Need help - how to pay for Residential Treatment Center (RTC)?!?!?!?

Well, somehow we are back to square one. We worked out the way to get my son into the 24/7 program at a wonderful (really) boarding school in the mid-west (we are in CA) and are barely getting by paying for it... Now, we have gotten the heart-breaking news than Nathan is now exhibiting Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) behavior... seems he is way over his head obsessing about the distance...that I'm going to DIE while he is gone...and after talking with him over the phone, he is extremely depressed to the point of suicidal again. (No joke, he doesn't talk about it - he just acts. Like trying to jump out of our car on they freeway going 55 mph. - this was the first time at six yrs. old.)

The counselor there thinks that she can get him through the end of this school year if he has something to work toward, like coming back to CA to a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) as a "working step" toward coming home. I am all for it but I am OVERWHELMED at the costs and lack of facilities here in my area. (We are in a small town of 25,000.)

I have talked to an atty. about helping us get the school to pay a portion of educational expenses, but he says that they (the local district) has been very effective at dodging their responsibilities, even though it is VERY obvious they don't have the resources to help my son. My insurance doesn't seem to offer this type of coverage and we are already at our wit's end trying to cover the current $1,100/mo. tutition PLUS additional mo. expenses of $300.

I have talked to county mental health here and they only offer counseling after we hand over half of our rights to CPS. Our psychiatrist says this should be a LAST RESORT because once CPS gets their hands in the pie - you can't get them out. He is not ready to come home as his has twice physically assaulted me, and due to my illness, I am not able to watch out for him and watch over him in the way he needs.

PLEASE respond if you have experience getting school, insurance, social services or ??? to cooperate. I JUST :-( want to make sure he is safe, getting the therapy he needs and the structured environment he requires. CA is such a big state with- so much $$$$, how can it look so bleak?

Do I have to live in the same county where he receives treatment? There seems to be some question as to whether a larger county might provide better services, but we are really tied to living where we are.

I have so many more questions, especially quality of care, but right now the most pressing issue is how to begin? I appreciate your assistance in advance. Thanks for all your continuing support.


12yr old ADHD, ODD, new diag Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

wonderful husband of 4 yrs/ how does he do it?
i'm just hanging on and i birthed my little darling!

sent to military school last Sept. before he got into real trouble.
now with anxieties due to distance, my illness (lupus & possible MS) he is not coping well. Advised now to get him OUT of military school and INTO RDC.

Favorite quote: (attributed to Dorothy Parker) "What new fresh hell is this?"

I wish I had some information for you...We are just beginning to get a glimmer that our grandson may have to have this type of help...I have asked a man who runs a Christian "ranch" called Operation Rebirth...and he offered some names of places which may
point us in the right direction for getting "ground work" information. As you pointed out..finding places close is not easy. I wish there were a book with names of Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s, costs, and ways of getting financial assistance....After all the medical costs that ins. won't pay the debts are sky high already...most of us aren't wealthy starting out...and after several years of psychiatrist, psychologist, and counselors, etc...and insurance that has hoops and loops...we are ready for some miracle to help us out of the deep financial black hole we're in
....sorry...but, your plea for help is like out plea and so many others...
If someone out there knows of a resource list of Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s-descriptions and costs and locations- and if anyone knows of resource information about assistance for Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s...please get it on the boards!!! I may have missed all this...

I hope that things will settle down a bit for you, and that you can find time to care for yourself....

Cat-55yrs. old; married to husband 36 yrs. 32 yr.old son (un-diagnosis'd ADHD); 31 yr.old twin daughters; 8 yr.old difficult child grandson - ADHD/ODD suspected Bi-Polar and seizure disorder, currently taking Adderall, Depakote, Clonidine, Zyprexa.His loving side is a joy..his oppositional/defiant side does not diminish that joy's memory. 7yr.old easy child granddaughter; 3 yr.old easy child grandson...these 3 and their Mom live with us. 2 yr.old easy child granddaughter lives with her parents (our other daughter,husband) too far away.
There's a thin line between patience and stupidity.


Former desparate mom
Hi Dawn,
I want to point out that if difficult child is truely Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that returning to your home or nearby won't change it. He may need medications which seems to help Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He will just find something else to obsess about.
There a couple of emotional growth boarding schools in Ca. I don't know what sort of program you are looking for or if there is appropriate placement closer to home. Try Lon Woodbury s' site. Some of the schools have scholarship aid or low interest loans. I haven't figured out a painless(financially) way to do this. Good luck. Fran

fran, mom to 15yr male difficult child and a 10yr male easy child. Married to husband for 18yrs.

Hi I am jumping into the middle of this since I have not been on the board for a long time until today. Our son is in residential. First, if your son is under an IEP in CA, did the school disrict provide your son an educational alternatives? Give me a few details to work with. If the district could not provide an education to your son why are you ending up paying for his private school placement?

