Friday, May 01, 2015


When you go out to eat you have certain expectations. You expect that your food will come out a particular way and that your waiter or waitress will treat you with respect. You assume the restaurant will be clean and that those working in the back will have had the training necessary to prepare your food in a safe manner.

When those things do not happen, you have the ability to complain, to ask for a manager, to call a posted hotline and ultimately to decide whether or not you will frequent that establishment or not anymore.  In fact, every single restaurant is required to post their health ratings so that customers can easily see them before choosing.  There are many options available to customers and having poor marks visible doesn’t bode well for business. Because of this, managers and companies work very hard to make sure that they keep their stores clean, train their employees well, and take care of their customers.

When you are the parent of a child with mental health issues, you have certain expectations. You expect that your child will be safe. You expect that the staff will be trained. You expect that your child will be supervised and protected. You assume that those in charge are monitoring the therapeutic foster parents and the case managers to make sure they are doing their jobs. You expect that the staff will be honest. You expect that your child will be treated with dignity and respect.

When that does not happen the only people the parent knows to complain to are the same people they need to complain about. Because there is no clear complaint process parents are left making hours of blind phone calls desperately trying to find a solution to a problem while knowing the delay or negligent treatment is causing harm to their child. Most parents, already exhausted from dealing with children suffering from mental illness decide fighting the system is not another battle they can start and give up. The mental health system banks on this. It allows them to continue to operate in a dysfunctional yet profitable manner. 

I refuse to continue to be this mother.  I will not be quiet about what happened to my daughter at the hands of Families First Support Services in Shelby, NC.

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