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“Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems… Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision.” Dr. Peter Breggin

Apr 13, 2012

With Gratitude I Remember


My son has endured mistreatment, abuse, and civil rights violations virtually his entire life at the hands of mental health professionals, child welfare staff, and contracted service providers.  He has even been told he can not go swimming at the YMCA and a Yakima City pool by himself as an adult!  Yakima School District gave him a half day of school first through the sixth grade.  The local DSHS office Children’s Administration staff had an attitude that can best be politely described as unprofessional.


Federal guidelines state that a person cannot be denied federally funded Medicaid services by virtue of needing them for long periods, by virtue of accessing them in the past, or because their condition requires a high level of care.  The disrespectful unprofessional attitude was prevalent from my first contact when the Children’s Administration, DSHS office in Seattle asked the Yakima office to make a “courtesy” visit to the new home we had moved to.  The caseworker sent stated within 5 minutes of her arrival, “If it were up to me, you wouldn’t have got your son back.”  My then five-year-old son was in the room.  The local office referred to Isaac as “A Seattle Dump Job,” those exact words.  My son, was behaviorally disturbed because of  severe PTSD from being beat up and locked in a closet by a foster parent, Margaret Manson.  The woman was suspected of killing 4 babies while a State of Washington foster parent.  Two of these deaths were prior to my son being placed in her home.  These facts were covered up by Children's Administration, as they always are.  I was labeled as having dependent personality disorder for aggressively seeking appropriate treatment for my traumatized child.  I believed then, and I still believe, that the State has a duty to my son.  


I was asked, “If you can’t take care of him, why did you take him back?” by a Children's Administration Supervisor.  The same supervisor later lied about what had occurred at a meeting about what my son's ongoing needs were; and the services being provided were terminated.  My son was hospitalized yet again; and it cost the taxpayers $30,000 for a three week hospital stay. The services that were terminated cost $2,200. a month.  All of the treatment and support that was recommended for Isaac that I begged, pleaded, and ultimately screamed about him needing; were supposed to be available under EPSDT; required to be available for Washington State to participate in the Medicaid program.


I was ultimately illegally coerced into giving custody back to the state when he was 12.  My court appointed attorney advised I sign my “consent” for an "agreed order" called "A Consent to Place."  I wanted it put on the record the actual reason, (never getting the recommended treatment or specialized services every single  psychiatrist and mental health professional had recommended) Later, I found out at this particular court hearing, was THE ONLY opportunity the law allowed for me to put into the court record this information! The State of Washington could get the Federal government to pay a much larger share of the cost of my son's care once he was declared a ward of the state, which was one of the reasons for misleading me and illegally kidnapping my son.  I believe the other reason was so he could be used in the TEOSS Drug Trials.  I was robbed of my parental rights, but was falsely assured that I would retain my parental rights to provide Informed Consent.   State Law, Medicaid Guidelines and Child Welfare Washington State Administrative Code were in agreement, that I retained these rights; however, Jon McClellan repeatedly told me I had no say in what drugs he gave my son.  This court order is called an "Agreed Order for Consent to Place," and to be a valid legal document, it is to be signed freely by me.  I was in fact coerced--I was told that if I did not sign it, the State's Attorney would tell the Court that I was not willing to act in my son's "best interest."


Initially, he was in a group home for 10 months, at a cost of $5,000. a month.  4 times in those 10 months he left the group home without the staff on duty being aware he was missing.  2 of those times he hitchhiked home and I drove him back to the group home; and the staff person on duty was still unaware he was missing!  On another occasion, he broke his foot so severely he needed reconstructive surgery and walks with a limp to this day.  He hitchhiked to the hospital and I was called in my hospital room from the ER to inform me my son was injured and unaccompanied in the ER!  I called the group home, the staff person on duty was unaware he had jumped out a 2nd floor window, breaking both the window and his foot.


