Just walk away???

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by JJJ, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I have had several people tell me over the last few weeks that for many kids in these long-term RTCs, their parents just drop them off and leave. That they do not participate in treatment, talk to their kid on the phone, or acknowledge the child's existence in anyway other than filling out the forms for continued funding.

    While I have had daydreams of doing that, I cannot imagine actually doing it. I can understand placing a child permenantly outside your home, but I can't understand not at least making sure that they are getting treatment and education, not telling them that you still have hope that they will get better (even on the days when you have no hope).
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    They just walk away?

    Onyxx isn't even technically mine (even legally) and I couldn't do that.
  3. I couldn't either.

    When I researched some Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s for our daughter I was surprised that some of them only allowed communication by phone or visit after my daughter should have made some progress in their level system. Well, Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is out of the picture right now, but even if it was necessary I would avoid those where I couldn't talk to her within a month. Coming to think about it not even a month would be acceptable.

    I remember a book by some Marcus person about a school up north where 5 teenager were followed during their 15 months there. While they did not allow parents to hire a transport company to come with the children, some parents hired the transport firm to drop the child just outside the campus and then the parents dragged the child the rest of the way onto campus so the staff could take it from there.

    I also got a mail from former employee from our local now-closed Residential Treatment Center (RTC). They seemed to have raided yet another special school in Costa Rica which shared the same owners as our local Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Some parents said that they were surprised to see the standard because it was nothing compared with the brochures. Did they not visit the Residential Treatment Center (RTC)/school before they enrolled their child? They claimed that it was the only option they could find on the Internet. How long did they use? I visited at least 3 places and still did not find the right place. We took a weekend boot camp instead and followed up with parenting classes. Well some problems remain but we can manage.

    Reality is that there are a lot of places which are in the market for profit and you have to be very alert. It doesn't help our children if a place is too relaxed and it certainly doesn't help our children if a place just want to break our children and then leave it with this.

    I have heard tons of stories about Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s not working. I have heard just as many stories about cases where nothing was done and life in prison or death became the result. There is no answer for everybody, but to claim that I don't care as a parent it is just wrong.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I haven't done Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s but sadly I have done a number of substance abuse residential programs. Only at the last one was there full parental involvement. At the early ones parents rarely showed...and alot of the kids did not have parents and were sent by the system. It seemed to be a difference in the socio-economic status. Very sad. DDD
  5. Jena

    Jena New Member

    that was like our first hospital. they wouldnt' allow us to see difficult child, or talk on phone if she didn't eat. meanwhile no one was helping her to eat. they just put her infront of food for ten hours straight and she was so medicated she didnt' even know who i was when i walked in and had enough and ripped her out of there after attacking entire staff politely.

    was the scariest thing i've ever had to do. was drop her at 11 years old, walk away and get in my truck and leave. damn it's been a hard year lol.......
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    difficult child 1's bio parents both walked away from him, for all intents and purposes. And bio dad has left Wee... If it weren't for his whacko girlfriend, we'd never hear from him.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I don't think we have Residential Treatment Center (RTC) as such in Australia. Undoubtedly if I searched, I could find some sort of placement for problem kids, but apart from a locked psychiatric ward, there isn't a lot of options. We could send kid to a jackeroo/jillaroo placement, a sort of wilderness camp/world's strictest parents placement. But nothing formal to my knowledge.

    Where money can be made, there is always scope for exploitation. I used to work for a mob who had financial interests in nursing homes. I got to see their business practices. They have a bad rep, and I could see why. The main motive was money, not the welfare of residents.

    As for parents walking away - some placements won't allow contact. I'm including nursing homes here - my mother was in a place like that, it was church-bsed, supposed to be brilliant. We had a really hard time getting to see her - two of my sisters and one brother managed to visit her regularly, but the place made it very difficult, kept them waiting literally for hours. Then when we complained (after she died) they saidf, "What would you know? Nobody evr visited her here." Which was not true, but clearly their standard line, because tey did their utmost to prvent visits.

