My daughter became a chronic runaway at 14. It doesn’t make sense why she started doing it but it happened anyway. There were days that she would just run after we had a good time as a family. There were other times that she had her phone taken away as punishment because she wasn’t focusing on school or hadn’t come home when she should have. When someone would ask her why she was running away, she would shrug her shoulders. If I asked, she would say why can’t I just let her do what she wants and not care.
The police officers I had interacted with had told me about a CHINS petition through the Juvenile Courts that I could place my daughter on. After trying to figure out what to do, I decided to call them. The intake officer told me that I should attend their Parent Support Group before doing CHINS. I went the next time it was held. During these meetings, I found out there was something called “Family Resource Meeting” that could probably help.
I tried searching online and couldn’t find anything on it. I reached out to the social worker at my daughter’s school, and she said she could schedule the meeting.
What is a Family Resource Meeting?
There is a county agency called “Children’s Services Act (CSA)” that provides funding for troubled and at-risk youth and their families. The CSA has a process called “Family Resource Meeting (FRM).” This brings together representatives of the various aspect of the child’s life to come together and figure out a way to help the child or teen work on their issues and overcome them. For us, the people involved were:
- Me – My daughter’s father is absentee and is never involved in her life. Therefore, I was the only parent present
- My Daughter
- School Social Worker
- Mental Health Groups POCs
- Probation Officer – When my daughter was eligible to have a CHINS petition, her probation officer started joining
- CSA POC
One thing that I found out is that a child at 14 years and older can decide to participate. I was a bit shocked because parents are responsible for their children until 18. However, at 14, a child, whose brain is not even formed and doesn’t have the executive function to make sound decisions, can decide if she wants to get help or not. As I said in my previous post, I understand but then I don’t.
What happens in the Family Resource Meetings?
We would meet monthly. The first session I spoke about my daughter’s strengths and the challenges we were dealing with. After I spoke, the other representatives would ask me questions. My daughter was also given a chance to speak and answer questions. However, my daughter shuts down and just shrugs her shoulders when asked if she would like to speak. Therefore, I did the majority of the talking.
After all the questions were answered, recommendations were brought up and discussed. After everything was decided, then the recommendations were acted upon. In future meetings, it was to discuss progress and if anything needed to be tweaked.
How much was it?
They use a sliding scale, so you provide your income and any big expenses that you have. This will decide how much you pay a month. I was happy that CSA was understanding and wasn’t a stickler to the pay formula.
Did it help?
The FRM helps those children and teens who are not oppositional and severely defiant or those who are ready to get help. My daughter has Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and is not ready to work on herself. Therefore, for us, it didn’t work. The first time the school social worker and I tried, my daughter was 14 and refused to participate.
When she was part of the CHINS petition and was at Shelter Care, my daughter was willing to participate. However, after six months, she stopped showing up to any of her sessions or just staring out the window refusing to speak. I decided to stop the services because I was paying monthly for someone who didn’t want to work on herself. Her new school social worker (she switched schools due to her IEP) was very judgmental, and I had to set her straight. Her probation officer told me that I was doing everything I could do and to not let others make me feel about it. She said she had her own defiant teen and so she gets it.
I feel the only ones who really get it are those who are going through it.
Even though my daughter was resistant, I really appreciated CSA, and I am glad the agency exists. My only frustration is how they seem to hide the service from parents. If you ask someone about it, he/she asks “What is CSA?” “What is FRM?” I feel it needs to be transparent so that parents who are desperate and need help with their children/teens can get it.
If you are dealing with your child/teen who needs help, reach out to your school’s social worker and/or counselor, your county’s juvenile court, or your or your child’s therapist.
I hope that this is helpful. Please share your story if you are dealing with a child/teen who is needing help. You are not alone.