“[H]aving to make a choice, when no good options exist”

NPR: To Get Mental Health Help For A Child, Desperate Parents Relinquish Custody.

“The family had private insurance through Jim’s job, and Daniel also had Medicaid coverage because he was adopted. But neither insurance would pay for that treatment. Exhausted and desperate, the Hoys decided to relinquish custody to the state. If they sent Daniel back into the foster care system, the child welfare agency would be obligated to pay for the services he needed.

“To this day, it’s the most gut-wrenching thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Jim says.”

This reminded me of an episode of This American Life that aired in the spring of 2018:

This American Life: 643: Damned If You Do…

“And then she heard about another option, a radical one, a last resort. Eileen talked to a mom who had been in a similar situation to hers, Toni Hoy.

And what Toni had done to get her kid treatment was give up custody of him, hand him over to the state. Once the state takes custody of a child, they have to provide mental health care. It’s a perverse legal loophole that exists in a bunch of states. It’s called a psychiatric lockout. It’s meant to ensure that kids who are abandoned by their parents end up with the care that they need.

But instead, desperate parents like Eileen are using it as a last-ditch effort of making sure their kids get treatment. It’s called a lockout because it’s as if the kid has been locked out of their house. Some child welfare workers even tell parents to do it. It’s called lockout coaching.

The way it would work is the next time Noah was hospitalized, Eileen would refuse to pick him up and bring him home. Eventually, the state would take custody of him and pay for him to live in a residential facility. And that was it. Technically, it was easy. Emotionally, of course, it was much harder.”

Turns out Eileen spoke to the family from the NPR article above about how to get help for her son.