    My mother was there a month, got pneumonia because of their almost deliberate neglect. She was transferred to hospital (when my sister visited and called an ambulance) and given the choice there to fight the pneumonia or let it take her. She chose to fight - she also planned to fight the nursing home. Then she was told tat when she recovered, they had no choice but to transfer her back to the same nursing home. She said at that point, "Take me off my heart medications. Let me die. I will not go back there." She was not speaking out of depression, she was making a proactive stand. She died a week later, in the hospital.

    So I am VERY down on ANY business int he health industry that does not put the patient welfare as a highest priority.

    FWIW, I started complaint proceedings. And when it was clear that nothing was going to be done within the organisation, I sent the Dept of Health in to make a snap inspection. My connection with the nursing home company had given me some connections as well as knowledge of who to call. I believe they have now lifted their game.

  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I know I couldn't do that. No matter how bad they were. I'd at least have to check on them occasionally.

    I do know that when Nichole was admitted to psychiatric hospital that we were the only parents I ever saw visit her unit. And it wasn't just husband and I, but the whole family went to visit, including her boyfriend. Staff was stunned, but very very pleased to see it. Even Aubrey was allowed in. And they gave us extra time because Aubrey was a newborn and I told them I was concerned that maternal/newborn bond might not form correctly. They gave us a very long time to visit each day scheduling it between things they had her doing. I know from Nichole herself, that we all showed up to support her during that time, made a huge impact on her.

    If we didn't visit........I could see her feeling very abandoned. How could any parent risk that? Even if the visits can't be frequent? I'm not one of them for sure.

    Not to mention the whole monitoring their progress, is the treatment plan working.......are they treating my kid right things.
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I've often wondered about this...

    I've seen it at the local phosps here. Kid gets admitted - parents don't even call, much less visit or come to group therapy sessions. psychiatrists note "poor family support"....DCFS steps in....child gets placed.

    What did we do? Called every noon. Visited every eveing. Attended every group session. psychiatrists noted "good family support"...child gets discharged to home with instructions "Keep doing what you're doing". The end.

    I've often wondered if those "neglectful" parents were on to something...

    Whereas us "supportive parents" seem to get the shaft.
  10. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    amen, df! I've seen the same at school. Mallory, for instance? Never sent home. Parents are also barely involved...
  11. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Yep. We were told that DCFS did not want to help us because they knew that if they refused, that we would continue to do our best. We had to say "we will disrupt this placement if you do not help us" and not blink while telling the lie in order to get the emergency funding we needed.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    noticed that same thing when Cory wasin his various placements. Not so much with phosps but group homes and the Residential Treatment Center (RTC). The wilderness camp had most of the parents involved through parenting classes twice a month and we all met with the kids at the main dining hall every 5 weeks for a meal before we took them home for their visit.

    at his group homes it was like they didnt know know how to deal with a kid who had a parent who still had custody and still was involved with the kid. either they would call me for every stupid thing like he needed a bandaid for a splinter but they didnt call me when he went in the hospital when his depakote levels were toxic, ugh! they got all confused when I would bring treats for all the boys., It was like they had never had a parent be nice before.
  13. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Maybe we're all just control freaks?

    No, I think a lot of people just cannot handle the reality of day to day life with a difficult child and it's easier for them to abandon them and rationalize it than it is to struggle with the hard choices and daily work.

    And some people really do have too much on their plate and this is the best they can do. If I was a single parent with several kids, more than one was a difficult child or disabled with an elderly parent to care for and no or little education? I simply could not do what I am doing now for my kids and placing one of them in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and making sure the papers were filled out - that might be the best that I could do.

    But I know what you mean. I remember with our difficult child 1 how so many people told us we were saints and we had gone above and beyond for him when most people would have abandoned him. We just couldn't imagine doing that to our son. Neither of us could have lived with ourselves if we had abandoned him that way.
  14. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I've heard this, too - people who don't even know the whole story have said I am a saint or an angel - nope, just me, doing what I have to!

    Interesting... I'm glad it's not just me.

