Need help sorting this out...(LONG)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I have been trying to fight the depression, anger, frustration and negativity about the current situation with my difficult child and the legal issues. I'm trying to think through the options that I might could pursue so that maybe I don't make a decision that leaves one or both of us worse off. I find that I am playing "devil's advocate" with myself a lot, so I'm asking for any suggestions anyone might have and it would be great if anyone can let me know positives/negatives about these things, that I have overlooked or am not aware of.

    Although I don't have a clue how I can make this work financially, I honestly did, and do, think it was in my difficult child's best interest right now to not be in detention long term and to be able to continue treatment. So, I had to encourage the defense attny to ask for that. Well, now I'm at a point that without major changes, I can either take him to treatment or I can pay for treatment (ie- health insurance), but I can't do both. We have no family or close friends here who can step in and help. I don't think I am ready to relinquish custody to social services or my bro. because I honestly believe that would cause many more problems than it solved.

    On top of that, he will have probation- which means I have to take off work to take him to the PO every 2 weeks because she isn't one that will work past 4:30. It might even be more often now due to this year's stuff.

    So - here is what I have tried to consider so far-

    1) Bankruptcy- would this solve things long term? Would the debt from this previous year be paid for and I be able to keep the house and still not have to work full time?

    2) Selling house- well, that isn't feasible if I stay in this area because it would take a lot to get it in order to sell it (financially and more time off work), then rent around here cost as much as a house payment. So, unless it is going along with some other change, there is no point in doing it. If moving out of the area solves other problems, then this selling has to happen.

    3) Refinancing. I might look into this, but I would have to handle that carefully with the bank so they don't panic over my situation..but, I still would have to cover all expenses then.

    4) Try to find a better paying job here. Ok, I would still have to work by the hour because I won't be able to work full time as long as difficult child needs to go to a therapist once a week and I can't find one that won't do evenings and as long as PO is in picture. (It isn't just the time for appts.- she makes issue any time difficult child is left alone and I'm not home from work yet- never mind that non of his illegal activities happened during these times) So, it better have a real good hourly rate and be very flexible with hours. Now, what are the odds of that?

    5) Get difficult child on medicaid and just tell the gal point blank- I can no longer afford insurance on him. I've spent my money paying restitution (and still owe) for him, attny's for custody (which she indirectly helped instigate), defense attny for difficult child, loss of pay from not working full time, paying the amount of house payments for medication insurance once employer quit paying it because I wasn't working full time, so I HAVE NONE LEFT. Then, we will have to go to the one place that I despise for treatment- they are not professionally competent and lose files and you can't have any appointment with them that doesn't end up taking at least 4 hours of my time. So, still I want to try to find out if there is any other place I could take difficult child for treatment if I get him on medicaid. We really don't have much available here in terms of mental health treatment.

    6) I have to get back to work full time soon (which means either breaking a court order or going back to the judge- then the judge and GAL would be looking at placement of difficult child outside of home or commtting him to state now)- unless I can make #3, 4. &5 above work out- and soon. Or, unless I can find a different jurisdiction to live in where the various circumstances are different.

    7) difficult child's legal order- I am so worried about this I can't think. There is no way he can live up to it and the PO is not one to let even the slightest thing go. My goal is for the next year is for him not to break a law and not to get in big trouble at school and pass his classes. Now, the judge has ordered that he can't break any rule at school or home or be tardy to school. Well, given our sd's policy, I thought difficult child did great last year to only get a few write-ups. Even the principal was happy about it. Now, that isn't good enough anymore. I had already checked with the principal to see if they would help get difficult child in a partial psychiatric hospital program (after his acute stay in April). The principal said she couldn't recommend it because difficult child had improved so much in mainstream. So, I can see already that they want him to stay there- but they aren't going to adjust their policies to the judges order. And I don't expect them to. I'm not going to drop my rules at home either. But he will do things wrong sometimes that even easy child's will do that I think can be handled at home or school and don't warrant being committed to the state Department of Juvenile Justice.

    If this were a reasonable PO, I would discuss this with her. But I don't think she is reasonable at all. If I leave a few mins early to get to an appointment on time, she says why are you claiming this takes so long. If I leave for it without a min. to spare, she's like well, you better watch it, you could be late. (If she were family- I would call her toxic) If she were more reasonable, I wouldn't have had to testify in Jan about therapy. difficult child was on probation 2 years ago for about 6 mos- that lady was reasonable. She stayed late peridically so I didn't have to miss work and she didn't treat me like I was the one who broke the law.

