The Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) Just Ain't Cuttin' It


New Member
Well, I think I've had my fill. Monday will be 4 weeks in, and I've had enough already.

For you guys following along ~ here's a recap:

1st week ~ wouldn't give Dylan his overnight diapers, allowed him to sleep in a SOAKING bed, a week and a half straight, with no diaper.

2nd week ~ after countless requests to make sure he is reminded to have bowel movements, 2 weeks, one bm because staff didn't follow my request for this either.

Therapy appts over the phone. First one went as scheduled. 2nd one, she was 25 minutes late, didn't bother to call me. I had to call her (she made it clear SHE would call ME). Said they sent for Dylan, and they were all running late. This week, our appointment was Tuesday at 12. No call, 12:15. No call, 12:25. I called her, she forgot our appointment. FORGOT our therapy appointment.

The psychiatrist has yet to do anything with medications at all. Actually, he hasn't even contacted me. He conveniently doesn't have voice mail at the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) either, but a secretary or assistant or nurse of some sorts. I spoke with her last week, she said Dylan was to see psychiatrist this week, and she would call me DURING the appointment. So, today, Friday, I wonder why no call. Well, she's on vacation this week LMAO! WHY say she's gonna call then?

Last week we go to the ISP meeting. This is at the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF). Basically, a review of goals. Now, I have, in my possession, the full psychiatric evaluation from our psychiatrist (not the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) one, our real one). It states Axis I, Bipolar, not otherwise specified, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, ADHD. Know what the new psychiatrist put on? Keep in mind, he's spent 38 minutes with my son. New Axis I ~ Bipolar, not otherwise specified, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, ADHD/ODD. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA ODD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHA~

I told her if she didn't remove the ODD I was pulling Dylan from the program.

There is also a claim in the paperwork of physical abuse. It doesn't state by whom, where the warrant comes from, but it was put there by the psychiatrist. Why? The therapist, my main contact, cannot answer that for me. I told her she better get it clarified, or have it off. Immediately.

Dylan is "the least of anyones problem" in the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF). This is per the house staff that lives with him. Three staff have already asked me why he is there. Why, you ask? Because the other 11 children are beating up staff, throwing things around the house, not listening, being defiant, and aggressive. One of the staff, this week, is having nose surgery, because one of the boys head butted her so hard it sent her nose bone (forget what that's called) up into her head. Nice, huh?

I have a therapist that thinks all her conglomerated behavioral blah blah blah is the cure for my son, a psychiatrist that has NO contact with me, and a parent that, unlike all the others, really does care, and is getting nowhere.

You know, all I wanted was someone to help him with the shutting down stuff, the anger/aggression stuff, and help get his medications right. This place is designed for kids that don't have parents, don't listen to their parents, and need full, new behavior mod. My kid isn't that. And Gosh Darnit to that stupid psychiatrist for trying to stick that label on him. I'm sorry, it's just funny. So those that wanna argue the ODD thing with me, funny how it took him 38 minutes to decide that (for those that don't know me, he was diagnosis'ed ODD, we cured it, and it was removed in 2006 from his Axis completely).


Thanks for reading if you got this far.


Active Member
Sorry it's been such a disappointment, Janna. I'm wondering if an emotional growth boarding school wouldn't be a better fit for his needs.

Stella Johnson

Active Member
Sounds like a type of Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) that a friend had her son in. THe kids were almost all foster children that no one else could handle.

I think I would find another Residential Treatment Facility (RTF). How did you find this one? Sorry, I haven't been around much lately.

Hope things get worked out.



New Member
Janna: I'm so sorry you're going through this, I know you had high hopes for this Residential Treatment Facility (RTF). Just shows things can look great on paper, but you still never know until you're there. I hope things get better.

Just curious...did you have a choice when placing your son in the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF)? or is this the only one available?

Thank God your son has you to fight for him!!!

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I'm sorry this Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) isn't all it was made out to be. I can more than understand your frustration and worries. Many gentle hugs.


Well-Known Member

lots of hugs to you and to Dylan. Sounds like this place is not the help you were all expecting. I cannot believe it has been four weeks already! Are you going to pull him?

I will keep Dylan in my thoughts and prayers.



New Member
Yeah, everything always looks good on paper, I guess.

I think if you have a difficult child that is totally out of control, fully defiant, doesn't follow rules, and you have problems enforcing rules or you, yourself, need help with that as well, the program would be cool. Thing is, Dylan's not that severe. Not even close. I thought he was pretty bad off LOL! No, not anywhere near it. This has been an eye opener for me.

The Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) is in the town I live in. It's the only theraputic based thing around that I could find. I think Dylan needs the therapy. He needs someone to follow him around 24/7 when he decides to go flat, or explode, and teach him how to deal with that differently.

Obviously, now, he's honeymooning, and I'm sure the time is gonna come when they are going to be able to help intervene. The problem is, he's so hypomanic/hyperactive/impulsive because nobody is treating him with medication, that he isn't able to follow along. I made it very clear today to the therapist that if medication isn't 50% of his treatment, I have no use for the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF). I made this clear before we ever walked in the door. I'm all for therapy. I'm gung ho for it. But he needs medications. And if they won't medicate, we may as well just bring him home.

Plus, the therapist is a dope.

The program is voluntary. I could walk in there tonight and grab his stuff and go. I signed a paper that I would be gracious and give 72 hours notice should I decide to remove him from the program, and would consider that, however, I don't see benefits at this point. I am VERY uncomfortable having a psychiatrist that doesn't communicate. I mean, VERY, very. And yeah, Sharon, if the psychiatrist won't have communications with me, I'm pulling him for sure. I'm not cool with that, end of story. As far as the ODD thing goes, yes, if they don't remove it, I'm taking him out too. I didn't ask them for diagnosis. I asked them to help US, my TEAM, me, my family, my psychiatrist, TREAT him. I didn't need another "label" from some bozo.

