The county meeting

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It was horrible. I should have known. Our county just doesn't have people in it who handle things like they do in other places. They had someone there from DSS, SD, 3 people from the funding agency, 2 from mental health, someone from Department of Juvenile Justice plus the PO.

    It started with them referring to the MDT meeting that the school had with them last week. The people from Department of Juvenile Justice had my request to the judge with my letter and letters from psychiatrist/therapist- I'm not sure if everyone had copies of that or not. Anyway, it appeared that between already having the sd's opinion that difficult child is no problem anymore at school and that it was because of the behavioral strategies they had in place (they have none in place- MS's and dealing with him differently turned his behavior around at school), and the determination that all this was just a behavior problem with difficult child at home that would not exist if I had been willing to work with the MST guy that had been ordered 18 mos ago- they had their minds made up. That letter I wrote to the judge listed each agencies' repsonses to my requests for help (which were all to turn me to a different direction) and it was clearly copied to the state office of protection & advocacy. Anyway, one guy from the funding agency flew all over me. I was bombarded with questions and not given time to answer. It was a horrible experience.

    Some things said : DSS said that they would not put difficult child in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and "did I not understand that he would be around other mentally ill teens and learn much worse behavior and that placement outside the home was an extremely traumatic event for a child, much less placement in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC)". I said it would be a lot more traumatic and he'll learn a lot worse if he's in the state correctional facility; and where will he end up if he stabs me in 2 weeks? Then she made issue over me not telling the PO that difficult child had put a knife in my face.

    The guy from funding kept going on and on about difficult child just needing behavior modification. I tried to explain about mood cycling and that this was brought on by difficult child's medication changes trying to address depression in October. They all just ignored me- even the mental health people. The mental health person asked if I had difficult child do chores at home (DUH! And how would that make a difference in our crisis situation anyway?) Then she asked if I thought that difficult child should never be punished for things and couldn't learn anything because he had a BiPolar (BP) diagnosis. I said "No, I understand that there is a behavior compoonent to this- but it's only one component and addressing that alone will NEVER solve our current problems". I also said there had been several tdocs in the past who said they cannot help us until medications stabilize difficult child's cycling. And that difficult child does not exhibit behaviors like this when he's stable. (Why is it that NO ONE ever wants to believe that?)

    The funding guy (I wonder what his role really is) said well, they think the behavior needs to be addressed first. I said good luck. I said difficult child needed more psychiatrist care, more often, to get stabilized and no behavior contract would ever do that. The guy said that difficult child wouldn't see a psychiatrist any more often in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or a psychiatric hospital. I said that I know for a fact that he would if it was a psychiatric facility. I said difficult child needed to learn how to manage his illness and urges and prevent cycling as much as possible and behavioral tdocs were not going to teach that because we've been trying that for 3 years and it hasn't solved the problem yet. The guy said something like what do I do when difficult child gets up in the mornings and says he isn't going to go to school. I told him that isn't what is happening- that difficult child stays awake for 2 days being erratic or going from extreme highs to extreme lows then completely crashes for 2 days and can't be woken to a coherent state.. Then I said something about sharp objects and difficult child cutting himself before and the guy said I might have to lock that stuff up. I said I can't lock every household item up that can be used for cutting or stabbing and he said yes I could and I might just have to. This guy doesn't have a clue and is just looking to blame me and if we got any therapist from them, he would show up with the same attitude and approach. Just like the mst guy.

    He said they would either give me in home therapy or MST- which I had gone to court over last year to get rid of. I told him I AM NOT doing Mst again. PO said I never gave it a chance and DSS said what a wonderful therapist the mst guy was and that he was very qualified in BiPolar (BP). (OH- BS) I said he showed up to do nothing but a behavior contract and didn't even stay consistent with what we were doing from one visit to another and that I had gone to the specialty clinic at the teaching psychiatric hospital and had difficult child evaluation'd and had written recommendations of what treatment he should be getting and mst was not it. The guy looked at a person from mental health and said "what do you recommend- intensive in home therapy or mst". She rolled her eyes and said at this point, intensive in home.

    I said well, even if that takes care of one component, now, who's going to put food on the table? They told me to take it or leave it and I could choose between getting that funded through the county team or dept of corrections. I asked if they could tell me what exactly they meant by in home therapy and what it would involve and what would happen if there was a personality conflict between me and the therapist or if this didn't work. The only answer I got was that if nothing else worked then someday down the road they might look at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) as an option.

