Out of home placement?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Mya_416, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. Mya_416

    Mya_416 New Member

    Hello, today I just found this forum and heaven knows I desperately need it. This is my first post
    Background: my step son came to live full time with my husband and I this past January after we fought for custody since his mother was abusing him mentally, emotionally, and physically. She was recently hospitalized and diagnosed as bipolar, had paranoia, and was put on anti psychotic medications and took herself off them immediately after being released from the hospital. She was hospitalized for being homicial and sucidal towards my step son and her best friend, me and my husband, and her parents. She only now has supervised visits with my step son, which she is supposed to set up, and has not done so since mid May. We have begged her to see him, and she responds with death threats towards my husband and I and says we are the ones who will "pay". She cannot be reasoned with at all. Once we got custody. My 13 year old step son moved a state away from his mother into our care. We had him previously the last 7 years for every other weekend and half the summers. I also have a biological 11 year old son. We couldn't be happier to get my step son away from the abuse and neglect he was experiencing. We finally had our happy family all together.
    Upon enrolling him in school last year, he failed almost everything. He was in counseling. We had meetings with the school and his counsellors and were told he was going through a lot and not to "punish" him for bad grades. We really hoped this school year he would be more acclimated to our home and his new school. This summer we were concerned he had an eating disorder, he lost 41 pounds in 3 months. His pediatrician said to "keep an eye on it" after we asked about it several times, and she put him on Prozac for depression. He has massive signs of no emotions- besides boredom and anger, extremely self centered, and no regret. We began going to dollar stores and thrift shops to buy clothing, blankets, and toiletries For the homeless and every weekend dropped them off to shelters and he wouldn't even get out of the car. Fast forward to this September... My step son began to act more defiant to everything and we caught him lying about almost everything. He began to mistreat our animals (holding down the dog or cat until they were crying and still not letting go), trying to sneak out, lying to his grandparents that he needs money for school and having them wire money to a local drug store for him, not doing homework. We drug tested him and he was positive for marijuana. The school caught him stealing school property. He was skipping class. Almost everyday it was something. Talking to his private counselor we expressed our concerns and thought we had something else possibly going on because of his mothers history and wanted to get a mental evaluation. His counselor was against it and became irritated when we mentioned this. He thought this behavior was all from anger that his mother hasn't tried to set up a visitation. We called over 50 psychiatrists anyways and got an appointment finally for 3 months out for a mental evaluation. We enrolled him in a preventative program with a local probation officer, and talked to the school almost daily regarding his actions there. My step son began mentioning disturbing things such as "everyone should be allowed to kill one person", wishing that the probation officer and assistant principal were dead and that their while family was dead, that he thought someone was downstairs and wished there was cause he wanted to stab someone, that he really wanted to twist off the cats head and pull off all his legs, etc. 3 weeks ago he shot my 11 year old son in the neck with an air soft riffle, breaking the skin and it was bleeding and hurt. My son told me it was an accident and later told me it was not. He sticks up for him and doesn't want him to get in trouble. I also learned from my son that he was shooting our dog with this same gun while he was in his crate. Needless to say all knives, guns, etc were removed from our house. Later that week we got a call from his friends mother in our neighborhood at 1:30am because her son was missing. We checked his room and he was also gone. The police found them walking around the neighborhood. A week later, he told me he accidentally brought a knife to school. And the next day he told me he was planning on killing our cat the next day, and his plan on drowning him in the bathtub and acting like it was because he tried to run away. I called his counselor and left a message then called his probation officer and they recommended immediately picking him up from school and bringing him to the hospital for being homicidal. We did this, and he was out in 3 days with a diagnosis of conduct disorder and a doctor script for mst services. I took off the next week of work to try to get the mst services set up just to find out they denied it since he was hommicidal Since he has been released from the hospital, we have set up security cameras in our home, put door alarms on our doors, and have keyed locks into our bedrooms. On Monday, we have a court hearing for his curfew violation and I've spoken to his prosecuting attorney already to let him know the mental health issues and begged him to help us get my step son the help he needs. At this point, it sounds like we can ask for mst services to be court ordered. Right now I'm not sure if my family is in danger. I'm afraid for the safety of my 11 year old son, myself, my husband, our dog and cat, and ,my step son. We sleep with our doors locked at night. We both work full time so the kids are here for 2 hours after school by themselves with me watching the security camera footage like a hawk. This is effecting our lives in every way. I usually don't want to come home after work because I don't want to deal with the constant arguments and tension. I've even thought about divorce even though I love my husband so much, just to protect my 11 year old son from his step brother and best friend. I'm afraid maybe I'm over reacting, and feel so guilty but I think my step son needs out of home placement for the safety of our family. He is about 7-8" taller than me, and impossible to control. He told me 2 days ago while my husband was in the shower, that if I didn't give him back his phone he was going to throw hand sanitizer on kids at school the next day. Then proceeded to tell me he knows how to summon a demon because he used the computer at school to look it up. I don't like to be home with him when My husband is not home, even when he is in the shower. I also don't want to give up on him, he already had one mother do that to him. I don't know what to do. I went to see my doctor and was prescribed Xanax just to be able to sleep at night. This is ruining my life, am I just over anxious? in those of you dealing with similar issues- is he a threat for our safety or should we try mst services at home? From what I read online out of home placements don't usually work as well as the mst service. I'm torn. Any advice warmly welcomed- thanks so much for reading if your still with me :)
  2. There is only one option in my mind. If you go to an educational consultant he would recommend his business partners. We visited a few before we went with the weekend boot camp idea. The solutions presented were always wilderness programs and boarding schools. When we checked it was the same options they recommended regardless of the problems. We of course didn’t have to choose in-patient treatment. We didn’t have siblings to protect. The weekend boot camp idea didn’t turn out good either because we no longer have contact with our now adult daughter. She has cut us off.

