Why Reform

It’s really hard to find out where to go to get help. There’s just not enough information out there about where to go to get help.
My son has been on a waiting list for emergency services at the CSB for two weeks. He’s been assessed but there is a waiting list for therapists.
It took almost two months, maybe a little longer, to get our first appointment, and we were in a situation of great crisis…It delayed the process of healing for the child and the family in general.
If you call 5 different people at the county, you get 5 different answers.
They all of a sudden send you to another agency and they can’t even tell you how to get in touch with them. I mean often they can’t so much as give you a phone number.
They don’t appear to share information at all between the schools and mental health system and residential treatment and your doctors, whatever. They don’t voluntarily share the information and if you make a written request for your child’s records it takes you months, literally, to get them.
My daughter’s [symptoms] would come and go because she could only see her counselor once a month. And they got to where they called me one day to talk about my schedule and the counselor said she wanted to start seeing her every week but she wanted [my daughter] to miss some school. And I don’t want her to have to do that because school doesn’t like that. So as of now she can’t see her counselors once a week.
My 17 year old grandson was transported, by two law enforcement officers, from Poplar Springs Hospital in Petersburg VA to the state funded facility, Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescent in Staunton VA. He was in handcuffs, shackles around his waist and his feet for a two hour drive. He is a very sensitive young man and smart as this is his third year in a Governors school. He has been dealing with a lot of tragic losses in his life, beginning with the sudden death of his mother almost six years ago, his best friend a little over a year ago (his best friend had just taken my grandson home 15 minutes before the best friend was killed in accident…he blames himself for friend being killed), and several other losses. His father and stepmother did not see the need for my grandson to go to counseling. He has no history of hurting others and only in the last two and half weeks has he talked about hurting himself if he had to go home. How can a government official further traumatize a young man by shacking him for a long road trip? He was not going to hurt himself because he wanted to go to the other facility instead of home with father and stepmother. We need to prevent this from happening to other emotional traumatized young people. What can I do to help?” grandmother in Virginia.
My adopted son has RAD [Reactive Attachment Disorder]. Last year he had to be hospitalized for a brief time. Upon release we were advised to find a therapist and psychiatrist for him and were referred to our community services board. We were told that he could not see the psychiatrist there (a Dr. familiar with my son’s history) unless he was also seeing one of their therapists. Great! Except for the fact that at that time they had no available youth therapists. It took us another four months to find treatment for our son. We drive seventy miles each way. I wonder how many people just give up.” – mom in Suffolk
My foster son entered my home back in October 2009. I could sense his hurt and pain. A few days later, I found out that he had no contact (never knew) his biological father. He does not care for his stepfather because of disciplinary actions. He told me that he never received anything from his biological father. I could feel the pain and heartache as he told his story. I contacted his social worker concerning this matter. He was already assigned to a mental health counselor with the state. Thank you for supporting young people in social services. My son needs all the help he can get to overcome his situation.” – mom in Richmond area
My step-son has FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) he needed emergency mental health because of a threat he made to himself and his biological mother. It took weeks to get him seen. Once he was seen it took even longer to establish a relationship with a therapist. There is no therapist in this area that even knows FAS or how to treat it. The support for our family is non-existent.” – parent in Prince William
My son who is now 14 years old was diagnosed with ADHD many years ago and then Tourette Syndrome in 2007. The public school part of TS/ADHD has been the biggest nightmare of all. Even the special education teachers have no idea how to handle TS and ADHD. My son, who lives in a world that we could in no way understand. Then to place in a setting of 20 + of his peers to learn (which he is not learning) and then call him out with each and every tic which results in suspension from school- this year alone 38 days so far. His LCSW he visited weekly became ill and he doesn’t want to see anyone else. I can run on for hours and hours of the school disaster one after another – the biggest is he is now in 9th grade but his education stopped in 6th. He is not so disabled that he could not be independent later in life but in order to be that he needs his education.” – mom in Richmond area
When I saw this little box, the first thought was there is not enough room to tell my daughter’s story. Let’s see how it goes. My beautiful soon to be 17 year old daughter is currently an inpatient resident of a residential hospital treatment program. She is grade level honor roll student who loves to learn. I adopted this beautiful girl when she was 5 years old. I took her into my home at age 10 months from the VBDSS. She has seen a psychiatrist since age 4, has been on a host of medications and we have worked with countless therapists. I had in home therapists for two years (the most incompetent professionals I have ever seen). My daughter has been in residential treatment twice before this current two month stay. She has seen the same psychiatrist since age 4 who has prescribed her meds. She is now diagnosed with a treatment RESISTENT mood disorder. Her working diagnosis is bi polar with psychosis and depression. They are currently ruling out attachment disorder and personality disorder. I am very frustrated with mental health providers and have often thought why there is not some legal recourse one could pursue to sue them for incompetency! I have advocated, knocked down doors, demanded treatment, sought specialists all to identify the source of or the reason for the chemical imbalance the daughter suffers with. It seems all the mental health community seeks to do is push pills and write prescriptions. I am working with a FAPT team in a rural community who does not support residential placement (I hate it myself) but offers no other means of recommendations. They certainly do not want my manic daughter unleashed on their community. While I understand their hatred for residential they offer no alternatives. What I get is we have never seen this type of placement. I had to present my daughters case to the FAPT team because they have never had a parent referral before and did not know what to do. This has to change. I am fearful of what will happen when my daughter turns 18.- mom in Eastern Virginia
I have a 20 year old daughter who I adopted from the VA foster care system when she was 5 years old. She was initially diagnosed with PTSD and global development delay. Ten diagnosis later, Schizo Typical Personality Disorder is her primary diagnosis. She will be aging out officially of the children’s mental health system this year. Her acute hospitalizations are already in the adult system. We are having a very difficult time finding adult resources for her. Our family and our support systems (DSS, group home staff, child psychologists, adoption support staff) have all functioned as a team and I have learned to navigate the CSA website. Our entire team, including the group home staff / case management do not know anything about the adult mental health system and its support. The need? For Virginia’s children’s mental health system to ensure that families are informed / connected / educated about the adult system their children will grow up into and need to navigate.- mom from Charlottesville