While the local DSHS Child Welfare office provided services when I forced the issue; the services were NEVER the services that were recommended for his condition and diagnosis of PTSD.  The system should have bent over backwards to provide the help he needed, since it was having been beat up and locked in a closet while in their care that he needed the help in the first place!  He in fact was victimized and traumatized in a home that had several credible reports of individuals asking the state to stop placing children with Margaret Manson. In fact, 12 reports had been filed prior to his placement.  A pediatrician, a minister and the social worker who had recommended her in the first place, among them.   If the local DSHS office and Children's Administration had a problem with the Seattle DSHS office; it was an administrative issue; not grounds for the abuse and neglect perpetrated by these public servants against my son.  Some of these people still have their jobs as public servants; some have retired with government pensions.  It is not the system that is broken, it is people who work for the system, who are not held accountable and those who are supposed to hold them accountable, that are broken.  These broken people are the reason that stories such as ours are so common.   

After the group home, it was over 4 years at Child Study and Treatment Center, the state-run psychiatric facility for children.  This picture was taken at this facility, he is leaning on the tree for support, because he was so heavily drugged, he would fall to the ground.  He also could not really smile, because of the drugs.

My son has recently felt safe enough to tell me what it felt like to be him growing up. He told me he felt that nobody that was supposed to be helping him, had any compassion for him.  When he talks about the heavy doses of anti psychotics and their “side effects” which in reality, are the effects; he in agony asked me, “how could they take so much from me mom?”  When talking about the fact he felt traumatized over and over and over at CSTC, and by the drugs, he said, “To tell you the truth, I pity them, I feel sorry for them and their morality.”  


Isaac was still in the custody of the state when he went to the psych unit for the first time, the month before he turned 7.  The caseworker, told the court that he was home and doing well; the case could be closed.  I spoke to her within the first 2 weeks of his being hospitalized, and told her it did not look good, the psychiatrist was predicting a long-term hospitalization would be required.  I told her he kept talking about Margaret and what she had done to him.  Less than an hour later, I got a call from a Seattle Police Homicide Detective, I believe his name was Don Cameron.  Margaret Manson had recently killed her fourth baby.  Isaac’s first hospitalization was for 10 months.  He came home with the need for “intensive in home services.”  He received med management--and nothing else.  The intervening years between this hospitalization and the last, an over 4 year stay as an adolescent, he was repeatedly hospitalized.  Never was his initial trauma or the repeated ongoing trauma of being mistreated by those who were “providing services” or the trauma of being separated from his brother and myself ever addressed.  Incredibly, I was advised to not bring it up, it was "not an issue"?!  


I should have listened to the homicide detective, not the psychiatrist.  I believe that was my first mistake. I had to fight for almost 2 years after the CSTC staff put on paper he no longer needed to be in the hospital, to bring him home.  It was less than 3 months before his 17th birthday. 

Currently, Isaac lives at home with me and I am his Medicaid personal caregiver.  His current assessment is inaccurate and flawed, because the assessment tool used was developed to assess physical disabilities, not the cognitive disabilities which are the result of iatrogenic injury that my son has.  Isaac chooses to live at home and I am grateful, I would be stupid to trust a system that has given me compelling reasons why it is not worthy of trust.  When wrongs do occur does NOTHING to investigate; and worse, nothing to ameliorate the harm done.  In fact these “service systems” and some of the “public servants” employed by them, have caused much more harm by attempting to cover up their own ethical and moral lapses, which harm children.  Crimes committed both by employees of the State of Washington and contracted service providers are not reported, or investigated, by mandated reporters.  There is no accountability evident to me for the grievous errors made or the outright abuse and neglect (and the harm done) that employees of DSHS, Service Alternatives, CSTC, Yakima County Human Services and Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health have caused my son by failing to perform their jobs ethically or legally.  It is apparent to me some of the same individuals have no compassion for my seriously traumatized son.  It appears their chief concern is that he be further stigmatized.

I will say that although we have experienced many traumatic events and outrageous treatment; I know that there are those who work in and for The State of Washington, Yakima County, Service Alternatives, and Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health who have done their jobs honestly; and who exhibit the integrity that is critical to effectively serve as public servants, it is more than unfortunate they are a minority. 

In recognition of this, I wish to say the help and support I received from attorney Randy Steckell, DSHS social workers, Sandra Street, Christine Clark; former State Senators, Alex Deccio and Jim Clements, and Kim Eaton, Yakima County Superior Court Clerk; are all individuals who have enabled me to know that I must continue to stand up for myself and my son, and to know that there are those who will and do act honorably and with integrity---because these are intrinsic qualities each of them possess. 