    You have to protect the rest of your household. He needs to live in another place to be stabilized. You have to approach the authorities and ask for help, so they have advice you finding a residential solution. Your safety and the sibling’s safety must be prioritized first.

    If it means foster care then it is that solution you must go with. It is sad news, but it is the best option considering that he is holding your entire household hostage. MST services can be fine and I am no expert but I fear that it is too late for that.
  3. Mya_416

    Mya_416 New Member

    Thank you so much for your honest opinion and sharing your experiences with me as well. I think that is what my gut is telling me also. It is a lose-lose situation anyway I look at any option. I am a natural positive thinker and always think there is a resolution where everyone can be happy and well. I think I need to readjust my expectations and go into court Monday asking for him to be stabilized at another facility if possible. There are inpatient options where I live for this. He may hate us for this, but already hates us anyways so I may as well try to get him the help he needs and protect my family at the same time.

    Hopefully someday he will understand how much we have done to try to help him. Hopefully your daughter will do the same. It's hard to comprehend everything that's happened in the last 2 months, and how far it's progressed in that short period of time. 11 months ago we couldn't be happier to have him move in with us after almost a year of fighting for him in court. I can't imagine where he would be right now if we didn't get custody when we did...
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ditto. This is a dangerous kid who has seen too much and loved too little and it doesn't go away just because he is stable now. Yes, your son is in danger. We adopted a child who did similar stuff and found out he'd been sexually abusing our two younger kids for a few years, scaring them into silence. He used knives, fire, and killed two of our dogs. On the other hand, he acted really sweet to adults, which confused us all and we knew something was wrong but did not know where to place the blame.

    The day he hung out new puppy by her leash (and this time there was no doubt it was him because the only people home were him and me) we found out about the sexual abuse and the little fires and everything else and called CPS to remove him. His diagnosis AFTEr being removed was Severe Reactive Attachment Disorder. He had no conscience, no understanding as to why he did what he did, no caring for anyone except for what we gave him materially, and no insight into himself. He wasn't guilty either. He was horrified that he got caught doing all these things, but not sorry for all of his many victims.

    For a few years our family spend many days in special therapy with our two younger ones at the county's cost...I g ive them that.They felt really badly and tried hard to help and even charged him with sexual abuse of a minor because our younger kids were six years younger than him, which is the bar for a minor when the offender himself is a minor. I think it helped that my kids know he was found guilty and that they are believed because they are both doing great,b ut it didn't have to be that way and we found out other stuff...he stole a knife and used it to scare people, he went around trying to strangle neighborhood pets, we are sure he killed my oldest daughter's cat, he set little fires on his carpet, he may have abused a disabled child at school. These children are not just a threat to us or our family but to the community at large.

