for awhile but eventually he went back to his old ways.

    There is a blessing with them turning 18 because then you are no longer legally responsible for them. We kicked my son out when he was 18 and have been through various stages of things since then. He is now 20, in a rehab and for the first time is seeking help at his own request. My hope is that fact will make a difference and maybe he will really get help this time.

    He only got there because he reached bottom though, if he was still living at home doing the same old stuff he would not be getting help and the rest of us would be totally miserable.

    So my suggestion is to call the police when he does something. Don't give him money since you know he is using drugs. Don't let him use the car. Try not to get into a lot of conflicts with him... at this point he has to start to make his own way. And let him know when he is 18 he needs to be doing something productive with his life or move out.

    I know it is the hardest thing in the world to kick your son out but sometimes it is also the most loving thing you can do.

    You are in the right place. A lot of us here have been right where you are.

  8. M0MTY

    M0MTY New Member

    Thank you to all of you... Your warm hearts and advise have been very inspiring. I understand that the only way to help is to kick him out. I think I can do it.. but am I legally responsible for him in the eyes of the law? Can I get in trouble if he does something criminal or worse and liable for his actions?

    I am trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am doing this for his own good and my peace of mind, but he is my "only child" and it is tearing me apart. If my husband was not here I have no idea how I would handle this, since over the last few months I have lost most of my friends because of my gfc problems.

    Thank you for being here for me, this has been the best thing I have found where I can actually talk and people understand.
  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I think you need to check the laws in your state. In most states I think you are responsible for him until he is 18. How long until he turns 18? Also if you can find an alanon meeting, especially ones for parents that might be really helpful. Also I think getting to the point of being able to kick him out is a process. I know we did not get there overnight, it took a series of events. I think before you do anything you should check the laws in your state... you may also want to call the juvenile court and see if they give you any ideas or options. That depends a whole lot on who you get and what that department is like.... we have one near us that is pretty good but some of them are not helpful. You might also call your local police and ask if they have any suggestions. Hang in there... and know you are getting ready to take steps but you don't have to rush into it.

  10. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Welcome and so sorry you have to be here. It's a good place-I often find comfort here. In Utah there are RTCs that are locked or secure and keep kids until 18. At 18 they can choose to walk away. They are expensive. We had our daughter at a private Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for over 16 months. She came out worse than ever. We had to get state help next and reported everything we could-running (which was constant and to avoid our consequences), truency etc. The state Residential Treatment Center (RTC) was even worse and the experience with the state horrid. She was worse yet.

    I agree-they have to want help. Our daughter is now 17 and we are again trying to make a decision of placement. I think we are hovering around, "She has had all kinds of help and intervention. We love her and provide a strong home. We have a whole year (as she just turned 17) and then, she will be told to leave unless she is in college or has a good job and can pay rent." We have had 2 good weeks-no running or beligerant behavior. Who knows next week, we may want her out of here. This is how it goes with mental illness.

    I do agree that depression is a big possibility with your boy-anger is the red flag. Calling the police is smart. when he hits 18, many of things he has done will land him in jail. The adult system does not try to help and he may come out worse. Maybe a longer stay in detention might work. (It didn't phase our girl, but some kids it does)

    RTCs can sometimes get through to them. Our daughter has had some benefit. As someone told me, it might be worth sending him just to give you peace. Churches often help with funding. Also, United Way has some male programs, at least in Utah. Some of the places out here have low interest "education" loans to help cover costs.

    Good luck. I feel your pain and know what your heart is going through. And, as I have been advised, only you know what is right for your family. I always think about how I will feel down the road if the worst happens and if the best happens. It helps me think through these choices. One day at a time. Hugs!
  11. thomasc

    thomasc New Member

    You can't kick him out until he's 18. Like everyone has explained to you, there's no helping him until he wants to help himself. I joined this forum because I was in an abusive "Lock-in" Residential Treatment Center (RTC) when I was underage and hope I can prevent someone else from making the same mistake my parents did. If the teen has to be coerced into staying, the "treatment" will also involve coercion (psychological abuse), and violence or the threat of violence will be used deter them from attempting an escape. This is extremely commonplace (I would even go far as to say the norm) in American "boot camps" and "wilderness camps". I don't know what the answer to your problems with your son is but I know that NOBODY belongs in that kind of Residential Treatment Center (RTC), and it will only make whatever problems he has now exponentially worse when he loses any remaining respect for adults and has a grudge against you for putting him through hell.
  12. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    thomasc, help me understand your point: if a difficult child is, let us say, punching holes in walls, brutalizing parents, stealing their money, and so on, you're arguing that his parents should not send him away to a lock-in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) because he will be taken away coercively, and held there coercively, and the concern should be that he might "lose any remaining respect for adults and have a grudge against them" for "putting him through hell"? I am seriously trying to understand this: he does all of this at home and yet should not be sent away to a lock-in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) because he might be coerced to stay there and then feel angry when he comes home? What about accountability? What about his agency in terms of putting his parents in so bad a situation that this is the best option remaining to them, for their own and their other childrens' safety? What about concern for the parents and their other children and their property and belongings? Accountability flows both ways. What about what the difficult child did to put his parents in this situation in the first place? Should they just let him stay at home and keep doing this, out of fear that he might return more angry than he left? That doesn't seem reasonable at all. I appreciate the experience that you evidently had in such a Residential Treatment Center (RTC), but what about the parents and the limited options that they had available to them? And what about the difficult child's accountability for getting himself into that situation in the first place? These parents are just trying to protect themselves, their children, and their property. You've got to respect their dire situation that brought them to the difficult position of sending their difficult child away in the first place.
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911

