> No More Secrets And Lies: North Homes 35-Day Assessment

Friday, September 28, 2012

North Homes 35-Day Assessment

After spending four days at the New Ulm Detention Center, Mary's corrections officer next placed her in a group home in Northern Minnesota — North Homes, in Grand Rapids, close to the Canadian border. The County seemed to like North Homes. They also seemed to like places that were far away. North Homes seemed like a pretty good place for Mary even though it was roughly five hours from her home. Mary liked the staff at this place and they liked her. She was at North Homes for about two months for her 35-day assessment.

When Mary was moved it would usually go something like this: she would be told she was going to move only an hour or two in advance. A staff member would come into her room and tell her to start packing her things because she had to leave. She almost never got to say goodbye to her friends or to the staff she had gotten to know while she was at the group home. A transport vehicle would be waiting for her in the parking lot, and she would be handcuffed and/or shackled and placed into the caged backseat of the car. She would then sit for hours with no idea where she was going, no idea what the new group home would be like, no idea what the people would be like in the new group home, no idea how far she would be from her home, and often no idea why she had to move in the first place. This happened to Mary over 20 times in the two years she was with the County.

I was only able to visit Mary once or twice while she was at North Homes because it was too far away and I would have to take at least three days off from my job in order to do this. It would take me one day of driving to get there and one day to get back, leaving me only one day to visit Mary. If it happened to be Grace's week to stay at my house, I would have to see if her mom could watch her while I was away visiting Mary.

After Mary had completed her 35-day assessment, her corrections officer, social worker, mom, and I all drove up to Grand Rapids to meet with the North Homes staff and with Mary to discuss the results of her test. They provided a fairly through evaluation of Mary, and among other things, said she felt much more of an emotional bond to her father (me) than to her mother. Their recommendation was that she be placed in a consequence-based residential setting, consult with a psychiatrist, participate in therapy, and receive natural and logical consequences within her home (which she always had). They also told us she tried to run away a couple of times. They ended the meeting by telling us they could not treat her at their facility nor recommend any facility that could treat her. This was disappointing.

Mary spent two months at North Homes, and in June of 2008, she started moving again. First, she went back to the New Ulm Detention Center for one day, then to Elmore Academy for eleven days, and finally to the ForestRidge group home in Estherville, Iowa for two months.


TSElliott said...

So - what was the diagnosis?

John Brosnan said...

The diagnosis was pretty much the usual: conduct disorder, ADD, ODD. Nothing we hadn't heard before.