New here to forum - experience with-courts needed

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Peaceful, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. Peaceful

    Peaceful New Member

    Hi. I'm new to this forum and was interested in anyone with experience with the courts and their kids.

    I have a daughter who's 13 and is BiPolar (BP), ODD, SAD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). We've been dealing with her issues for about 10 years. Her BiPolar (BP) is stable for the most part but her ODD is raging right now. She's been under psychiatrist and therapist care since she was 6. We've learned over the years to tell the difference between raging that's a result of mood and raging that's a result of ODD.

    A brief hx:
    She has been hospitalized twice in a psychiatric hospital and has attempted suicide twice, at 7 and 8 yrs old. She has had an IEP since she was 7 and was unable to attend regular school for 2 1/2 yrs and was in a PHP. She's now in public school in a SED class and they're doing a fantastic job. She has had cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, and now DBT which is working the best. She has had occupational therapy, speech language therapy, art therapy, light therapy a therapy dog for aggression and any other therapy that was ever suggested by professionals to see if it would help her. Various things have worked with various levels of success. She has been on every medication available for BiPolar (BP) and severe depression and we now have a good mix.

    She has a history of running away, truancy from school, physical violence and property destruction. Since she turned 13 it has escalated as is normal from what I have read but it's also gotten to the point where safety has become an issue. For this reason we've had to call the police on several occasions and recently have files Disorderly Conduct charges in the juvenile court. We will not allow safety to be comrpomised in our home. She has found stability with her mood with medication changes and is actually pleasant about 75% of the time - until she's told no. Then all bets are off. We studied the Explosive Child about 7 yrs ago and found some of the techniques to be effective. Some are not. We now use Love & Logic parenting which has worked the best so far for us as far as finding a way to have some peace in the house on occasion.

    Due to her behaviors she now has a court date on Friday. Probation is a probability, husband is a possibility and knowing her, she may end up court ordered to a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and become a ward of the court. I am hoping there's some parents on this forum with experience with that who'd be willing to share with us.


    daughter 13yo, BiPolar (BP), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), ODD, SAD - Buspar 60 mg Lithium 1200 mg - 8th grade
    DS 9 yo, typical little boy living with-a BiPolar (BP), ODD big sister - 4th grade
    Married to husband, a great guy
    Me - Keeping the faith
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wow, welcome. It's slow because of the holiday, however there's so much snow outside here I actually don't WANT to go I'm not sure what to tell you--never called the police on my children except when my teenager pulled a knife on herself. Then we did but we wanted them to take her to a hospital, which they did. She did go on parole twice, but that was for smoking pot. I'm interested in your daughter needing speech therapy. Did she ever have speech or other delays as a child? Does she know how to socialize? Sounds like a lot of stuff going on with her. I have bipolar II (a milder form of bipolar, but still not fun when not stable). I always thought ODD was part of unstable bipolar, at least it was for me. I couldn't hear "no" either or I'd have a rage. Once stable, I don't do it. (Yes, even BiPolar (BP) adults rage when not stable). I hope you get the help you need. Others will come along, but, since I'm home and most are probably out celebrating, I thought I'd say "hi" and "welcome." :smile:
  3. Peaceful

    Peaceful New Member

    Thanks so much. Well, she's pulled knives on me too. She's also pushed and hit and grabbed me to the point of bruising. She's threatened to kill all of us in the house at various times as well. This cannot and will not continue in our home and we'll do whatever's necessary to keep everyone safe.

    The speech therapy was originally for language issues but she's been on the honor roll and has a normal IQ. She may have sensory integration issues which are being addressed via the Occupational Therapist (OT) and SLT. She walked at 8 months old, talked in sentences by a year old and has always been extremely social. She's played on a volleyball team since the 6th grade and is actually quite good. I coached the team so she could particpate with someone around who could handle her if she got out of hand.