    So, the concern is what will happen to difficult child when he gets written up for school or is tardy or ticks me off at home? Will the judge stick to the suspended sentence? (She did not stick to the one she gave him last year.) If he got into big trouble again, I can see sending him to the original detention type program that she wanted to get him into but couldn't because he was under 14 yo. The therapist told me she could order him to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), however, I think therapist is wrong. Mainly because the judge or gal has ever even mentioned this. The gal had social services look into it, but they couldn't find one that difficult child could get into. My quick glance through various web links leads me to think that there a only a few Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s in VA and that there are only a couple that a kid can be put into by legal authorites (instead of soc. services) and that is when the kid is in state custody. But, I dare say that it is a miniscule percentage of those turned over to state Department of Juvenile Justice that go to Residential Treatment Center (RTC). And, these Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s are apparently only about 6 weeks or less long.

    I have to try to find an answer here. Is there a state we can move to where gffg's on medicaid have access to good, qualified psychiatrists and tdocs? Where I can get a job that pays the bills and I can afford to keep us in a home? Where the legal authorities are a little more practical and have realistic expectations of the difficult child (I can see the requirement to not break the law, add a curfew, things like that)? Where there are more options if/when a difficult child gets into trouble- like Residential Treatment Center (RTC) availability without the parent giving up parental rights? How do I find these answers?

    Are there any other options that I have overlooked? (Besides sharing a home- I don't think we could handle it for more than a week or two)

    Sorry so long- Bless you if you made it this far:) !
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Long shot here, but have you considered trying to get him into an NIMH study -- either on pediatric bipolar disorder or severe mood and behavioral dysregulation? The treatment is free.
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You certainly have been thinking this through and it isn't an easy decision to make. The PO sounds like a jerk and the judge sounds unrealistic. No way would my difficult child be able to tow the line like that (even if he tried).

    As for which decision is best, I really don't know, which I know isn't much help. He may qualify for Medicaid through the Katie Beckett program. It's how our difficult child qualified even with our insurance.

    Keeping you in my prayers as you make your decision. Hugs.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Do you have any idea how I could even check into an NIMH study, Smallworld?

    Thanks, Sharon! You guys are the ones keeping me half-way sane!
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Smallworld! I will check into that. You know, I battle the thoughts of "if this was caused by the prozac increase, can it ever be stopped" along with "was it there already- did he just get the genes and it was inevitable". Regardless, they definitely need to be doing research. We have an appointment with regular psychiatrist tomorrow- I don't have much to say to him anymore- and an appointment with the psychiatrist who lead the MDE on Tuesday. I hope I don't turn into a begging mom with her, but we seriously need her help...
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    KL...I cant tell you that NC would be a better match for you but I can tell you that I never had to give up custody nor was it ever even threatened. Yes there were a ton of kids in DSS custody in some of the placements my son went into but they werent in Department of Juvenile Justice custody. Now I know Department of Juvenile Justice does have a few group homes around us but they are not the same ones my son was in.

    Medicaid pays for both public and private psychiatrists and tdocs down here. I have never had a problem with any of them taking Medicaid. I dont know what you do so I cant advise on how easy it would be for you to find a job.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Janet! I wouldn't mind social servies, or any other agency, being involved if they help get appropriate treatment for difficult child. It's just that here, they apparently look at placement with other family members first, even if the consideration for placement outside of the home isn't a result of the home or parent not being appropriate. That doesn't sound right to me, but that is what they told me. I didn't know if it was that way everywhere or not.
  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Don't know about Virginia's rules for state health it's called Medi-Cal...but because Miss KT's father is absent, she qualified. I didn't have to pay anything out of pocket for her coverage.

