We have just entered the Psychiatric Beauty Contest. We have put on our high heels, taped “the ladies” tight together and crammed ourselves into a dress two sizes too small.
We are in a contest to find a PRTF (youth residential care) placement for “Little Big Man”. There are only 5 such facilities in the whole state of Georgia. Let me say that again, 5 just 5. Those 5 PRTFs serve about 450 kids in total(But Georgia has 33 state prisons that house more than 53,000 inmates).
And so our Beauty Competition for PRTF space begins. Now according to all the glossy brochures and department guidelines, youth are taken on a 1st come, 1st serve basis. HA-that’s freaking hysterical. If you have 4-5 kids lined up for 1 PRTF slot who are you gonna pick… The 1st time suicide attempt and runaway who has never been medicated or given consistent therapy? The kid who refuses to talk and cuts himself? The kid who has been through 5 PRTFs in 2 years? The kid who seems to assault others for fun?
Now, none of the choices are great, but add in mitigating factors like..
1. Private Health Insurance pays more per kid than Medicaid.
2. Department of Family & Children Services can make or break your business based upon recommendations to the state on who should serve foster children in need of PRTF.
3. How many resources will we need to use for this kid (we are paid the same rate regardless of an individual kids intensity)?
4. Are parents or family involved (if they are, that’s more resources we need to use toward family and parent counseling)?
Now, who is getting that PRTF slot?
So, beautifully glossy photos of my family have been emailed with detailed explanations of how we believe in the PRTF we are applying for. How we have brought library book donations, staff Holiday gifts, and bountiful weekly staff snack baskets to PRTFs in the past. How we are a low maintenance, mental health educated, but humble family. Finally, I will have our CME call you, or IFI provider call you, and I will call you several times a day. All to ensure you (our chosen PRTF) understand how committed we are to winning this Psychiatric Beauty Contest.