    When daughter's manic her eyes are dilated, she is extremely sweaty, it builds up over an hour or two, she rages for any reason and she comes down off it and rebounds with depression. With teh ODD rages, it's immediate with no physical symptoms and if you gave in she would immediately calm down with no rebound of mood at all. We've charted excessively over the past several years and it's pretty obvious. Her psychiatrist and therapist also agree it's choice and we need to take it to the next level. I just don't know what to expect with the court involvement.

    Thanks again for the welcome. It was very nice of you!

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi again.
    Hmmmmm...she rapidly cycles? My depressions and hypo-mania would last up to a year, but I know some kids rapid cycle.

    I hope the court gets you extra help. I was never violent, just kind of not able to function in a depression, and my rages were directed at myself or I'd break an object, but not hit anyone. I know my folks thought I raged on purpose, but it sort of snowballed inside of me within a second and once it started I couldn't stop. They learned to walk away and not talk to me when I was in a rage because that made it much harder for me to calm down, but I'm sure you know your own kid. Everyone is different. I can see why you'd hope for Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement. She sounds like an exceptional child in so many ways. I really hope you can get her stablized. Sounds like you're great parents and trying all you can. It's so sad to see our good kids struggling with these disorders...please take care. I"m sure people will come along who've had experience and can help you more than me. I can just offer empathy.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm sure more experienced parents can help you more than me - sounds like you might be able to help us some!! I think it's amazing that you have determined the difference in the raging. Anyway, in my inexperience, my guess would have been that she's reaching teenage years, probably had a growth spurt, hormones are changing, and therefore, medications need to be re-evaluated. But, if psychiatrist has looked at this already then that obviously is a strong opinion to consider. My difficult child is involved in the court system- trying to get social services involved so the county could help provide some things I couldn't afford (my insurance wouldn't cover) opened up a nightmare of a can of worms. If I had it to do over, and now I still might do it, I'd go straight to a mental health attorney before anyone else.

    What area are you in? Sometimes other parents can steer you to a good place nearby.

    Good luck- wish I could help more! I will say, unless you have a real good history with these docs, I'd get a second opinion before doing something extreme- especially if the courts are involved. Unless you are in fear for your difficult child's or anyone else's life.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    klmno, you've been on a lot today. Are you sort of snowed in, like I've been playing on the puter all day because I'm not excited about going anywhere in the Roads are so icy.
  7. GOSOX

    GOSOX New Member

    Wow... did you file a CHINS ( child in need of services) or was she already court ordered related to the behavior?

    thinking of you..
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    No-just procrastinating about taking the tree down! First time (2 weeks before Christmas ) it went fast because I was mad at difficult child. Then I put it up again, with his help. Now, it's beautiful and he's been great and I don't want it to be over- especially since I didn't win the lottery! LOL! And, been waiting on you to answer my post about tdocs- our issues are right up your alley! I know- I blabbed and blabbed on it and maybe I'm BiPolar (BP) too, but I can't stand feeling like I don't have difficult child (and me) really working on a solution. Plus, darn computer has spyware issues- if I log off or shut down, takes me 2 hours to get back on- can't stand that, you know.

    Have to stop- I'm sabatoging someone else's thread!!
    Thanks for asking...
  9. Peaceful

    Peaceful New Member

    She's what's know as an ultra-ultra rapid cycler. She's very predictable and cycles daily between 1 and 8 pm. The cycles are much more under control now. Mania isn't as high and no seasonal depression this year which is great because there's no need to be real concerned with suicide this year.

    I'm not sure if you're familiar with Dr. Robert Findling? He's an expert on early onset bipolar disorder. She's been evaluated by his team and is under the care of his colleague right now. She's been with him for 2 years. She was with a different psychiatrist from 6 - 11. We're in Cleveland, OH. She's been to the top neuro's and been evaluated every which way from Sunday. They all agree she's one of the most difficult cases they've seen. But her medications are good right now for the BiPolar (BP). She was stable for 3 yrs when she was 9 - 11. Then, like you said, she grew and needed a medication change. Once the BiPolar (BP) destabilized, it took 2 years to stabilize her again.

