My son was evaluated by a public health nurse from Ramsey county to determine if he would qualify for personal care attendant services. In my son’s case the attendant would likely be a young male who would help my son to structure his time, assist with defusing conflicts between him and his brothers and help him to make safe choices in the community.
The nurse approved my son for 3 hours of PCA per day. As my son has gotten older, it has become more difficult to control his community access. He no longer abides by the boundaries that we have set for him within our neighborhood. Short of grounding him, we never really know where he is once he takes off on his bike. Up until now, Tom and I have had the attitude that we could assume that he was acting appropriately until we had concrete evidence to the contrary ie. he is brought home in the back of a police squad. However, given some unfortunate events that have occurred over the past few weeks, we can no longer turn a blind eye to his vulnerabilities.
I contacted the agency today to initiate services. They will look for an appropriate person that can work the hours that we need. I am feeling somewhat guilty for using this service since it is funded by the taxpayers. My guilt is minimized slightly by the knowledge that if our son was still living in the foster care system, the taxpayers would be footing much larger expenses.
We have managed for the past seven years without this level of support, but not without difficulty. For example, as I write this my son is threatening to “kick his brother’s ass” and swearing at him. Recently, Patrick has become more adept at responding to his brother calmly, rather than escalating the situation. When Patrick is unable to respond in this way the situation can become quite volatile.
In some ways I see the use of a PCA as potentially more helpful to Patrick and Michael, than our son, because they are so often the target of their brothers abusive behavior. Hopefully, the PCA will be able to have my son engaged enough outside of the house that everyone will get a break.
So for those of my fellow taxpayers that resent me for using your money to support our family I say that your resentment is misplaced. If more tax dollars were spent up front on educating women of child bearing age about the impact of alcohol use during pregnancy and funding chemical dependency treatment and child abuse prevention programs we might save ourselves some money in the long run.