Update after court and request for input

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by exhausted, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Today was our daughter's review court hearing. Things went well. She was so cheerful and upbeat. She had strait A's on her report card and was back on level three (after 3 tough weeks). She is making progress with working through her abuse history and learning the DBT skills that will save her life if they become ingrained.

    This is a tough judge, so we were worried because we have had to do some very heavy advocacy for her in this placement, we are not at all trusting or satisfied with the "unskilled workers", or bouncers as I call them, that spend so much time with our girl. We did not want her removed, just issues worked out. It could have gone either way-he could have said "Hey, you don't like it, we are removing her".

    To my surprize, he questioned the JJS worker about what the fascility was doing with the girls who were bullying my daughter. He wanted to be sure they were being held accountable. He told our daughter, "A_____, kids can be mean. I see the worst of the worst. You are in this place with some of them. I know you are not mean. If you can get through this with these girls and not let them hurt you, you can survive anywhere." :choir:

    The therapist had written in the report that, " A________ has the ability to get her parents upset about things so that they become over-protective. This will hinder her progress in therapy. We are continuing to work on this in family sessions (HELL she SAYS!) and it is likely they will need continued support with this. A_______ needs to work out problems on her own and advocate for her own needs without parental assistance."

    Judge completely ignored it-praised our parental involvement, told our daughter she had turned his bad day into a great day. He also told her he would pay her for every A she got at the end of this summer quarter! I am way happy about today, with one stubborn caveat, I can't get out of my mind...

    So... I have really struggled with when to intervene and when to give my difficult child responsibilty. I always say, "What are you going to do?" But in these institutions, it has almost always fallen on deaf ears. I have had to intervene for health and safety (absessed tooth, sinus infection, strep, shame and humiliation inflicted on her about eating, bullying which was unaddressed until we intervened etc.). I know that I should not continue to ruminate about this, several of you have told me I'm doing the right thing, but this is our last chance and I don't want to "interfere" with her progress. I am going to continue to document, take pictures,and even use a voice recorder, but what experiences have you had in these RTCs and state institutions? How did you address them?
  2. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Glad to hear court went well. A should be proud of her grades and her ability to get back on level in spite of challenges. Really, she's doing *great*. I'm tickled that the judge was appreciative of her work and let her know that she's doing well.

    I think you need to look at the above quote as if it were an IEP goal, and as an IEP goal, it fails epically. " A_______ needs to work out problems on her own and advocate for her own needs without parental assistance." Using what steps? How will it be measured? Who is responsible for assisting her in learning/implementing those steps? Since you have had to (appropriately) intervene when her "problems" are not getting addressed, because those problems relate to her safety and well-being, what safety net (besides you) is in place?

    I personally don't think you're going to interfere with- her progress if you intervene when her concerns are not being addressed. It's a fine line - you want to coach her to learn how to problem solve and advocate for herself, but at the same time, especially in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) setting (in my experience anyway), clients' concerns may not be taken seriously by staff and sometimes it takes big bad Momma setting a few posteriors on fire to get things taken care of. Again, not something you should apologize for. If therapist has a problem with- it, she needs to be more proactive in coaching A and following up on issues (followup was always a very iffy proposition with- our Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff).

    Therapist thinks you should trust Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff. Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff has already shown that they are *not* responsive to A's concerns, and therefore in my book not worthy of blanket trust. I think included in above goal should be some measurements of *staff* response. "When A brings a medical concern to staff, staff will arrange for appropriate medical evaluation within 24 hours, 5 out of 5 trials." Ditto concerns re: harassment, etc.

    It's a 2-way street.

    I've got a 20-year-old who still can't advocate his way out of a paper bag. He will at least *try* now, but ... his usual strategy is to just skip it. I'm working with- him lately on following thru. Yes, I'm still intervening most of the time but he's by my side now and hopefully learning as we go through the steps. And we talk a lot about how to solve XYZ - steps, jumping through hoops, etc. Extremely slow progress, but baby steps.

    When all is said and done, the #1 priority is the safety and well-being of A. If she can't advocate effectively for herself, and if staff can't/won't take the time to lead her thru the steps and address her concerns appropriately, you must intervene.

    ETA: How did I address concerns? I called. In most of thank you's settings, there was usually 1 person who I knew would address a problem. Vast majority were medical issues, and I have zero tolerance for putzing around. If the problem wasn't addressed pronto, I would take thank you to an outside medical provider (did that several times - goiter that staff RN was blowing off turned out to be lithium-induced - actually made them call staff psychiatrist on a Sunday with I found that lithium taper as prescribed by endocrinologist was not being followed; toe cellulitis that staff RN was ignoring; an episode of what I think was food poisoning where we ended up taking him to ER; etc.).
  3. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Thank you so much for responding. I like thinking about this as an IEP goal. I agree that they should be walking her through. She actually has learned a process for asking for what she wants called DEARMAN (an acronym for all the steps). It's not appropriate for medical stuff. I also have seen no evidence of reinforcement of using this skill-she hasn't gotten one thing she's asked for!