    I said well, I can't afford to do it. I can't meet the demands I have and I can't commit to more time with tdocs every week. So, how do I see about getting difficult child into foster care or a shelter. DSS lady said go to judge and get judge to order it and judge will take away all my parental rights, order me to pay extremely high child support, order me to do a bunch of stuff and order in home therapy for difficult child until she determines if difficult child can ever come back home, then she chuckled. The guy from Department of Juvenile Justice said yep, the judge will order you to pay for a lot. I said she (the judge) can order away and you might as well put me in jail now because you can't get blood from a turnip and I have nothing left that I can give.

    They said it was my choice- if I go through county team then I have to pay co-pays, if I go thru corrections, then I don't have to pay co-pays- but in home therapy is all they are offering. Then the guy from Department of Juvenile Justice said if I had the in-home, and something happened at home with difficult child pulling a knife that I could call 911, they would get cops to my house and cops would call mental health, who would call the in home people, who would send someone to my house. I said I can call 911 now and get cops to my house. So, the crisis help would be ultimately getting them to my house, after doing what I'm already doing anyway? It seemed more than clear by that point that they were trying to force me to put this in Department of Juvenile Justice's hands and not get funding through county team. They did say if I chose in home through county team that there would be a meeting to see if they would fund it. I'm not sure how different, if any , that would be.

    Then,they said again "well, that's it- I could let them know by contacting PO". I said well, I might as well leave, I can't commit to anymore because as I said, I can't meet the demands I already have. Then, as a lady from funding was walking me out, I asked her how to start the process to ask judge to place difficult child somehwere else. She told me go to intake at Department of Juvenile Justice. (This is where my friendly lady is that I met last week- the one with the BiPolar (BP) hubby). I guess I'll go down there in the morning.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
  2. Janna

    Janna New Member

    I can tell you, from my own experiences, it sounds like you are backed into a corner, with nowhere to go.

    #1, if your difficult child does go to foster care, you WILL pay out of your rear end. If you don't pay, you will be found in contempt. If you don't comply with the contempt order, you will be sentenced. If you cannot pay, at least something, you will go to jail. I just got out of a sentencing, because B was in Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) 8 months, and I had to pay (he was in the custody of probation). I owe them, now $1500, but HAD to pay $270 or go to jail. The judges don't care. The Domestic Relations people don't care. You're ordered, that's it, you don't pay, you're in contempt. I have 2 very high special needs children here and NO job, and they just did not care at all.

    #2, the chances of you getting an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement for a Bipolar child, getting a therapist, staff and psychiatrist that ALL are understanding of childhood Bipolar and able to treat him, medicinally, appropriately - good luck. Our psychiatrist at the most previous Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) D attended (8 months he was there) spent TEN minutes with him ONCE per month. Yep, that's it. It's NOT what you think, they don't work as hard as you think, and Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) really, truly is a glorified playground. I've had 2 kids in four different ones. There's nothing great - AND - they will just send him out with more behavior modification interventions when he's done. And, there is no guarantee Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) is a cure. If the child does NOT want to change, Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) does nothing. And no medications "cure" anything.

    #3, I'd just go with the recommendations. You may think they're BS. You may think the therapist is BS. Start writing down EVERYTHING. What you talk about. What the therapist is offering. What you're trying. What you're doing (behavior mod wise). What works, when it doesn't work, write it down. Stick with it - for a good while. Behavior mod bites the big one - but you and everyone else with you today was right, it's necessary. I'm huge on behavior mod. I have a really complex kid - and I'm gonna tell ya, I busted TAIL doing behavior mod with him, and in 2006, his ODD diagnosis was removed. Gone. Never come back. He can be Autistic and he can have a mood disorder, and he may be ADHD, and he may be an ultra rapid cycler, and he may have Borderline Intellectual Functioning (BIF) and NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) and the whole nine, but he can LISTEN. And, he does. And, it was the hardest work I ever did in my life. AND I believe in it.

    I am very sorry you are having such a hard time with this. Like I said, you sound backed into a corner - wish I had more.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm preparing myself to go to jail. I do realize that medications don't cure BiPolar (BP).
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Klmno, I hate to say it, but I pretty much expected that.
    I wonder what they talked about together before they got together with-you? I mean, there was clearly an agenda.
    Just do what you have to do.
    Sounds like Janna has some great experience. I have no experience with-either county funding or RTCs, so all I can say is, be good to yourself tonight, soak in the tub, and prepare for what you have to do.
  5. Janna

    Janna New Member

    Just another thought, too - foster care isn't all it's cracked up to be either (been there also - 5 of them over 3 years LMAO! geez - my life's been busy).