    Walk away? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That would constitute giving up on my kids. And I won't.
  15. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    The reality of some of these poor kids is that if the parent doesn't walk away he/she cannot get help. It's a sad commentary on mental health care needs & costs in this country. The lack of support & the social stigma that haunts us daily.

    husband & I have "walked" from wm & faced child abandonment ~ there were no legal charges brought against us & we found help. Saying that, the tweedles are kids adopted from foster care as a sibling group with special needs. There was a binding contract yet the powers that be have always tried to scare the bejeebers out of husband & myself. We learned quickly.
  16. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    We've had Dude in several (sadly) Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s etc. here in SC, and yes...the numbers of parents that 'dump and party' are ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Matter of fact, truth be known - we (DF and I) were one of a VERY few, and select number of Mother and Father parents that were actually considered a P.I.T.A. - can you believe that? Even overheard the staff call us that on three known occasions with our own ears. Why? Oh several reasons. One? Because their staff couldn't 'do as they pleased', we held them accountable for the behavioral program we all outlined, they had to live up to their GOALS (OMG I am nearly so sick of that word I could puke) - because the follow through in nearly non-existant. We would pick Dude up once a week and DRIVE him to therapy 20 miles away and did they EVER have him ready? No. Taking a child off campus required so many BS things - written pass from the campus director, house mother, blah blah blah - and 1/2 the time when we got there? They were in crisis over being understaffed and chasing down one to two runaways. It was ludicrous. I can tell you stories about Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s here in SC that are so benign it would curl the straightest hair - hence the fact that I am a PITA. I also had Dude removed from three placements AMA, and never sued.

    But while in their care? So many things happened that WE ACTUALLY QUESTIONED. Concussions, broken bones, chokings, stolen items, staff quitting, non-compliance, running away. I mean I sound like I am painting a VERY bleak picture here, and perhaps in a way here in SC I am, because Residential Treatment Center (RTC) didn't help us in hind sight, it gave US (DF and I a needed break) but we did what we were told by the 'professionals'. Thinking - THINKING it was the best thing at the time for Dude. Each and every placement was BETTER than the last one, we were promised by the state. Finally when we said NO MORE. They offered foster care. Fact was - No way could Dude live at home. He needed a contained environment. He was dangerous, and destructive. Without Residential Treatment Center (RTC) he would probably be in prison or dead. So it did serve a purpose.

    Sadly - each time we would pick him up - which was three times a week when he was here in town, and at least once a week out of town - when therapy agreed to it. The kids would just latch on to us. Beg you to stay, could we play - do something? When Dude got older? We were still PITA parents, but by then most kids are teens and don't WANT parents around and are GLAD no be off in their cliques. Still Dude would tell us no ones parents came once a week - no ones. Some hadn't seen their parents in months. So maybe in retrospect at LEAST going every chance we were allowed? Left him knowing "We WERE there for him...even when I felt so guilty I couldn't stand it, and cried so often when I left it made me sick." I HATED those times. So did DF - he really was at a loss for what to do for me. Some days I was inconsolable. Some days I left knowing I did the best thing I could, but that's hard you know. Nothing ever seemed right even if it was. You're a parent, those are our kids - you certainly didn't have them to leave them with someone else - you want them well, you want them at home.

    So yeah J3, it's amazing to me how parents just drop them off there - I can get a little bit of it - Especially if the parents arent' getting any help, therapy or anything or are told to get therapy and refuse with a closed mind thinking - It's not me - it's them. Well, yeah - partly right, but what happens when the kid comes home? You couldn't parent her/him then - what happens later? You need a coach, support - who do you turn to then? We went as often as we could, we WANTED our family to work. Apparently and hopefully all our hard work will pay off. It's a gamble, but I'd way rather know the work I did, in therapy for myself, and family - was tried...than not, and that we visited and worked with staff at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) - and showed Dude we were trying. He'll remember that. I know he will. So will those kids that have NO support and NO family visits. Some times it's impossible - and for us when it was to get there? We did phone conferences.