    Rent for a house in a decent area here is around $1000/mo, and we're in an excellent district. Many services (including a medically fragile unit) and teachers/administrators who listen, and if they don't, the superintendent does! I've emailed him several times. Jobs are a little hard to come by, there's a 10 - 12% unemployment rate, mainly because we're in an agricultural area. The police in our town would rather prevent than arrest, and when we called on Miss KT, he took the time to talk with her and explain clearly what would happen if things continued.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont think Social Services wants to get involved in difficult child drama here much. I actually worked for them and begged for help and they didnt have a clue. Everything runs through mental health here. I dont think it is any easier to get into a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) here than it is anywhere else. I had to fight tooth and nail. I did manage group homes which are considered a lower level of Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    I also think the techs may be easier to come by here if you get medicaid. Or if you can get in on the sliding scale at one of the clinics. I think your son would do well with a tech personally. Cory had one with him in the school and in the community up through at 15...almost 16 when he quit school. That would solve your babysitting problem. Corys tech had him 40 hours a week. He actually took him to therapy, psychiatrist and after school activities, along with being with him in school.

    Could you ask about having your son admitted to a wilderness camp in another state? There is one in NC that does medications...two I think...and one that doesnt. I have first hand experience with the one that doesnt but have known people who used one of the ones that does.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Wow, Mary, it sounds like there is pretty good help around there. I'm not sure I could afford to move to CA, but wish I could!!

    Janet, I wasn't sure what a tech is, but it sounds like this is similar to an aide or mentor. difficult child could use that- especially since he's never had a male in his life on a daily basis.

    A wilderness camp in NC would probably be a wonderful thing for him if he can't get on track soon. I think I might start looking into some of these now- just enough to find out procedures for getting him in, should the need arise. I think the chances are that the need WILL arise- although it might be after next "march madness" season.

    I have been on the phone all morning trying to get the psychiatrist appts ok'd by detention so I can take difficult child this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon to the special consultation. Also, found out his release date is Jul 26. I spoke with PO and she actually sounded half-way reasonable. (Wonder what changed her?LOL) Anyway, she said she hoped she can get him off the ankle bracelet/monitor before the end of summer and said if he was doing ok, she would allow a small vacation the week before school starts. (I might be checking out some places in NC during that time!)

    I called about about financial or medication insurance assistance and they directed me to the county board. Well, I'm getting ready to call them to see if I went this route, could difficult child go to tdocs/psychiatrists at some place other than our local mental health place. That is BIG concern of mine.
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Do you have a caseworker?

    SC has a program for the elite - (lol) Severely emotionally disturbed children through the governor's office.

    Why don't you call the governor in your state, ask WHERE you can go for help without loosing your child. If you need help drafting a letter to keep emotion out and fact in - short /sweet I'll be glad to help but I think you should call or email representatives and congressmen in your area and tell them - YOU HAVE to work, you CAN NOT afford to keep taking off to meet appointments, you can't afford all of this AND medical/therapy - WHAT and WHOM do you call?

    Reason i asked for caseworker - is if you don't have one - try to get one, to get one you're going to have to be the squeeky wheel.

    As far as the probation officer - ? Everyone has a boss - call the boss, tell the boss that you can't meet her schedule as it conflicts with work - and ask to be reassigned to someone who can meet you closer to 5:00 (and isn't a horses petute)but dont' say that.

    As far as a therapist that will see him at night and on weekends? GET OUT THE PHONE BOOK. CALL mental health in your area and ask them WHO takes your insurance - and honestly - since you are making less/maybe he qualifies for medicaid? THAT would open a lot of doors.

    I've never heard of a town without a therapist who didn't work at night or weekends.
  13. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    I wish I knew more about the services in Arkansas to help you. We just moved here a couple of years ago. We've been happy with difficult child's psychiatrist and therapists - the agency works through the schools and everything is free. (They aren't in all the school districts so you have to do the research before you decide on a location to move) They charge our insurance but whatever is not covered doesn't have to be paid by us. This is for everyone in the school district... not based on need at all.

    I just had my first run in with the juvenile justice system today (sheriff's office investigator) and she seemed very reasonable. She said the juvenile system is there to help the kids, not make things worse. The report is going to the prosecutor and we are going to be classified as a FIN at the least, and at the worst he will decide to prosecute, so I guess I'll be seeing how the system works in a lot more detail in the coming weeks.

  14. klmno, I am so sorry you are going through all of this. My heart goes out to you. I hope you are able to find some solutions without having to relinquish difficult child.