    There is such a thing as a locked psychiatric facility. Many RTCs are 'considered' locked, but some are split. One we took Dude to in Southern SC, was such a place. They had a normal locked Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that was locked meaning they could not leave by their own volition, however a parent could sign them out AMA (against medical advice). Then there was the locked portion of the facility where children were basically court ordered and the wing was 'considered' locked down. The kids there were what was considered dangerous to themselves and others, not a good place for anyone to be.

    Be careful what you ask for however. If you ask for a court-ordered locked down facility and decide later that you want to pull your child out it WILL TAKE a court order to get him out. You can't simply AMA him. FYI. A judge puts him in? A judges orders had to take him out.
  14. thomasc

    thomasc New Member

    What I'm trying to explain is that physical and psychological abuse are necessary in that kind of environment to keep the kids in line. Whatever the kid has done he's still a human being, and every "lock-in" Residential Treatment Center (RTC) I've ever heard of has violated kids' human rights in order to turn a profit. Whatever justifications a kid has for acting out in his teen years, will all be proven correct in such a setting. It doesn't help development it either retards it or makes the problem worse. The only outcome such a program is capable of delivering is a child so traumatized he doesn't act out or see his old friends anymore because he's afraid to do anything at all. You don't know how hard it is to start any kind of life on your own after you've been in such a setting which is really comparable to a POW camp or similar.
  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Thomasc - Sounds like you had a very difficult experience and I am sorry you went through that. However you are making great generalizations that are probably not true for everyone. I have no idea of the details of your situation or the place you went to. My guess is that your parents were doing what they thought was best at the time.

    I know that is true for us, we did what we thought was right when we sent our son to Wilderness and then to a TBS. He went to wilderness willingly and got a lot out of it.... he was angry about going to the TBS and is probably still angry with us for sending him there. I really don't know anymore if it was the right or wrong thing. It certainly did not solve all his problems but it sure helped when he first came back and then he did go back to using drugs which sent him down a terrible path. He is having to learn some hard truths now several years later. However I also think if we had not done it he might very well be dead by now so it is really hard to know. We had done all we could do at that point... and it gave him a year without serioius drug use and it also gave some much needed space to my daughter who needed to live in a house without all the chaos and trauma that was living with my son.

    I think there are a lot of differences between different TBS's... and I do think you need to be careful when generalizing.

  16. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member

    Thomasc, I vehemently disagree. My son was placed in a secure (locked) dual-diagnostic (psychiatric and substance abuse) long-term residential facility after his 17th birthday. I have nothing but GREAT things to say about it. There were different groups for different needs, but my son's group occupied one hallway of a building, which was locked off from the rest. There were 12 boys living there with two social workers available pretty much 24/7. They lived together and were assigned chores weekly and had their AA/NA meetings there, individual and group open talks, and even attended school right on the grounds. It made the boys hold each other accountable. As they moved up, some were given permission to get jobs, some attended the local public school, etc. However, they were expected to return afterwards. One time two boys tried to take off, were caught, and quite honestly, were held accountable by the boys even more than those running the program. It makes them want to do the right thing, as they don't want to disappoint the group.

    At no time was my son ever physically abused or had food withheld or any other such thing.

    There are good programs out there, just as there are bad programs. You just have to search and search and sometimes it takes a time or two before finding just the right program and the right fit.

  17. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member

    Momty, first of all - big hugs. What you're going through sounds a lot like what we went through with our son. I was able to sign our son in against his will at age 14 - more of a psychiatric type facility. I can still remember him yelling, "I hate you" as the door closed. He was there about 4 or 5 months. It was not an ideal situation, but he was running away and smoking pot and not going to school. It was the best we could do under the circumstances.

    He did well for a few years, but after a really bad bout with drugs, was arrested the night he was released from a 12 day stay at a rehab. Obviously he was not ready to be released, and although we begged them to keep him until we could secure a long term residential facility, they thought he would be fine to come home in between. Not.

    Our son knew he was out of options. He would have been jailed had he not "voluntarily" agreed to go into a program. So, to say he was agreeable to signing himself in is a stretch, but he did sign the papers. It was a locked facility so he really couldn't leave, and knew the courts would know if he left the program and probably force the jail term.

    As I mentioned above, it really was a great program. Although he ended up struggling with alcohol years later, he never did go back to the drugging that led to his breaking the law and going into the long-term residential. He will even admit now (though back then he would have disagreed) that it was a great program and probably saved his life.

    He's now working the AA program due to the alcohol, and in January it will be two years completely sober for him.

    It can be done, but it is a LONG road - heartbreaking at times. At some point, they have to want the help and to get better.

    Hugs to you and my heart goes out to you. It's so tough to watch your child self-destructing.