    She hasn't started her cycle yet and is nowhere near according to the pediatrician. She's a late bloomer. When she does, she'll be placed on birth control to avoid monthly mood swings due to her hx of suicide attempts etc. She won't have more than 2 or so periods per year and we'll try to time them during the summers when she's more content.

    She has case management services from a county organization. I co-facilitate a mental health support group for caregivers and it's been wonderful for me. No one has experience with the courts though. We feel we have to do this to keep the family safe. I like knowing and being proactive instead reactive though as much as I can.

  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, I certainly hold this against you. It sounds like you've looked at all options, considered a competent psychiatrist's opinion, and weighed what is everyone's best interest. If the only question left is the legal aspect, seems like an attorney is called for.
  11. Peaceful

    Peaceful New Member

    I didn't file a CHINS, haven't heard of that before. She already has every service available to her that we can get. We hired an educational atty for her for the IEP to be sure it was set-up correctly.

    We filed the charges against her for a couple of reasons. One, it looks better if the family does it for a misdemeanor rather than a school or other entity for a felony (which was a real possibility). Two, it gives us more input into how they handle her case. And three, it's proactive to teh court system. We have a mental health court for adults here in the county we're in. But not for juveniles. I've been asked to start to work to get a juvenile mental health court push going but haven't had the time. I've also been asked to serve on the NAMI board so they can focus more on the needs of those of us with children with MI but just can't right now. I'm in school, work and have clinical rotations to do each week and can't take anything else on right now. I graduate in May so we'll see then.

    Would you share more about CHINS?

  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    i'm so sorry- that was supposed to say I DON"T HOLD IT AGAINST YOU.
  13. Peaceful

    Peaceful New Member

    No problem. LOL! I'm waiting to see how it goes in court. If she's placed on probation then I was thinking we wou;dn't need an attorney. If she goes to husband then I'll probably ask for a public defender or I have a friend who's an attorney who could help. She didn't think it was necessary right now but could become necessary in the near future. I hope not.

  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    CHINS is Child In Need Of Services. My difficult child's Guardain Ad Litem (GAL)filed this for him- which got Social Services involved. It's a sticky law that can work for or against a family. Of course, it's designed to work for getting the difficult child services. In our case, the GAL was assigned, with a defense attny. because my son racked up charges suddenly and I let the judge know that 1) I had tried to get him help but my insurance wouldn't cover anything more in depth and 2) if I went out and hired whomever I could to "get difficult child out of this" it could/would send the wrong message to him. The downfall, the GAL went in the mental health help mode blindly and got social services involved to find whatever they could and people were barking up all different trees, many of them the wrong tree, but see, once CHINS is filed, it is basicly out of the parents hands, whether you agree or not. Anyway, my brother tried to step in and get custody, which wouldn't have helped difficult child at all but that's an entirely different story. Anyway, they ultimately assigned a certain in-home therapy for conduct issues, which wasn't recommended for difficult child but it's all the county has to offer. So, now I'm headed to court to show just cause it's all you have doesn't mean it's what his docs think is best. Fortunately, it seems that GAL finally has educated herself on this and remebered that she was assigned to help us- she wasn't assigned because his mom was incompetent. Anyway, it sounds like you're in a better position and maybe your court system will allow more input from you. If you ever have to have a CHINS for your difficult child, just remember, it's giving a lot of leeway to the courts over what kind of treatment will be provided and they could be completely in left field.
  15. Peaceful

    Peaceful New Member

    I see. Thanks so much for explaining that. CPS has already been called due to daughter's dishonesty and they wanted to file charges against her last year for the chaos she had caused. They ended up offering me protection. LOL! It can get so complicated, can't it?