    As a single parent myself, I know that I question how to do everything and still get difficult child the help they need. I question my living situation too because living in Las Vegas, there aren't too many options. Doctors are limited. There is only 1 psychiatrist on my insurance and the one that treats difficult child is out of network, but he is well-known and good. I question living where we are too - but my parents are here. They can't/don't help but they are there for moral support which I really need. My employer has been great with my umteen million absences - anywhere else I would have been fired. I often wonder though if I need to move elsewhere to open up more services for difficult child.

    It looks like you have been given alot of great advice and I will add you to my prayer list and I send you big <<<<HUGS>>>>

  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I wish I could help you Linda, but I wanted to offer support and cyberhugs. Sounds like you're really going through your options.
  16. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    Before you consider bankruptcy, look at the terms before you do it. We filed bankruptcy and all of our unpaid medical bills were covered, but I don't think student loans were. That makes me wonder whether any governmental fines or charges would be covered. We were able to keep our cars and our two vehicles, and we had to make payments to the courts to pay back 80&#37; of our debt. If you're thinking about moving to another state, bankruptcy will show up on your credit report for seven years. We still had no trouble getting financed for a house but our interest rate was really high. It may also be harder to be approved to rent somewhere new.

    Our credit report was so bad that I'm not sure the bankruptcy made that much of a difference. We got an inheritance about 5 months after we filed and paid everything back 100%, which may have been one of the reasons we were able to get financing for a house. It did take a lot of pressure off of us at that point and gave us a lot of breathing room, but it didn't turn our lives around.


    PS - I'm with Star - try to do everything you can (and more) to work with your state. Call everyone you can think of until you find one person on your side, and then see what they can do to help.
  17. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I have no answers of how you get help. For me, it was threatening to disrupt the adoption -- not a route I would recommend. Stating you will give up your rights to your child might make someone sit up and take notice or, sadly, they might just take you up on your offer. The reality is that getting help for a child with emotional or mental health needs is difficult at the best of times. Add a child who is now involved in the juvenile justice (talk about an oxymoron!) system and gets to be almost impossible. Strangely, the best way to get help is usually through the judge. A good juvenile judge will look at all factors and will frequently recommend a good Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or even a wilderness program. I have found, however, that it is usually up to the parent to find and first suggest the appropriate program.

    From what you have said, it really does sound like they are setting your son up to fail. Their restrictions are difficult for an adult, let alone a child.

    As to bankruptcy, I would not recommend going that route. From what I know and understand, court costs and penalties are not forgiven, so you would still be responsible for all of those fees regardless and have a nasty mark against your credit in the process.

    I'm so sorry you are going through all of this. That the court is so out to punish makes little sense to me. It seems like the goal should be to help the child become a contributing member of society (one of the reasons why juvenile records are usually locked at 18) rather than making sure the child has no chance to learn the "right way" of doing things.
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks so much for all the support!

    Star, that is one of the reasons I am trying to contact this local board- to see about getting a case manager and find out the list of doctors who accept medicaid so I can see if there are any actually accepting new patients that I would be comfortable taking difficult child to and to see if it has to be in this county. Unfortunately, when I called today they out me through to a regular therapist and no one wanted to put me through to the right people who have these answers (a quick reminder of one reason why I can't stand that place.) So, I will try again tomorrow.

    Our governor really has been putting forth a lot of effort to get the others in control of mental health, adult and juvenile justice, and funding on board with providing more treatment. A letter to him might be in the near future. For one thing, someone higher up needs to know that not only doesn't this county have anything for juvenile justice like neighboring counties do, and not only do you have to listen to lies from the sd until you get a Special Education attny to hold them accountable for what they are supposed to be providing, but the darn board that is supposed to be there to help families in these situations is incompetent and refuses to let you even speak to the people recommended by state agencies to contact. Yep, I think the governor should know this. It needs to be someone higher up than the various state agencies overseeing these indivudual county entities.

    Thank you, Christy, MB, and Linda! And, bankruptcy would be a last resort, but I might have to go there, unfortunately.
  19. Christy

    Christy New Member

    So sorry you have to struggle with this. It is so hard to work when raising a difficult child is a more than a fulltime job in itself. I would try to get the medicaid, at least that would be one less thing to worry about. Can you move out of state while difficult child is on probation? Is any type of work from home of flexible hours job a possibility?

    I wish I had some amazing suggestion to offer you because you are going through so much but right now but I just don't know what I'd do in your shoes. I hope you catch the break you deserve soon.