There are four more individuals who have made all the difference to me and both my sons.  They too, have these same traits, and when the time came, they rose to the challenge--GAL Laurie Leaverton, foster parent, Mary Anne Reideman; my Dad, Kenneth G. Murphy and my brother, Mark.  

This list is not by any means complete, but it is critical that I remember that we, as a family, do not triumph over tragedy by ourselves--alone, no one does. The people who have helped both in large and small ways, and those who continue to do so today, are to share in any victory large or small. 
One of my heroes, my son Isaac
originally posted 10-1-10 
update 4-13-2012
What any of us believes, thinks, feels, and what our intentions are, do not matter as much as much our actions.  At the end of the day, it is our actions that have the biggest impact on others, not our intentions. My primary intention is to protect and defend my son until he is able to do so for himself.  I hold onto my hope no matter what; he trusts me, and he needs to know it's possible to recover.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a nightmare. I'm glad your son is now with you so both of you can heal from the hell and torment you've both been through. It's an extremely frightening experience to navigate. It shouldn't be. Blessings to you both and to all of us in trying to make our loved ones whole.

Becky Murphy said...

Thank you for your comment and your blessings to all of us. My effort is not just for me and my family, it is for all of us; WE are the family of man, and WE together can help one another heal.

linda said...

Becky,

What a sad,confused,terrified and lonely life for a child. I can not even begin to imagine the pain you and your boys have suffered. It is a tragedy that our system allows this to go unpunished. More tragic is the fact that it happens far more than anyone knows. It is covered up and hidden and hushed.

I just wanted you to know that I truly admire your courage and strength. Many years of hurt and neglect you have endured, and I am sure very painful to remember and bring back and share with the world. You are an awesome person. My heart goes out to you and your boys. Maybe because you didnt give up,someone will be spared this kind of treatment.

I know that because of you your boys are on the road to healing.

Ed said...

Becky, I too wish the best for you and your son and completely your support efforts to change this system.
The biggest difficulty I have explaining is that abuse isn't reported and the effective methods which are being done to discourage reporting.
What you are doing will help your son, you, and everyone and I appreciate that.
I hope many will read this and understand the importance of what you are saying.
Ed

Becky Murphy said...

Ed,
Thank you so much for your support. What is horrifying for me is knowing that I have reported these events to authorities. To no avail. It is not the system that is broken. It is broken people who work for the system who are not held accountable when they fail to do their jobs. That they get to keep their jobs and fail to protect children and cover up crimes committed against them. I pray for all of us.
My Dad taught me to never give up never give in and to stand up to injustice. It helps to know THAT I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE who was tught this.
Love and peace...
Becky

Matthew said...

"I was labeled as having dependent personality disorder for aggressively seeking appropriate treatment for my traumatized child."

That's only fitting how instead of understanding you, they place a label on you. That's the problem with the entire system is that they don't attempt to understand, but instead they refuse to understand people and just label them out of lack of understanding.

Becky Murphy said...

Thank you Linda and I am truly grateful for the trust my son has in me and that he does not dwell on his painful past. We have so much to be grateful for and this is what I try to focus on.

Matthew thank you for your comment. I am only grateful for the social worker that did ultimately understand. It is more than unfortunate that my pain and anger were perceived as other than what they were.

Lauri said...

Becky, somehow I found myself here and reading your journal. It has deepened my appreciation for not only you as a mom but you as a human being. I am inspired by you and your articulate outpouring of your life. I think you have a book on your hands, or a documentary! Maybe what happened with the Systems of Care helped propel you into the realization that your experience and expression of it can be a catalyst to the changes that have to happen in these systems that control so many peoples' lives. Your input and involvement would have made a world of difference, and it still can. I remember clearly how, years ago, the "team" around Isaac treated you, and at the time it was clear to me that you were the only one who knew Isaac and your perspectives needed to be taken seriously. We had some interesting court hearings, didn't we? I look forward to reading more, and thank you for continuing to share your journey.

yobluemama said...

Lauri,

Thank you so much! It has been a long road... I hope to have a very long journey.

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