There were so many responses to the post I wrote about the Myths of Residential Treatment that I thought I would address some of the comments.
First I'd like people to understand that I really had only one point in writing it. I don't want people to have to endure the things that we have had to live through because of the decisions we made to put our kids into residential. We have pretty strong evidence at the moment that the RTC decisions we made did not serve our kids well. The two that spent the longest time there are currently incarcerated and have fathered children, one born and one unborn. The third that was there for a few weeks was pregnant at sixteen and even though doing well, is not in a place where she is happy.
So this is a personal thing for me and seems to have become my mantra in the past few months -- helping people benefit from the mistakes Bart and I made. But I must point out that we didn't feel that we had any other options and we made the best decisions we could knowing what we knew then. But I really I don't want others to go through what we have, knowing what we do now.
But my main point of this post is to address the comments made and continue the discussion we've started.
First, we obviously understand parenting difficult children and how sometimes the only answer for the family system is to place a child out of the home. We did it twice by our choice. So if it sounds like I'm stating that nobody should do it, I get why people have to ... but in looking back, and based on comments here, I see how many people regret their decisions because of the damage it has done on the relationship. It may be a person's only choice, but there will be ramifications.
Secondly, I think Tubaville Quilts and DF made great observations when they talked about how there is a huge gap there that needs filling. There are no services between a few hours of PCA (if you're very lucky with the new laws) and Residential. Something to help families during crisis that doesn't involve giving temporary custody and decision making power to the county that may never be returned. It's a huge risk and we need something in between.
Third, the statement "Maybe I could check MYSELF into a RTC?" made me think about how awesome it would be to have a place where parents could go -- while their kids were somewhere safe -- for more than just a night. Where they would KNOW that their kids were fine and they could truly relax for a week or so. And while the parents were in that setting they could meet other parents who have learned other approaches that might work and brainstorm ideas and feel renewed. There have been weekend retreats that have been sponsored that are wonderful, but I just don't think that a weekend is enough -- and often only one parent can attend. DF and I were talking yesterday about a respite house... I'm wondering if this is something that an Orphan and Adoption Care ministry might undertake as a project... and my wheels have been turning.
Fourth, those of you who have been in and work in RTCs have validated. I really appreciate the insider perspectives of Anastasia and Psychesick. But I was kind of hoping for someone to jump in and really defend RTCs and give me examples of ones that are working, so thanks to Kathleen for providing some of that.
Not intending to leave anyone out who commented, but just wanted to continue the discussion. What can be done for families who are parenting VERY hard children and need something more? What programs are out there? What programs should be created?