    Don't get me wrong. There are foster care parents that are totally devoted to what they do. And then there are the ones that aren't.

    And, when you sign your child into foster care, you should know there are court hearings every 6 months. The goal is always (unless the paternal home is abusive) reunification. So, if difficult child goes to foster home, he does splendid, you go back to court in 6 months and they send him home. If you haven't made the changes in *your* home to make his reunification successful, you're right back to square one.

    I'm curious, what behavior modification plans have you tried?
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    You know, it was a little funny that PO only said 2 things the entire meeting. Well, 3 including her statement that I never gave mst a chance. One was that she said I HAD told her that difficult child had swung a knife around in front of me, or something luike that, when DSS lady accused me of not keeping PO informed. And the other was ridiculous- the PO told the team that I seemed to have the impression that Department of Juvenile Justice was just the PO and Department of Juvenile Justice was just there for punishment. Well, if I didn't have that impression before, what exactly has this PO done besides that?
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I'm sorry that I don't have any experience with what you are going through and cannot offer you words of advice. I can offer you support though. It really sounds like they have you backed in a corner. Stay strong.

  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    And if my son stabs me- is that because appropriate behavior modification was not in place? What would appropriate behavior modifcation be- filing charges? ok, I don't need them to tell me that. But that gets him no mental health treatment. DSS is worried about keeping difficult child in LRE. in my humble opinion, Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is the LRE. It is better than state corrections (juvy detention) and at least he'd get some therapeutic and psychiatrist care. If I file charges, he gets state juvy, not Residential Treatment Center (RTC). But these people seemed to not believe anything I said. They had told me to bring documentation, which I did. I'd get asked a question, start to pull out a document, and instead of someone looking at it or taking it from me, I'd get ask another question.

    That guy- whoever he was- also said something about difficult child needing truancy charges. Well, how is that going to help our crisis? People here who know all the areas that we are in crisis mode know that more charges aren't going to solve this, unless the goal is just to get difficult child in state juvy.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
  9. Nancy423

    Nancy423 do I have to be the mom?

    And there were such high hopes for today's sorry it was a HUGE let down. sounded like everyone already had their minds made up before the meeting even started. Just makes me want to SCREAM!

  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Aaarrgh! They just rolled right over you and shoved their solution down your throat! How incredibly frustrating! I am SO, SO SORRY you are going through this. Wish I could offer more. :(
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Wow, I am so very sorry. This meeting HOOVERED! It sounds like they had a plan before they came into the meeting and the meeting was designed to bully you into doing what they wanted.

    I am just so shocked that they simply do not care. Why are these people in this field when they so clearly don't care about kids??

    Keep a journal of EVERYTHING. Also, go to an office supply store and get a carbonless order pad with 3 pages. The kind when you write on the white page then 2 other pages get your writing on them. Use this to make notes to send to anyone who works with you. Use it to write down chores and things for difficult child. KEEP the original in a file, give one color to difficult child or the person you are dealing with and keep the second sheet in a separate place so that you have it to refer to if something "mysteriously" happens to the copies in the main file.

    This will let you document what you told difficult child and the various people, and keep an extra record in case they go through things to find out what you are keeping.

    Sending gentle hugs,


    ps. No experience with "Residential Treatment Center (RTC)" but Wiz was in a long term psychiatric hospital for 4 motnhs and saw the psychiatrist weekly and had at least 2 kinds of therapy each day in addition to school and enforced hygeine (they had same sex orderlies supervise to make sure the guys were not jsut getting wet.)

    If you can contact various branches of local hospitals to find out who has a long term care psychiatric hospital you might be able to get some help there.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Susie, but there is no mental health care accessible to us, more than out patient. The sw at the psychiatric hospital checked with my insurance co and they don't cover any more than acute stays at psychiatric hospital. This has me in so much pain and turmoil. All they wanted to discuss was behavioral managemnt- no real mental health care at all.

    What do I tell difficult child the next time he's pulling his hair out and crying and telling me that he can't satnd his life, that it's overwhelming and that he doesn't want to live it and that he's sorry he has ruined his life and my life and destroyed the house and that the psychiatric hospital stay doesn't help and therapist is a waste of time? I had been telling him that I was doing everything in my power to get him more help, just hang on a little longer. Now, I feel I can't say anything- I can't tell him that there is no more help.
  13. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I'm really sorry. I wish I had advice, but I'm not experienced in situations like this. I do know that any child wielding a knife is not stable by any stretch of the imagination and needs treatment, not juvy.