    There are some children who it is too late to save by the time we get t hem. Welcome to our "system" that "helps" kids (cough, cough). Love does not fix all kids. I suggest getting him into other placement ASAP for the sake of your other boy and the community and your poor pets. In fact, I'd rehome the pets while he is there and put an alarm on his door so he can't visit your son in the middle of the night. You should probably even escort him back and forth from the bathroom at night rather than let him wander around th e house alone.

    I am sorry you are going through this. He sounds like he is in the dangerous category and needs more help than you can give him. He needs 24/7 help. He should never be left at home unattended and you can't do that. Residential treatment is an option. Foster care is an option (although I don't think it's that good of one as most foster pasterns won't be able to deal with him either). Conduct Disorder is a child's diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. If he can be helped at all, it is most likely to be where he can get 24/7 care and therapy, not in your home where he is a threat to everybody.

    Hugs to you and I'm sorry this is happening. Do think about your 11 year old. Think about your pets. Think about your own lives.
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    First off, I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. It sounds beyond difficult and you have tried to get help. I am in shock that the mental health care professionals where you live are not taking this more seriously.

    You have a right to be living in your house without fear for others and yourself.

    Right now there are so many red flags that are waving. I would agree with the others that he needs to be out of your house and he needs some serious help-perhaps living in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) (residential treatment center) at this point. I can only imagine how this is breaking your heart and I am sending prayers your way.

    For the sake of your family, I would move on this sooner than later (even though I realize this is easier said than done). It sounds like the safety of your family depends on it.
  6. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Hello Mya

    You are in a difficult situation because you are this boy's step-mother, not his birth-mother. In the UK this would mean that you do not have parental responsibilty. Any decisions about your step-son's mental health care and living arrangements, be that fostering or any other options, would have to be taken by your husband as he is the boy's father. My thoughts would be that this is probably the case in the US also, as it would be in most countries. Very litle has been said by you about his father's views and input into this terrible situation. Could you share with us what is happening between your husband and his son and between you and your husband? The buck stops with him, not you, although in your position if my husband did not take responsibility and act in everyone's best interests then I would have to consider removing my own son from the home until it was made safe.
  7. Mya_416

    Mya_416 New Member

    His father is very layed back, too much so in my opinion. But is the best man ive ever met and would do anything for anyone. This is overwhelming for him. He has finally I believe recently realized that his son needs help because he is also at his wits end. He works in the construction field and is not exactly organized or proactive, so setting up appointments with counselors, talking to the school and mental health board and county committees and household paperwork in general I've taken upon myself to get done so that it will. He gets frustrated easily latley and when I tell him I don't want to be alone in the house with my step son or my son alone with him, he hasn't taken that seriously. I sat in my car Friday after work for almost 2 hours waiting for my husband to come home so I could walk in the door. My son was at his dad's so I didn't have to worry about him, but I still did not want to be alone with him. I think he will be devastated if they rule out of home placement, but I really feel I can't take it anymore. I've already told him he will need to move out of the house with his son starting Monday night if he is not sentenced and placed monday because the fear of his retaliation after court scares me to death.
  8. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Keep posting Mya and let us know what happens on Monday. We will be thinking of you. Stay strong. Hugs.
  9. Mya_416

    Mya_416 New Member

    Thank you everyone so much for your responses. I am getting paperwork together for court tomorrow. I'm nervous but excited to finally get something accomplished. Every time we feel we take a step forward we seem to immedialtely take 2 steps back. If anyone has court advice I will gladly take it. This is my first experience. I'm guessing renting my cousin vinny won't help me now. Lol.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am not a lawyer (and don't play one on TV) and I'm guessing that the judge isn't going to watch a bunch of videos of SS, but maybe it wouldn't hurt to bring a tape of him going violent on a pet or even furniture???

    Disclaimer: I have no legal license and would never even have made admittance to law school!!!
  11. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I have a lot of experience of Family Court and County Court in the UK due to the situation with my own youngest step-daughter. I'm afraid that my experience has been that, as a step-parent, you are pretty invisible and I wasn't allowed in to any of the court hearings. All legal dealings will be with your husband. My role, I felt, was just to be there and support my husband and show that there was a strong bond and a safe happy home with us for her. (The situation was completely different as it was about protecting her from her birth-mother).

    You seem to be doing a lot of the work that your husband should be doing.
  12. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

  13. Mya_416

    Mya_416 New Member

    Thank you so much. I didn't even think about the potential that I may not even be allowed in the court room. :-(. That could cause some issues. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.
  14. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Mya,
    Welcome. I'm glad you found this forum but sad you had to.
    Your families safety comes first. I understand that this is a special situation in that you are the step-mom.