    Luckily the therapist is tight with the court system here and I have some faith that she'll see that her recommendations are followed to the best of her ability. We had in home therapy somewhat but daughter has refused to particpate when they were here so they had to stop. Since daughter has been under the care of psychiatrist and therapist since the age of 6 they are pretty dependent on us for input so far. We are extremely lucky to be where we are. The police are CIT and the social workers are well trained on issues concerning MI but that's never a guarantee.

    We were told if she was a ward of the court we'd pay child support. We'd need to provide health insurance (but I though Medicaid etc kicked in) and she'd be gone for a minimum of 6 months. She could be ok in court or very defiant. That will determine which way the sentence goes. It's an uncertainty right now which way she seems to be headed.

  16. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Peaceful, I live in Cleveland and we have been through the courts with difficult child after we filed unruly charges on her. Have you received anything from juvenile court? What did the police tell you when you filed the charges? Are they sending it downtown? Do you live in the city or a suburb?

    I am familar with several magistrates in juvenile court and can tell you most of them really want to help kids. If they see the family is very supportive they will bend over backwards to get the juvenile help. I doubt whether they will send her to husband unless the charges involve violence, but then my difficult child was sent to husband for the weekend and we never thought that would happen. We did get an attorney who specializes in juvenile justice. It's importnt to have one. The magistrate will not send your difficult child to juvie unless she is represented by an attorney, he will tell you to get an attorney and give you a continuance. Do not get a public defender. If you need a recommendation I can give you one.

    I should tell you that my husband is an attorney and we would never let difficult child go into court without one, even though we were the ones to file the charges. It's very helpful if the attorney is familar with juvenile court and the magistrates because they can make happen what you want. In the end you want your difficult child to be helped, not have a record. The record can be expunged if your difficult child agrees to the terms and has no further contact with the court. That is so important for her future.

    I will be happy to talk to you if you have any questions. I am familar with Dr. Findling and I know he is familar with the court system so that is helpful. He can make happen what is best for your difficult child. We are dealing with Dr. Zinn, I don't know if you are familar with him. One of the pyschologists in his office was difficult child's therapist and she wrote a letter for the court that was very helpful. We didn't want a felony record, but like you we wanted to be proactive and not have the charges filed by someone else.

    I know how difficult this time is. If it's any help, our difficult child is much better. Looking back two years ago I was terrified that she would end up in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or run away and be living on the street somewhere. We have been through many difficult years but things are so much better now.

  17. Peaceful

    Peaceful New Member

    Nancy, thank you so much for your assistance and sharing your experience. It was very kind. You've been thru a lot too.

    We're in Lake County. It's a smaller county and the intake supervisor is our city councilman and has done this for many years. He said she'd more than likely get some amount of days in husband which would likely be suspended depending upon her behavior and attitude that day. The charges do include violence - it's Disorderly Conduct/Threatening and Disturbing behavior. She'd be placed on probation as well. We also provided her treatment history and letters from the psychiatrist and therapist (actually she called) with recommendations from the professionals who've been working with her. I'm sure they have access to the false abuse report she made last year as well where Social Services did a full investigation and recommended she be held accountable. And finally we provided the police reports form the past 4 years from the Willoughby Police Dept (about 6 of them - some for violence etc).

    We've been told that she doesn't require an attorney at this point by her care team. We've a good friend who's tight with the juvenile prosecutor, and I'm comfortable with the representation should it come to that. I feel confident that they'll take our recommendations based on our experience with the police, social services, intake supervisor and their complete faith in our daughter's therapist who's the one who makes recommendations to the court for other juvies in the system. She and I are in complete accord with what needs to happen next. daughter'd have to hire an atty herself since she got herself into the situation. Just like if she were 18. She's extremely lucky we're in the county we're in. We're friends with Judge Trebets who presides over the mental health court for adults.

    She's been warned that another call to police for physical violence will result in a Domestic Violence charge and arrest and straight to husband. And we'll make the call if it comes to that.

    Her court date is Friday the 4th.