Thanks guys. Just a little PO'ed over the whole thing.


New Member

I don't know your whole story, but I don't think your expectations for a licensed, accredited Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) to provide for your son's basic personal hygiene, safety, medical and therapeutic needs is expecting too much. I imagine you spent HOURS filling out forms, recalling every detail that you thought might help with his situation so that the staff and his team stood a decent chance to bring about the changes you know he needs.

However, he was most likely placed in a facility that must spend a great deal of time with fundraising and grant writing. To top that off, they are up to their ears in bureaucratic red tape from the federal, state, and local governments. Then there is the internal processes, house rules, etc. that all manage to get in the way of the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF)'s mission statement, which is probably something like, "Working together toward a bright future for at risk children." These places are not used to dealing with good parents. Period.

I spent over 90 days batting my head against the wall to get the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that N* was placed at (court ordered) to listen to me. All of these places have Boards of Directors. Call one of them. Keep calling until someone listens to you and takes you seriously. I was one more incident away from calling a newspaper reporter I know to do a little investigative work on this facility. I knew a little bad publicity would go farther than a civil court case that could have taken years.

Fight the good fight!


timer lady

Queen of Hearts

I'm sure you spent hours helping create a treatment & care plan for your difficult child. And I'm sure the members on your team worked hard to add input from observation of the first month of difficult children stay there.

And there are times when a facility just isn't a good fit.

Having said that & before you move difficult child, I'd like to ask if you have a back up plan? While I'd be more than a bit miffed at some of the things that difficult child has lived through while there - do you have other options on hand?

I'm always ready to throw a dose of reality into the picture here. I've reacted one too many times with-o considering the end results to not remind you of this.


Active Member
Hi Janna~

While I never utilized a Residential Treatment Facility (RTF), my daughter did spend considerable time in mental health facilities and sixteen months in an EGBS.

As you are quickly figuring out our mental health facilities are often sub standard. They warehouse kids. Period. My daughter received very little therapeutic input. She did see a psychiatrist once (each stay) who tweaked her medications. There were no studies ... no ongoing therapy. And our 'family therapy' consisted of talking over the discharge plans. Our daughter told her 'therapist' that she did not feel ready to come home. That she was still a danger to herself. They discharged her anyway. My expectations were too high.

Her boarding school was a little better. But there are many problems inherent with that as well. I wouldn't do it again.

Based on MY experience, there is not really good inpatient care for kids. The sad truth is that our institutions simply warehouse ...

I don't know your sons struggles. If he were mine ... with the luxury I have of hindsight, I'd bring him home. I would find every possible community resource available to him ... and go from there.

I'm so sorry. One would think there would be better solutions.


Active Member
I'm so sorry this isn't working out. Your instincts have been right in the past - trust them. However, as Linda said, don't do anything too hastily - what about her suggestion to call someone on the Board? You need answers, your child is a square peg who shouldn't be crammed into a round hole that doesn't fit.

Other than that, I can't help much because we just don't have anything like Residential Treatment Facility (RTF), I have absolutely no experience here.



Well-Known Member
Janna, have you considered that Dylan was acting defiant with psychiatrist? Otherwise where would he have come up with ODD?


Well-Known Member
Janna, Wendy may have an excellent point. I seem to remember that ODD was removed from Dylan's axis because it just fell away once he was properly medicated. Is it possible it has reared it's ugly head once again since he is no longer properly medicated?


Active Member
It's also possible that ODD as part of a diagnosis is subject to interpretation. I'm helping a parent through the evaluation process and the child was originally diagnosed with ODD and the new specialist rediagnosed with ADHD/Executive Function Disorder. Same kid, same behaviors, different interpretation.

Sara PA

New Member

If you think "someone [needs] to follow him around 24/7 when he decides to go flat, or explode, and teach him how to deal with that differently" and you thought that would happen there you were expecting far too much. Those places have staff who have their hands full running the household, programs and dealing with a houseful(or caseload) of kids with problems -- many, as you have noted, more severe than Dylan's. It's like most other places in the world -- the squeaky wheel gets the oil. If anyone led you to believe that he would get continuous one-on-one treatment, s/he should lose her job.

And frankly, parents aren't always highly respected by staff at places like that. The idea lingers that most kids are there because of bad parenting.


Hi Janna,
when we sent difficult child 1 to her Residential Treatment Center (RTC) we used an educational consultant. We had to send her thousands of miles away (from NY to Utah) to get the right fit. Also, it cost about 7000.00 a month--we took out a 70,000 loan to pay for it. The kids there were all from "good" families--families who cared, who wanted to help their kids, etc. Was it worth it to send her there? She relapsed and was worse than ever when she returned home despite excellent care and therapy. She couldn't seem to transfer her skills to the real world.

Her next Residential Treatment Center (RTC) was in our state--a dual diagnosis facility. The cost was only about $800.00 a month--they used the survivors' benefits she received from her father's death. It was a pretty rough place and I would never have sent her there without her having been at her previous Residential Treatment Center (RTC) first. But, she thrived there and got her GED. She said the supervision wasn't as good, they were able to sneak contraband in, if you didn't really want to work the program they didn't force you to--very easy to fake your way through.

So, what the heck is my point?! I've forgotten by now! From the sounds of it your son is not in a good place. I think you have to be very careful and really do your research or hire someone who knows these places and knows the good ones. Your son is so young--our dtr was 16 when she went to her first Residential Treatment Center (RTC) so sending her across the country was hard but not that hard. In fact, having her so far away made it easier to not go rescue her when she tried to manipulate her way home.

I really feel for you--I would certainly be ready to pull my kid from that place based on what you have said here.