    I think you making this clear to your husband is very smart. Be prepared that you, your son and pets may be the ones who have to leave. Of course it is my hope that your husband will understand how serious this is. It can be hard on a mans ego that he cannot "fix" this type of situation.

    I too was afraid of my own son. We also had put a lock on our bedroom door. That helped somewhat, at least at night I felt I could sleep a little better until one night we awoke to find our son in our room stealing money out of my husband wallet. He managed to pick the lock. Then we installed a dead bolt. I came home from work one day to find a huge hole in the door. He had taken a hammer to break in, once again looking for money.

    With my son running away from home, ditching school and setting the field behind the school on fire, we became well acquainted with the courts and police. It was the judge who said that my son needed to be placed in a group home as it was not safe for my husband and I to have him in our home. Of course this did not happen right away. First the courts ordered us into family counseling, that went on for a year and my difficult child's behavior did not improve.

    It's good to keep records of everything and like MWM said, if you can video some of the behavior it may prove to be very helpful.

    My heart breaks for what you are dealing with but know that you are not alone. You will find good advice on these pages and lots of wonderful support.

    I'm hoping that the court will find in your favor and order him into residential treatment.

    Please let us know how things go.
  15. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I looked this up, and found that step-parents have no rights in the US just as in the UK:

    The stepparent is a "legal stranger" in most of the U.S. and has no legal right to the minor child no matter how involved in the child's life they are. The biological parents (and, where applicable, adoptive parents) hold that privilege and responsibility. If the biological parent does not give up their parental rights and custody of the child, the other parent's subsequent marriage cannot create a parental relationship without the biological parent's written consent before a "child" reaches adulthood. In most cases, the stepparent can not be ordered to pay child support.

    Stepparents generally do not have the authority to give legal consent to medical treatment for a stepchild, unless the stepparent has legally adopted the child or been designated a legal guardian. A child's parents or legal guardians may sign a statement authorizing a third party to consent to medical care.

    It's difficult to take a step back when you are so involved in your step-child's life and when he is living with you full-time, but I think your husband needs to step up and you would be better off taking a backseat position as I think the courts may be unlikely to acknowledge your input or opinions.
  16. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    I wonder if when Mya and her husband were fighting for custody, that she became step sons legal guardian?

    Anyway, please let us know how it went today Mya when you can.
  17. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Yes maybe that's possible. I don't know how the system works in the US. Custody doesn't exist in the UK. We have Residence Orders which say where a child should live, but they don't affect parental responsibility. Removing parental responsibility from a parent, even one who hasn't seen the child for many years, is very rare and would only happen in extreme cases here. For a step-parent to gain parental responsibilty this would have to be agreed by the absent parent and approved by the court. A step-parent could apply to adopt, but that would only happen with the consent of the absent parent and can be very difficult to achieve in other cases.
  18. Mya_416

    Mya_416 New Member

    We have had an exhausting day but accomplished a lot. We did get court ordered out of home placement for intensive counseling. It's a program that he has to finish and may last 90 days or more, depending on him and this progress, then when he is safe enough to return home and has completed the program we will get the mst services. So this was a very large victory.

    He is not talking to us. I hope that changes soon. My husband is upset but knows this is for the best for everyone.

    They had children services obtain custody temporarily for financial purposes, I've heard this is the best way to accomplish services.

    Question- he was supposed to go direct into an institution today and instead was placed temporarily into a group home. I don't know anything about group homes. Is this normal?
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Maybe they didn't have a bed at the other place yet or they are evaluating him.

    Congrats on your big victory!
  20. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Mya,
    Thanks for the update. I'm glad you had some progress today.

    My difficult child was place in several group homes. It is a controlled environment, very structured. The ones my son was in also had onsite counselors. In your situation it just may be that they are waiting for a spot to open up for him and that is why they are placing him in a group home now.

    I wish I could tell you it get easier from here but the truth is you have a tough road ahead of you. While he is out your home you will rest easier but you still need to make sure you are taking care of yourself. This kind of thing can put a great strain on a marriage so be good to one another, make sure to take some "couple time"

    Are you getting any counseling for yourself? It's something you might want to consider.

    Sending you hugs!!