Nancy vt

Dear Dawn: You have been given dramatically wrong information. In California between your IEP and your county mental health department you have access to 100 % coverage for residential treatment. First you need to call an immediate IEP with your school district and apply for 26.5 services with County Mental Health. County mental health has funds through the state called 26.5 funds that cover residential treatment for SED kids. The costs they cover are psychiatric treatment and room and board. The school district covers IEP and transportation to and from school. This includes airfare, hotel, and food usually on a quarterly basis. You do not have to give up your parental rights to CPS to get services and to do so gives you less choice and influence in your sons treatment. You also need in the process of talking to county mental health, use the term "Then I need to call an IMAC" meeting so that we can address who will be paying for the mental health needs and school needs of my child. Another tool is to contact Protection and Advocay for the state of CA; they help fight the battles to get services for your child. Another resource is to find out who your local Area Board is; this agency is a watchdog over how funds are distrubuted from the state to regional centers and school districts to meet the needs of disabled clients whether it is physical or SED. In Sacramento I live in Area Board III. This area board has an attorney who also can go as an advocate to your meeting; the one here has such political clout the whole atmosphere in the meeting changes. Lastly, you can get an advocate attorney who you can get from St. George Law School in Sacramento. When you file a due process hearing or even request the forms they send a list of attornies in your area who can assist you in getting services. Ca has some of the best services in the country but you must be educated and know how to fight to get them. The due process attorney can also fight to get reimbursement from your school district for what you have put out of pocket already stating that the school district failed to provide a FAPE in the least restrictive environment. Sometimes this is mediated to be extra years of special education services. As it stands the state of CA is obligated to provide education for special need children until they are 21. This is alot of information to learn and process and if you have further questions please ask. Also, the county mental health is supposed to be offering you wrap around services to prevent your child from ever getting to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) stage and this is another whole complex of services. Do not worry as they say, just get busy-lol. Jerri's Parent Report was pivotal in getting my son placed in residential treatment. If you want to ask more questions write. Always, donna

15 M, homegrown (biochild) with schizoaffective disorder with bipolar elements rapid cycling, first symptoms at age four, first psychotic break at age 14. Controlled on 200 mg of Zoloft qAM, 900 mg of Neurontin qAM, and 6 mg of Resperidal qPM-no more voices or visions. Homicidal, suicidal, sexual victim and offender. Gifted with IQ of 150. Recently placed in Residential Treatment Center (RTC).
12 M, chosen child (adopted) Deaf with global developmental delays. Born at 25 1/2 weeks and crack addicted. Ventilator dependent for 5 1/2 years. Resides in a hospital and a nursing home until he was 6 1/2 years old when he came home to us. Was told he was a vegetable. My vegetable now rides a trike and fights well with siblings, and loves pulling the cats tail!
5 F, chosen child, with Down Syndrome, residual cardiac defects, and severe low vision loss with cataracts. A feisty temperment and stomps her feet almost as well as I do-lol
Mom 40, on disability from back injury, hanging on with all her might


call 911
A couple of years ago we were desparate to get our difficult child placed in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC). He had a terrible year in 7th grade. The school didn't know what to do with him. We had 6 IEP's written in 12 months time! They loaded on the punishments: detention, double detentions, multiple detentions in one day, before school, after school and during lunch. They dropped him from every course they could. In the remaining classes, the teachers would just kick him out on a regular basis.The school pychologist just thought he needed just a little more understanding at home. Meanwhile, as he is crashing at school, he was also crashing at home: 911 calls, pysch. admissions, super defiant behavior. Anyway, I researched Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s and found Eckerd's Wilderness Alternative Educational Schools. We believed that this Residential Treatment Center (RTC) could give him the best hope to turn around this behavior. The school of course said that that was nice, but they would not pay for it. Then they decided to start their own "alternative" program. We outright rejected that option. Placing a sign (Alternative Studies) on a classroom door and staffing the "program" with the same teachers, social workers, pyschologists and administrators who didn't know how to handle him was NOT an acceptable answer. From their perspective, the Eckerd program was off the wall: a residential program, a wilderness program, out of state and expensive. We didn't think we had any other option in helping our son survive; he was falling apart so quickly and drasticly. We enrolled him in the program over the summer and hired a lawyer to start due process proceedings with the school. The atty was not sure we would succeed. (The disabilty of SED was not a favorite of the courts.)The school refused any discussion with our atty, but on the day of our hearing they negotiated with us a settlement in which they paid a large part of the cost. We did have to pay for the atty and he was not inexpensive, but it was much cheaper than the total tution would have been.
So, I would say don't discount your school district paying some of the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) costs. One thing we had done was create a great paper trail on the inadequacies of the school in education our difficult child. We would call for a new IEP meeting when the programs were not succeeding and we monitored the success. We made sure the goals were appropriate and measurable. When we asked the school to report on difficult child's success they came up with a form that counted how many times each day he got kicked out of class. We told them and the Special Education Administrator that that was absurb and told them they would measure him according to his IEP goals. As a result his one on one tutor measured him against his goals in every class every day and sent us home the report each week. (Plenty of ammunition for our due process hearing.) Yes, we were pain in the a** parents but too bad. I work in Special Education. in another school district and I know it's the pain in the a** parents who are knowlegable about the system and their child's disabilty who get the best resutls for their children.

