The System Sucks  

Monday, October 27, 2008

My friend Anna has written about her journey with her two children for the last six years. The children were adopted and have many issue's that their parents have been working through with lot's of professional help for all concerned.

Last week things came to a head and now they are navigating the "system" again. The process to access mental health care and services is woefully lacking and I agree with her that a lot of people simply fall through the cracks because they have not the capacity or will to navigate the "system". Having a sister and nephew dealing with "system" now, I have heard some of the stories and nightmares caused by state workers. Sissy and nephew have been dealing with his oppositional defiance disorder/RAD/Bi-polar? since the day he was born. She is also dealing with her own mental health issues. Her case culminated in the state forcing her to terminate parental rights. This has been very traumatic for all of us and didn't need to happen. In the state of Washington, if you have a child that needs residential mental health care you better be very wealthy. The States only option (that was ever presented to my sister) was foster care placement. What she was not told was that at the end of the allotted foster care her son would be placed for adoption. Unless Grandma or his aunt (me) would take him into their homes. Well Grandma is too old to do this and I have my own special needs child to care for. It wouldn't have been good for any of us including the nephew. Since Sissy signed her rights over the nephew has had several behavioral issues and been shuttled around to different foster care homes due to his behavior. We are not allowed to see him and cannot write to him either.

Most people in this situation have done something to cause the loss of parental rights ie drugs/physical or sexual abuse. None of these things were present in the beginning. After years of dealing with her son and her own mental health issue's she did start using drugs. It was a short period of time and she did everything the state ordered her to do to qualify to get her son back but, that wasn't good enough.

The whole reason she got screwed is because she's poor and mentally ill. And she was trusting the state to "help" her. See where that got her?

The "system" is set up for neredowell's/absentee parents and drug addicts who not only can't take care of their kids but, don't want to. If you need help managing a child with sever mental health issue's and you are an active parent the state just treats you as if you are a dirt bag parent anyway...very discouraging.

"I do hope that those who believe "Free Medical" or socialized medicine is the way to go will understand one thing... only the STRONG have what it takes to get what is needed most. The Red-Tape and drag out of any reasonable expected governmental service weeds-out many unable to even navigate the system."

Anna Glendenning

Please check out Anna's blog for more info


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4 comments: to “ The System Sucks

  • The Mind of a Mom
    October 27, 2008 at 3:12 PM  

    Hey Polly

    Oh my gosh my heart goes out to your sister! I hope everything works out for her. Can see apply for legal-aid and ask them for help under the premiss that she did not understand what she was signing in the beginning? I have to tell you Social medical/free medical like we have here is no better. Long wait lists, not enough doctors and you better hope that if you require hospitalization A/. there is a bed for you and B/. you have someone to be there the whole time you are in the hospital to help with your care.

  • Molly
    October 27, 2008 at 4:32 PM  

    Thank you Mom;
    I am in a somewhat unique position to speak to the socialized medicine issue here in the states.
    Where I grew up and where most of my family lives is about 20 miles from the border with Canada.
    Both hospitals in town are full of Canadians seeking health care that they cannot access at home. Paying for it out of their own pockets btw. For the reason's you gave.
    I have lots of friends and other family that just think free medical care is the greatest thing they ever heard of. First I remind them them that it "ain't" free. Then I tell them about my friends up in Quinel, BC that have to go clear to Hope for Van for anything serious. Then I point out the story I saw on Ice Road Truckers: one of the drivers had to have his apendix removed. He got a bill for $14,000.00 Where's the "Free"?

    As for my sis . There really is no leagal aid here. It's little better than a referal service to people who can't get a job anywhere else. You really don't want that representing you. When you are up against the state they will just come up with some obscure appt out of the 1000's that they set up for you, that you didn't get to cause you were buried under a pile of paperwork they also gave you to fill out. ugh, I'm done with this topic today, been putin' it off but had to do it now I need a big pill for my headache. I'll be back to lighter fare tomorrow.
    take care and don't get sick

  • The Mind of a Mom
    October 27, 2008 at 6:43 PM  

    Hey Polly

    Hang in there no more talk or heavy stuff today!
    I am with you, go take that big pill and something from the Adult Beverage section of the store to wash it down and we can chat about why you have a pounding headache tomorrow and how to fix it! :o)

  • Anna Glendenning
    October 27, 2008 at 10:24 PM  


    Thanks for writing about your story. I have come to this place in my heart where I fear what we are doing in the name of protecting children.

    As I get ready for my meeting in the morning--with DCF I found in a pile of paperwork left over from the past My unsigned copy of the

    "Voluntary Request for Respite"

    which is in fact the paperwork we need to complete in order to place our child into Foster Care... Because we asked for Respite--the Respite care we receive funds to pay for but cannot find anyone to pay...

    The paperwork is interesting... I never started to fill it out having an understanding of what the implications are when a parent volunteers to place a child in Foster Care for Respite...

    It means "I Give Up and I am a crappy parent so I will agree to let other people who are being paid deal with things"

    It is a white-flag of surrender when there is No Other place in the state of Washington to have a child who is a safety risk or in crisis placed.

    In Oregon the fact that I say: "She is Not Safe" gains instant access to treatment and hospitalization... In Washington they look at parents as if they are joking and just don't want to try harder.

    We currently sit in a home at High Risk for each member of the family and must wait until the morning to meet with someone who will Decide what happens next...

    All the while a few miles away from my oldest daughter who is getting her masters is a residential treatment center willing to accept all of the benefits and a doctor who has recommended this for more then a year...

    Tomorrow I am sure that my options will be limited and that I will have the chance to place my daughter in foster care again! How sad this is all there is for some many parents facing the most serious mental health issues...

    The kicker for me is that fact that my daughter has a Medical Issue and it isn't even about mental health--it just looks like that.


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