    I'll call the Intake Sup (our councilman) and the therapist and ask again if they think she needs an attorney. If it goes to the point of the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) I'll have daughter hire one for herself (with our guidance on who that should be). Or she can have the public defender. That's what people do who've been charged with something and have no money for an atty. We do Love & Logic parenting here and let her face the reality of her behaviors and attitudes and it's worked for us so far. I guess some call it tough love. I want her to be prepared to live her life despite her dxes when she's an adult and the time to practice what she needs is now while she's a juvenile.

    Thank you so very much for your thoughts and recommendations. Good luck with your daughter as well.

  18. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It sounds like you have all the bases covered Peaceful. You are right, you're lucky you're in Lake County. I believe you are in good hands and have the support you need from her therapist and psychiatrist. With your connections I'm sure you don't need an attorney at this point, if it were Cuyahoga County that would be different.

    Three days in detention really opened up my difficult child's eyes. She cried when they made her stand, take off her jewelry, put her hands behind her back and walk out of the courtroom with the officer. I was out of town that day, went to NYC with my easy child because the trip had been planned for months and husband swore that nothing serious would happen at that meeting. My husband went to law school with the attorney we hired for difficult child and in our conferences with him we told him how worried we were about her and all of the things we tried that haven't worked and how she needed to change or she would find herself in jail at some point. He in turn talked to the magistrate and they decided on sending her to juvie for the weekend to teach her a lesson. That would not have happened with any other case because of the overcrowding in Cuyahoga County and the fact that the charges did not include violence. But there were two felony charges and two misdemeanors, nothing to sneeze about.

    difficult child came out of juvie a different person. I think for the first time in her life she understood consequences to her behavior. She said she never wanted to go back there and did not blame us for her being there even though we were the ones who filed the charges. The juvenile detective in our city had many conversations with us and he said that there are some kids who really benefit from juvie and those hardened ones who don't and he pegged her for being one that could be saved.

    One of my husband's partners lives in Mentor and she is very familar with Lake County courts.

    I agree with wanting her to develop the tools now that she needs to live in society. That was mine and husband's main concern for her. We could have closed our eyes and let happen what would happen like many parents do around where I live, but I know that unless we interceded she would be lost, she would never understand that there were rules that had to be followed and consequences to every behavior.

    by the way you are correct that the surest way find yourself in juvie is domestic violence. My difficult child said almost all the other teens that were in juvie with her were there because of domestic violence. Would she go to juvie downtown or does Lake County use another facility?

  19. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh I almost forgot, my difficult child was put on probation by our community mayor's court prior to her juvie stay also. It didn't work. She continued to run away, hang with kids who were using drugs, defy us at every turn, rage when she didn't get her way, throw things, scream, cut school, fail her classes and pretty much continue on the road to self destruction. It wasn't until she got our of our suburb and actually went downtown that her eyes were opened.

  20. Peaceful

    Peaceful New Member

    Nancy, I hope that if they send her to juvie it will work for her. She's one of those cases where they're not sure of it will harden her or work. It's worth the risk at this point to us.

    She'd be in Painseville at the Lake County Juvie Center. The court and center and adult jail are in the same city. daughter is only 13 (14 in April) so no drugs etc yet. From what I understand from other parents with kids on probation one call to the police that she's not cleaning her room, is violent or unruly etc gets her arrested for violating probation and right to husband. Again, I have no personal experience with this so I'm going by what the other parents are telling me.

    daughter is short and looks about 10 or 11 and I'm hoping that having the papers from the psychiatrist, therapist, social services and police let them know just how violent/disruptive she can be. Something needs to change and we've exhausted all the non-court/law avenues we can to no avail.

    I'm so glad to hear this worked for your daughter and it gives us hope it can work for ours. by the way, we're in Willoughby right next to the Mentor border so if she needs an atty, and your friend is available for that, I'd definitely want to hook them up.

    Also, was an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) ever discussed for your daughter?