    I was wondering:
    How often are you seeing current psychiatrist?
    Is Tegretol making a difference?
    Has he been in school and how is that going?
  14. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I am so, so sorry. I hoped this would be the meeting where they finally heard what you were saying. I wish I had some helpful advice.
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    He sees psychiatrist for 15 min appts every few weeks at most. I thought it was the tegretol helping- but now I'm not sure. He had a major increase in dosage at his last psychiatric hospital stay but was still aggressive and cycling the first couple of days he came home. Then, he was great for 3 1/2 days, then burst into aggression and staying up all night Sun. He slept most of yesterday, stayed up all night, went to school today. He's sleeping now but woke up to eat. Today was the first day he's gone to school before this last psychiatric hospital stay. Marg brought up an interesting point about Naltrexone on another thread, and I'm wondering if that might have contributed to the aggression. He ran out of it so he hasn't had it for 2 days. It was given to him to stop endorphine release to help him stop cutting.

    Our crisis at home though includes my financial crisis from having to stay home from work and supervise him. The house is a disaster- he has nearly wrecked it and I can't afford to get it fixed. He needs a mentor along with supervision. There's so much in a disastrous state right now- I can't believe anyone could possibly really believe that a behavior contract is going to turn this around- I can't even make this mos bills.

    It appeaars that SD doesn't want to get blamed for anything and definitely doesn't want to pay for anything. DSS doesn't want involved and they want to put everything in the hands of Department of Juvenile Justice. It's all a joke. I looked up what our county mental health offers for in home therapy. Other than MST, they have an in home but it's for 4-12 yo with psychiatric disorders (so it says) but it's only a therapist coming to home up to 4 times a week or something like that. None of the other services that most extenive in home services have available. Plus- he's 14yo, not 4-12.

    I wish we had a child/adolescent psychiatrist around here who did counseling for BiPolar (BP). I wish we could have found one a year ago. I feel it is neglectful and unsafe and a risk to keep difficult child in the home under these circumstances. Plus, we cannot get things turned around without some major intervention and I seriously cannot take ONE MORE demand on me right now. I'm so far in the hole from not being able to meet the demands I already had that if I started tomorrow with a perfect situation, it would take me until difficult child is out of high school, at least, to even see above water.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
  16. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    klmno, can you meet with psychiatrist alone and lay it on the line? Something needs to give with the medications. Believe me, I had to put J into day treatment for 6 weeks because his psychiatrist was stuck about what he should try next. A fresh set of eyes watching J day after day really made a difference.

    Maybe Naltrexone was activating him. I hope things settle down.
  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    No psychiatric hospital around here does day treatment- I tried last spring. (They call it partial hospitalization around here). psychiatrist is odd on this- he says it might take him 3 years to find a good medication combo and says difficult child needs a therapist to help him learn to manage this. But, tdocs that we've seen only do behavior aspects and don't have the first conversation or effort to help difficult child with cycling prevention, etc. Then, if I say something to pdioc about it, he just says that there is a behvaior component and difficult child needs to learn his lesson.
  18. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    I am so sorry that the meeting ended so horribly. It definitely sounds like you were backed into a corner. I can definitely understand your concerns. Juvy would only do more harm than good and you are trying to avoid that at all cost which is why you think Residential Treatment Center (RTC) would be the best option at this point. Its so hard to get people to understand, especially because they are on the outside looking in. It just seems so black and white to others but its not. I wish I could offer you advice but I have no experience in this situation. If I do happen to run across some information that will be useful to you, I will be sure to post it here for you. Until then, you and your difficult child are in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs!
  19. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Can you find a new psychiatrist? Or get a second opinion?
  20. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I had asked around a lttle before this meeting and couldn't find one with any openings, then I decided to wait and see how today went. My own therapist said there is a new psychiatrist just starting out who might be able to take a patient for medication management and counseling. I'm a little leary to call- he's brand new and I'm not sure he even is child/adolescent certified, mush less how much experience he has. On top of that, he's 20 mins away. And, of course, it's revolving all my time around difficult child's mental health needs/supervision/meetings/appts that have me financially desparate- so I cannot keep spending all my time on this or I won;t be putting food on the table. I started to ask them today if this in home person would be willing to meet us in a car if we had no home. I did tell them that if this had been offered before instead of mst, it might have been able to help save us from this situation, but now, I simply could not go on this way.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009