I didn't mean to be so long winded here but check for a second or third opinion on school funding from different attornies. They will usually do a brief initial consultation for free, and by the way, find attys who work in Spec. Ed law exclusively. You'll need an expert.

15yo difficult child ODD, CD, ADHD?, tried public school, home school, private schoolx2, public school, residential placement(after due process hearing) now back in Public school, medications: tried lots, Currently in judicial system, awaiting decision.
13 yob easy child but stressed
8 yob easy child, very stressed
10 yo PD dog, very, very stressed
Me 43 yo, married 20 years to husband

Thank you all for your prompt replies! Just logging back and seeing FIVE responses so quickly made my heart leap for joy.

Yes, my son had yearly IEP's from 1st grade through 6th, yet when we went to look at the options for Junior High at the end of the year, the results were downright depressing. As Nathan's teacher no longer wanted my son in the classroom PERIOD, our woonderful principal started looking into what resources (SpEd) were available. She talked to three different Junior Highs in our district as well as the alternative High School to see if they would have a program that would fit Nathan's needs. (He is highly gifted, manipulative, angry, distracted, given to explosive outbursts and plain walking out on ANYTHING he doesn't like.) Her report back to my husband and I was that there were NO programs that met his needs in any of the schools and that the High School program would not take him because of his age. She basically was as flabbergasted as we were that children like ours are supposed to "float" for two years in a very loosely structured environment, and that the "good" and "bad" kids eventually sort themselves out and are then dealt with when they reach High School. To all of us concerned, spending two very formative years with LESS STRUCTURE and NO SP ED was not going to be an acceptable avenue.

I did contact a Special Education atty. in our area, the ONLY one, by the way. He is currently working a murder trial and won't be available to look at our case for two-three weeks at the earliest. I e-mailed him a copy of my Nathan Timeline Diary which is where I keep an account of all events and issues. He said over the phone after a short interview that we are the perfect people to challenge this school district and we have the benefit that we may be able to request the Principal testify truthfully to her search for access as she is retiring this year and won't be afraid for her job. He said we would still have a long hard battle - this school district is MUCH more interested in spending their money in long, extended appeals processes than just acknowledging their inability to provide FAPE, or creating a successful program. I am not sure if they HAVE ever actually paid on a case or settled out of court. I would like to find out how to get info on the court cases that have been heard.

I will contact County Mental Health and the other resources you have provided. I have found some web sites where I believe I can find out which Area Board we reside in. In the mean time, PLEASE pray that my son stops the self-destructive behavior and finds solace in a teacher or his counselor/ therapist that he sees weekly. He is still having a lot of trouble making friends at his school and I'm pretty sure it would be difficult to confide the kind of stuff he is going through with a friend there without it becoming public knowledge in about 15 minutes. (Their are only 85 boys in the Junior School, Grages 4-8.)

Thank you again and I will take you up on e-mailing questions. I feel like a fish out of water even though I've been dealing with the system/ therapists/ etc. for 8 years. I wish I could say that I feel like a kid again, but this 35 yr. old person is racking up about 72+years on the inside. I really do relate to Dorothy Parker many times over!!!

12yr old ADHD, ODD, new diag Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

wonderful husband of 4 yrs/ how does he do it?
i'm just hanging on and i birthed my little darling!

sent to military school last Sept. before he got into real trouble.
now with anxieties due to distance, my illness (lupus & possible MS) he is not coping well. Advised now to get him OUT of military school and INTO RDC.

Favorite quote: (attributed to Dorothy Parker) "What new fresh hell is this?"

Hi Dawn,
I live in CA too and am learning how to get services for my 9yo son. I do know that alot is available here in CA.In Ca through county mental health "Children's System of Care" which is funding to aid SED kids the state of CA dept mental health

There it says an interesting thing (its down about three in the table of Contents) about providing services that meet the Physical,emotional,(I love this one!!!) Social and educational needs in the least restrictive and normative environment that is appropriate. I too am learning

Joel age 10 ADHD mainly inattentive type, some situational depression due to living with and dealing with difficult child brother, has alot of Asperger Syndrome traits but not enough for "Official diagnosis" He is in special day class (Dysgraphia) and does well academically with mods . medications- Ritalin 10mg TID(Recent trial on Imipramine which was a medication trial from H%^& caused him to become a total difficult child so we stopped it no more ADs for Joel)
quote,"I know all the president's names do you?"

