We went to our first and last LIPT (local interagency planning team) meeting. LIPT teams consist of representatives from DFCS (dept of family and children sevices). DJJ (department of juvenile justice), IFI (intensive family intervention), CHINS (child in need of services- an off shoot of the department of juvenile justice), GNETS (Georgia network of therapeutic schools), psychologists, PRTF (psychiatric residential treatment facilities), DBHDD (department of behavioral health and disabilities), CBAY (Community based alternatives for youth) and long term residential care.
We passed out our 8 pages of horror for the last year and a half. Then sat as group of 12 women read. At first I watched each their faces intently. I quickly had to stop as each of them reacted with “oh my’s” and “woe’s”. Several didn’t even read the papers and went about texting on their phones or working on their laptops. We were left sitting awkwardly praying this circus would let us out of the spotlight.
Toward the end of the reading some began to ask questions. Most of them went like this, “have you…?”. To which our response was always, “yes we have”. There were a lot of “well this is how this should work”, to which we responded that “yes on paper that is what should happen. But in practice this is what happens instead.”
DFCS- since we have not formally adopted “Little Big Man” and are only his legal guardians, if we try to access help from them. “We (DFCS) would be forced to terminate your guardianship and work toward reunification with “Little Big Man’s” real family. If they chose not to reunify then he would be placed in foster care and because your guardianship was terminated you would have no standing to become his foster parents. If you applied for foster care of him you would be denied because you had your guardianship terminated by DFCS”.
DJJ and CHINS- we can not access services because he would be deemed “incompetent” due to his mental health diagnosis. Incompetent youth due to mental illness cannot become wards of the DJJ to access services.
Long term residential care- we have called 15 different providers that serve youth from foster care. None of them are willing to take “Little Big Man” even if we pay for the service ourselves due to liability issues.
So we can’t do a voluntary placement with DFCS to access long term care or we will lose him forever. “Little Big Man” does not qualify for DJJ or CHINS services because he is mentally ill. We cannot pay for long term care ourselves because we are considered a liability because we are not part of DFCS, DJJ, or CHINS.
The train has wrecked and there are dying, bloodied victims everywhere. No ambulances, firefighters, or police will be sent.