    We even took extra stuff on visits for other kids too - books, paper, pens, clothes - Dude would tell us who had nothing, and no one - and we'd do what we could - it meant a lot believe it or not to those kids. We never got to see them beacuse of HIPA - but a little love goes a long way in a scary place when you're all alone.

    You have a great heart to recognize this with the other kids. You're a WONDERFUL MOM. My hugs, loves and prayers are with Kanga as always.

  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I hate to even think this, but I think the "drop and disappear" parents are the norm. Partly because many of the kids who have these problems maybe didn't have them before they were exposed to drugs pre or post birth, and because their parents have similar problems. But even when the parents are not sub abusers, or don 't have the problems the child does, many parents just don't seem to be there for any child who has problems. I have heard parents tell second and third graders that if they keep "being bad" that the parents won't come to school anymore and will stop talking to the teachers and just let the child deal with it all alone. It is unbelievable, but I have seen it happen.

    When Wiz was in the psychiatric hospital for 4 months the doctor had been working there for at least 5 yrs. He spent about 12 hrs a week there and was paid like it was a full time job. Saw each kid for maybe 5 min, approved whatever medication changes the nurses and therapist wanted, and one morning a week had "staffing" where he and the staff would sit and talk about each kid for a max of 10 min. He NEVER saw parents and did NOT want to see them. Actually told me that parents were a real nuisance and shouldn't be involved in the process. I told him that I disagreed because I know my child and he hasn't even spent an hour with him, so I WOULD be consulted on ALL decisions or I would file so many complaints and lawsuits that he would be spending the rest of his life fighting them. This was about 4 weeks in when he had made NO progress with Wiz and tried to tell me that I either imagined the problems or caused them because my son had no problems as long as I was gone. He had the cajones to suggest that my child would be better off if the family, esp husband and I, were not part of his life anymore. I told him that he had no business working with kids if he believed that. He also hated that I brought reference books like The Bipolar Chld when he wanted to rx medications for that. I had the NERVE to pull the book open to the page where it outlines the medical board's medication protocol and tell him that IF we were going to diagnosis that we were going to follow this and NOT put him on two SSRI medications, a stimulant and an atypical antipsychotic all at once, because the first 3 medications would make him cycle if he was truly bipolar.

    There was one other family who was there for weekend visits, and one dad who's child was in the little kid wing (kids age 4-11). That was all of the parents I ever saw there. The dad and I had group on the same morning so we would pass info about whatever the diagnosis of the week his kid had. I also let him know about the early morning "staffing" where the psychiatrist was present. This place had the policy that parents NEVER EVER met with the psychiatrist. You told the therapist your concerns and they were passed on if they were remembered. I gave our therapist lists which she really appreciated. I even gave her a special pad of paper that was pretty to put notes from her talks with other parents on. She had been trying to make and keep notes as she talked to parents, but the only paper supplied to her was already printed on one side and was cut into corners. She literally had to buy her own notebooks and pens and she had a tight budget of her own.

    One of us was there for every therapy meeting, usually me because husband was in school and teaching 2 classes, on the weekends we were there for at least one of the visiting days (3-4 hours on both Sat and Sun). Once he could have visitors on one night during the week we made sure that if he was told someone would be there that someone was. My parents kept promising to go and then not going, it was a major problem with the mid-week visits. He really saw how my parents promised a lot and didn't come through on his own, something we had been trying to deal with for a long time. they tried but had a lot going on with my gfgbro and his then wife and my mom was starting a nervous breakdown. Dad just has serious social anxiety and it was winning with him at that point - and of course he refuses to even discuss it with anyone, ever - then and now.

    I was floored at the "games" and activities the psychiatric hospital provided. They never had all the pieces. None of the tape recorders worked although we were told they provided "music therapy" with calming music, often classical, that was provided via old walkmans with headphones that didn't work. My dad had a dozen walkmans that he had either taken from students over the years or that he had been given because they were broken and he had repaired them. He paid for a couple dozen pairs of the cheap $1 headphones at walmart and donated those with a couple of big packs of batteries from Sams. The hospital was ecstatic to get these. Then I came in with three big boxes of books to share with both wings - they hadn't gotten new books there in over 5 years and the ones they had were all missing pages or whole chapters. These were mostly things I weeded out of my kids' shelves because yes, my kids had/have that many books. they just always did because we are all insane bibliophiles. Heck, Wiz had 1000 books on his shelves, most that he had actually read or had read to him, by age 2.