Joshua age-9 ADHD,Mood Disorder not otherwise specified-possible Childhood Onset Bi-Polar Disorder (COBPD),Gifted. Just signed his IEP 1-14-2000 beginning placement in Intensive Intervention class 1-18-2000 .Current medications-, Risperdal 1/2 of 1mg BID and Cogentin 0.5mg at bedtime Just added 150mg Lithium BID medication dance card-Ritalin,Dexidrine,Cylert, Clonidine,Melliril,Wellbutrin,Depakote,Ritalin and Clonidine,Wellbutrin and Ritalin. (WAVE THE MAGIC PILL AND POOF ALL BETTER) quote,"Mommy you really don't know how hard it is to live in my skin"

husband-David-44 quote"Me want food"
helpful with kids and very cute fun to be with

me-Lisa-37 chronically messy house,disorganized and a School Bus Driver for special needs kids I Love my Job!!!!!!!
GOD IS MY STRENGHT AND WITHOUT HIM I KNOW I WOULD BE A TOTAL BASKET CASE I can do all things through Christ who strengntens me


New Member
HI Dawn...I just wanted to say hi because my son's name is Nathan also. He is only four...I got on this board last year when he was three because of his rages and attacking me and his dad and other children. He is doing better now because I found out he was reacting to some foods and dyes he ate. He also has 18 different airborne allergies and is now taking shots for them.

He hasn't raged since last month when my mom moved out until last night after I got him back from his dad's. I noticed his cheeks were really red which is a sign of allergies. I ended up restraining him three times within a short period of time and then he was fine.

I am not saying he is'll have to read my other post on here about reaching the boiling point. But we are making progress. I am a strong believer now in how food and drinks and even air borne stuff can affect our childrens behavior. Take care.
Julie with Nathan.

Julie with son named Nathan which mean a gift from God. Some gifts are hard one. Is allergic to eighteen different airborne things including mold, some grass, trees and dogs. Motto: There is light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to find the right tunnel.
Nathan my difficult child, diagnosis with a regulatory and disruptive disorder, no medications, now four yrs. Ketcup makes him rage!
Me, mom on 20 mg on Prozac. 38yrs old, an older mom but don't seem to be any wiser.
DEX: totally insane but thinks everyone esle is.
Wish some space alien's would come get him and take him back to their planet.(found out the aliens brought him here to get rid of him)

Marcie Mac

Just Plain Ole Tired
Am in So. Calif and have been going thru a similar situation with the school - trying to find attorneys that deal with legal issues (my difficult child is in Juv Hall witing for placement (since mid December) and can deal with the school as well is near impossible. I called TASK (TEAM ADVOCATES FOR SPECIAL KIDS) in Anaheim Ca. ( I will check to see if they have offices up north for you), hired someone to deal with the school and their non compliance on just about everthing, i.e. exiting him out of school (not expelling, not suspending, just "exiting")- I had to file a discrimination suit just to get the IEP started - in the beginning of November - which they never did finish that - and then on top of everything want to expell him

So besides this person I had to hire, I have a separate attorney for school issues - at this point I think my difficult child has about the same amount of attorney's OJ Simpson has -Every spare amount of money (and some not so spare) is going towards trying to get this boy some much needed help.

It is a hard fight ahead of you- hang in there. I was interested in the comments regarding good Residential Treatment Center (RTC) facilities in Ca. - according to the legal assistant I hired - he thinks not and wants an out of state placement for my difficult child (Utah). I know the places I checked out here locally are an arm and a leg. Let us know how you are faring on this.


Me - 49 Yr old definately stressed mom
SO - still doesn't understand difficult child but is at least making an attempt
difficult child - 15 Years has severe ADHD, ODD, Possible CD. Currently on Dexadrine and Wellbutrin and cooling his heels in Juv Hall waiting for placement
difficult child's brother is 17, was diagnosed with ADD but wants nothing to do with labels, diagnosis or medications
difficult child's sister is 29, married with one beautiful young son.

Sometimes the only difference between our house and the titanic is that they had an orchestra....

Do you guys just how great you are???

I e-mailed your answers to the attorney I spoke with and his opinion is that you are RIGHT ON THE MONEY and I should proceed with your assistance. He agreed in full, not a descenting opinon to be heard and that's a big deal when you figure he has to pretty proud of his 18 yrs. in practice plus law school. I'll keep you posted on our progress!

Dont be afraid to get an attorney out of area if neccessary; like from the protection and advocacy board. Sometimes it gets away from the good old boy network with everyone knowing each other in smaller towns and cities. Always, donna