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Legal responsibility for care of underage mentally ill 17 year old

Discussion in 'Juvenile Crime, Law & Court' started by scaredparent, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. scaredparent

    scaredparent Law Topic Starter New Member

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    We have a severely mentally ill 17 year old daughter with an arrest history for drug abuse and assault who is a threat to us and we need to understand what our rights as parents are and legal responsibilities for continued care of her.
     
  2. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Can you provide a little more detail? What kind of rights and responsibilities are you asking about? Is she capable of self-care or will she always need to be in a supervised setting? Does she live at home? What kind of a threat does she provide? Who did she assault?
     
  3. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    Also, what kind of treatment is she receiving for her mental illness - is she in counseling, taking prescription drugs from a doctor .......... There is all kinds of mental illness. Does she go to school? We could use more details. Thanks.
     
  4. scaredparent

    scaredparent Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello and thank you for answering. Apologies for the delay.

    Diagnoses: Borderline Personality Disorder and Conduct Disorder/Antisocial Personality Disorder
    27 inpatient psych admissions since 2011; 3 residential admissions...very serious self-mutiliator and multiple suicide attempts
    Has been on literally almost ALL meds at one time or another...antipsychotics were a disaster...she is now on Lexapro and Remeron
    Receives regular counseling, therapy, and sees her outpatient psychiatrist about 5 times per year
    She has been in therapeutic/behavioral schools since 7th grade and she is now in 11th
    She has had 2 arrests in the past 2 years: 1. shoplifting/assault on police officer (convicted/probation community service 2. possession of drugs/assault on police officer (police declined to prosecute as we were moving out of the state at the time and the judge would have sent her to juvenile detention for the second offense)
    She lives at home with me and dad...no other children...I quit my job last year so I could be home all the time because we felt we could not leave her alone at all
    This past year she has become much more hostile, violent, and abusive at school and at home and has engaged more in drug use and sexually explicit activities than before
    She thinks she is capable of self care, but her only goal is to leave home and go to Colorado so she can smoke pot.
    Let me be frank...if she continues to threaten us when we try to create parental boundaries for her for her own and our own safety and well being, and if she continues with antisocial behavior, we will not continue to allow her to live with us if we have no legal responsibility for her. So we want to know when that ends for us. We are assuming that when she is 18, we will have no further legal responsibility to care for her regardless of her mental illness. We are working on getting her social security (mentally disabled) and into Medicaid. A group home setting has been suggested by her team.
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You are correct, madam, in your belief that your legal responsibility to this 17 year old ends upon her 18th birthday.
    You also seem to have an inside track with mental health professionals.
    If her psychiatrist and psychologist endorse and encourage her placement in a structured group home, I recommend you accelerate that option.
    Once she is placed in such a setting, she could eventually become an independent adult.
    One of my wife's sisters adopted twin baby boys some years ago.
    As children, my nephews were quite troublesome to her.
    Today, after living in an environment such as the one you mentioned, the twins are functioning adults.
    Each man holds down full time employment, lives alone, and function as an average citizen.
    I doubt that either will marry, but they have never been to prison, or had any scrapes with the law, or issues with illegal drug abuse.

    I say that to offer you some small measure of comfort that people with mental health issues, given the right structure, support, encouragement, and love can be productive, independent people.

    The other option is avail yourself of the juvenile justice system, and seek court mandated mental health care and education for her.
    I suggest you take note of such an option, but she might become an adult before the court system can have any impact.


    One final thought, madam. Have you inquired about support groups for teenagers with mental health issues? If you ask the members of her care team about such a group, I'm sure they can steer you in the right direction. Support, encouragement, and involvement with parents in your predicament can be very helpful.

    I do wish you and your family well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
  6. scaredparent

    scaredparent Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful response. It was good advice and much appreciated.
     
  7. disagreeable

    disagreeable Well-Known Member

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    If you cannot get her into a group home now, you should go talk to the prosecutor about having her arrested for possession and use of drugs as a minor and having her committed to juvenile until she is 18.
     
    army judge likes this.
  8. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    Since her team suggested a group home setting, that is probably the best option. However; if for some reason you can't get her into a group home currently, you might have to go the juvenile justice system route. You have to do something. The best of luck to your whole family.
     

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