As soon as I heard the news regarding the teen shooter, I wondered to myself if he’d either been a foster child or been adopted as an older child. I quickly tried to blow off that thought as paranoia on my part, having lived so long with children described like him. Yet reading these words today on a CNN site sent chills up my spine.
“Todd Landry, director of the Nebraska Division of Family and Children’s Services, described for reporters the laundry list of residential treatment centers and group and foster homes where Robert Hawkins spent much of his teen years, because of his behavioral and psychiatric problems.
He also had two psychiatric hospitalizations, and has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, mood disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and parent-child relationship problems,” Landry said.advertisement
Hawkins was a ward of the state from September 17, 2002, through August 24, 2006. Parental rights were never severed, authorities said.
Among the problems cited in the records were his involvement in a fight and substance abuse problems.
Nebraska court records show a Hawkins with a matching age had a juvenile criminal history including charges of alcohol and drug use, disorderly conduct and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He is listed in the records as living with a foster parent.”
This aptly describes some of my more violent children. I’ve often stressed to mental health workers these same behaviors that I saw on a regular basis were obviously indicators of severe problems. Because the funding is not readily available, the mental health workers dismiss kids from programs all too often before they are ready to live in society. Or they say the child is too disturbed for their facility or program and then the child is sent back to his or her family.
Last night I heard a DEA agent on the news bemoan the fact that all the friends of this guy “knew he was troubled and did nothing.”
What should they have done? He suggested that the police should have been called. In my experience that would only have resulted in a friendly reminder to the kid to, “act right, son.” There’s likely no way that this could have been prevented.
I don’t know what the answers are. I have absolutely no idea but I know that something does need to be done. The lack of residential mental health facilities for adults has resulted in a severely disturbed homeless population in every big city.
“He also had two psychiatric hospitalizations, and has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, mood disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and parent-child relationship problems,” Landry said.
I have three sons like this. One is in jail, one is in a psychiatric facility, and one is at an outdoor therapeutic wilderness camp. The one in jail threatened to murder a guard this week. I lived with him for years and now looking back, I don’t know how we all got through those years.
I’d do anything possible on earth to get them help that would heal them but there seems to be none available. I am as frustrated as my sons are, they don’t want to be like this but it is what it is. It is so unbearably sad.