New and VERY stressed out!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Dharmamama, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. Dharmamama

    Dharmamama Guest

    Hi there,

    My difficult child, husband and I just got back from court where our son was being tried for credit card fraud(accidentally downgraded to petit theft by prosecutor) and run away charges. The assault against my husband and the drug para. Charges hadn't yet cleared the system to be presented to the judge. During the session, my difficult child's public defender made it sound as if we had "thrown up our hands and given up parenting our son and have thrown him to the wolves" so the judge ordered us (the victims) to take parenting classes and seek family counseling in spite of the fact that the state had supplied a mental health statemnent that specifically stated that we " the parents" didn't need counseling or classes because we've been doing everything in our power to help this kid who is simply unable to improve because he doesn't take ownership for his choices and blames everything on us.

    The state got involved because we wouldn't allow our son to live with his drug dealer and he had someone report usto CPS like he told us he would. The social worker closed the file as unsubstantiated but not before we spent $2500 for an attorney and meeting various demands from CPS.

    We have been going to marriage counseling because of the stress of raising this child, and frankly after the state's involvement, we're too scared to parent as it is and are completely fed up with being told what to do. Why are we being punished by the court? Oh, yeah, because the judge doesn't put any credibility in the diagnosis of the state's psy doctor. And believes that conduct disorder is just a term that's thrown around when a child doesn't want to follow the rules of it's parents so we need to work on our relationship some more.

    I can't breathe I feel so angry and violated by the court's position.

    We didn't break any laws, why are we having our freedoms affected? And can somebody please explain the justice in our having to foot the bill for the public defender who is our adversary?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I am so sorry that this has come to a very bizarre resolution in the courts. Can you turn over custody to the state? Put him in foster care?
  3. Dharmamama

    Dharmamama Guest

    Unfortunately, we can't afford to pay child support to the foster care system and the state won't take him anyway unless we want to admit to neglecting him so they can code it.
  4. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    I am sorry to hear about your awful justice system experience.

    I know this won't offer any comfort to you but I have learned many moons ago that he justice system is rarely just or merciful. Though you may find the occasional person who works under it that isn't jaded or filled with preconcieved notions it is rare. I have persoanlly experienced through my own cases and those of people close to me that people often get off for things they did do for ridiculous reasons and others get in trouble when they have definitive proof of innocence.

    There is rarely any reasoning with the type of judge who you dealt with. It isn't fair, it hoovers and unless you have oodles of money for an attorney there is nothing you can do about it. The scales of justice are very subjective and the odds of success are similar to the roll of dice even if you are right.

    You didn't do anything wrong, you got railroaded. individuals can file motions without an attorney, you could TRY to be seen by a different judge. It is also a protracted hassle that may or may not go well just to prove something no one in the system ultimately cares about.

    You the parent should never be put on trial for what your almost adult difficult child did. You can be held liable for neglect or for restitution or fines but you didn't steal the credit card now did you? You didn't fail him, he failed himself.

    I am and have always been a person who speaks out first and fights the longest when things seem unfair. So I don't say this lightly...the easiest thing to sometimes do when it comes to governmental authority and red tape is to be quiet and do as you are told. When it is all said and done the classes and counseling will pass by much quicker than trying to unravel the mess. In the meantime you can have the counselor validate your point that you did what you could.

    I feel dirty for even suggesting that because it goes against my principles but I also learned that lesson at great personal expense, tons of stress and never did anything more than spin my wheels.

    We lock up all of our sensitive info at home, lock up food too. :mad: Some days I count down until my difficult child is 18.
  5. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Hi Jana,

    We've had very bad experience with the justice system. They don't understand mental health law as you know. I too feel angry that the judge ignored the mental health statement from the state, and is treating the diagnosis of conduct disorder so disrespectfully when he probably knows nothing about it.

    Protection and Advocacy is written into the mental health code.

    Look for other mental health advocates in your state.

    Other suggestions -- write to the chief judge of your county. Email or call your state representative. I had to do this and more until we could get help for our son -- he's 17 too. Is Community Mental Health involved? Is your son on medications?

    We've been to marriage counseling too because of the relentless stress. Also NAMI might be good resource -- lots of articles on tips on navigating the justice system, and your local NAMI may have some suggestions about how to help place your son

    Good luck!!
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Oh dear, do I understand what you are saying and feeling! I won't go into my and my son's lengthy story but he has been involved in the judicial system the past 4+ years and is incarated now (15yo) and we will be going to court tomorrow to find out his latest sentence and yes, I expect to get run through the grill again just because I'm his parent. We have had DSS involvement but not the CPS division of it- here a kid's placement is looked at by the courts if the kid has a serious behavior issues sometimes son they call in dss to do a family assessment. But there is definitely a pattern of blaming the parent by the court people....and ignoring what the mental health profs say or twisting what they say to justify doing what they are going to do anyway.

    I am so sorry you are going thru this.
  7. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Just wanted to pop in and say welcome. Fortunately, (knocking on wood very hard) we have not had to deal with Department of Juvenile Justice here, and hope we never have to. I know from reading here it is not easy and many times not helpful.

    At this point? Count the days untill your difficult child is 18, and decide what you want to do when he/she reaches that age. Do you want difficult child to still live in your home, or do you want them to leave? I know this is not as easy as it sounds and is a struggle.

    Hugs and welcome.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Jana.
    I am so sorry that the system is failing you. In VA, where I live, there is a movement afoot (with-a lot of help from the newspapers) to have the courts separate out mental health transgressions from criminal intent. Hard to separate sometimes, but the stories that have run in the newspaper have dealt with-really obvious cases to it's easy to see where the system is broken.
    In the meantime, my first thought was to appeal the decision, and my second thought was foster care. I don't really understand about paying into the system (I saw that in another note the other day, too.) I thought it was state funded. But maybe when you relinquish a teen, and it's "therapeutic" foster care, you're dealing with-a different animal and that's where the $ comes in.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    About foster care...a parent has to pay child support. Thats the kicker.

    I was lucky in that in all my sons run ins with the legal system we never got billed for his court appointment attorney's. Not entirely sure why but that was a reason I didnt prosecute him on a few charges because was worried that we would be both victim and parent. By the time I did prosecute him for stealing from me he was an adult and he had to pay for his own lawyer.

    Not that the juvenile system did a darn thing to help him or us. Didnt help or hurt, just another cog in the wheel but at 17 we wouldnt have been dealing with juvenile, it would have been adult anyway.