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    Posted May 22, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Going public with mental illness

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    There has to be a better way...


    About a year ago I received a phone call from one of my neighbors. She was frantic.
    She was being Baker Acted and needed a home for her eight year old son Joe or he would be put into foster care.


    That's how it started.


    Now we all knew that this specific neighbor wasn't all together...all together.
    She was extremely paranoid about everyone and everything. She believed her neighbors, and still does, were trying to kill her. She literally said they have bugged her phone and are trying to set it up to have her murdered.


    We got used to her accusations.
    But since she had a young son who still needed to be taken care of, we would just roll our eyes when she spoke and continue to help her.


    Now the state, the school, Joe's social worker and his psychiatrist have done all they can for this family. But that didn't stop his mother from making very bad decisions.
    It's bad enough she has a mental illness, and I don't say that to be offensive, she get social security because of it, but she is also an alcoholic.


    And it's because of that she was Baker Acted and put into rehab. Not knowing the full impact of her illness I agreed to take Joe.


    During that time I was able to see the full picture of what this child was facing. Both at home and through his school.
    Basically the child was failing at everything. And having very little discipline from his mother, he just ran wild.
    Now it didn't take to long to realize that he did know wrong from right, he just didn't make good choices. And he isn't a bad kid either. There was just no one to rein him in when he started to act out.


    Even though he barely passed the part of his FCAT last year, that he needed to be able to go to the next grade, he was allowed to "graduate" to the 4th grade. Although if it was based on his grades alone last year he would have been held back.
    When his mother was release from rehab she asked me to tutor him because I'm the only one(she says) that can control him...what a bunch of crap. But still I tutored him throughout the year.
    The school has given me access to all the online accesses they use and have kept me well informed on his progress.


    He kept an A/B average. And worked very hard for it.


    Now two other times we found his mother, since she was released from rehab, sloppy drunk. Obviously the other times she hid, but at least one time she forgot she had a child, brought a total stranger home, and proceeded to get drunk with him. Joe ended up being taken care of by all of us neighbors.
    DCF was called and came to investigate. Denise admitted all of it. But they gave her another chance. Which leads to about two months ago.


    Once again I get that phone call.
    She is being put into rehab again and needs me to take Joe. But there is a twist.
    Joe takes medication for ADHD, but instead of giving them to him, she took them herself. She enjoyed the feeling. And thought because someone had said she was probably ADHD also, it would be okay. She didn't even think about or care the toll it would take on Joe as he struggled for months.
    I asked and asked and asked for someone to help, that something was wrong, but no one would. Until she admitted to taking his medications.


    Lately she got out of rehab again, and got Joe back. Although she is no longer to fill or dispense his prescriptions...I do that. And it's a ridiculous situation to be in. But what was I suppose to do?
    He's a child for God's sake. I haven't a choice.


    Still, I asked them why?
    Why on God's green earth did you give him back to her and allow her such freedom to destroy her child?
    I was told by the social worker, "Because she is mentally ill she doesn't see things like we do (well duh!!!). But it's no different then a parent who has a seizure and accidentally hurts their child. They can't take him away from her. It would be against her rights".


    But what about his rights?
    His rights to not have to grow up like this?


    There has to be a better way.


    The pic is of Joe and Jaden (my daughter) at Halloween last year. :)

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