    I didn't do anything that I thought was over the top or majorly out of line. I did what we did for all the kids' teachers. I even took a cake to the staff several times when I knew they had been having a rougher week than usual. Apparently no parent had EVER done this, or donated books or games. I even got a couple of businesses here to give me games that were on clearance (board, not video) as a donation to the palce - something that brought the therapist to tears because she kept trying to play games iwth the kids to help with ideas like tkaing turns, being a good winner and loser, etc... but no game had enough pieces to paly with even 2 people.

    I don't know why these things are not normal for all parents to do. I know my parents did similar things for my teachers when I was a kid. heck, my dad did a carpentry project with my class every year in elem school. One year he and 2 other dads built a reading loft in a classroom. In first grade we built a beautiful cabinet to hold the headphones for one of our centers. That year the principal gave our grade the brand new headphones that were ordered because we had a place to take good care of them. Other years we built a picnic table, benches, just any project that the teacher thought would be nice to have. By "we" I mean my dad had every single student in the class (usually in the entire grade) work on helping to sand, assemble, stain and finish the item.

    What is up with the world that parents are willing and able to just walk away? What is going on that parents who walk away have kids that get the help when those of us who literally bust our tails and spend lots of $$ we don't have cannot even get an hour a week respite care??? Something is really WRONG with this situation, in my opinion.

    I really think that as a nation, the US needs to start paying parents to be professional parents. Give a monthly amount that can support a parent and child and then have the parent be responsible for actually raising the child. For getting the well checks, the medical care that is needed, taking the kid to the park, getting them to school, supporting the teachers, coaches, etc... and generally just be a responsible, present parent. I doubt it will happen in the near future, but I can dream.
  18. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    See, Susie, my parents didn't do stuff like this a LOT - but it was done. Mom would make sure if I needed to take something for a class party, that it was made the night before. On rare occasions, when she could get off work, she would come in. It didn't happen much simply because Dad was out of town, Mom was pretty much a single parent. And Dad, when he WAS in town, would do stuff - but again, not a LOT.

    So I do try to be there for my kids' stuff. Not as much as before - I have no PTO left from court, Onyxx, etc. - but I will try.

    Though when Jett asked me this morning for "a lima bean" because he needed it for class, I kind of was put out. He has known about this for a WEEK, needs it today and doesn't ask till I am on my way out the door. Natural consequences, kid.
  19. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I'm dreaming right along with you. If I could be a stay at home mom, and we could survive, I would love it.
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Move to Australia. Or better yet, encourage your congressmen to check out how our system works. There are problems - it needs to be policed better, but in general we do not struggle half as hard financially, it seems to me. Maybe we make do with less - but I don't think so. Maybe our lives are more regulated by the government because of the accountability required of us. But in general we are okay with this because it is worth it. Our welfare system is far more than just welfare. It also cross-connects our tax file numbers with our social security file numbers with our nationalised health insurance (Medicare) numbers. Because what you want requires that level of "Big Brother" in order to work without being exploited, I suspect that is the stumbling block for you. What people in the US (especially loud politicians who don't like change or personal accountability) perceive as invasive, is not invasive at all if you do not try to cheat.

    As it should be. But the trouble is, scare tactics prevent some good stuff being passed. And the rest of the world watches the US, and ask why such an amazing country is still struggling in this area or that.

    I hope I haven't offended anyone with my bluntness - I know it's not you guys, it's the whole system. Also, it's perhaps all very well for me to feel smug about our system but we are a smaller population and to put our system (or something like it) in place in the US would initially be costly. A "courageous" political decision, which is political speak for "how to lose the next election".