For several months now a little bitty idea has been rolling around in my head. An interesting idea, one prompted by friends and writing peers, and one that now has snowballed, appropriately, into something a bit bigger.
I've written about the conversations Yukon and I have had with the State of Alaska concerning Wolf and his progress, outcomes, and situation. I've pondered the recommendations from people who still do not completely understand the disabilities surrounding our child and the ramifications of a premature discharge from CHYC to merely meet a standard developed by other State of Alaska workgroups. "Bring the Kids Home" is an initiative launched a few years ago in cooperation with the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Like many things that happen in local government, this one sounded good to me when a) I had no personal connection to the idea and b) when a half-the-story newspaper published, well, half the story in a feature article.
Apparently, from 1998-2004, out of state placements of children to Residential Psychiatric Treatment Centers increased 800% from previous numbers, especially among Alaska Native Children. In 2004, lawmakers understandably looked at these numbers and the subsequent costs and impacts of such placements and lost their marbles. Understandable.
BTKH was birthed from a financial nightmare coupled with the emotional backlash from families such as ours whose children, some of whom had never left the state (or their village, for that matter), are now living and eating and growing someplace else. Whoa.
So, the idea? To write it all down. To ask the questions. To find the other parents and bring my story into their world in the hope that someone else will find comfort. Or at least a partner in this absolutely crazy journey. Our autism-spectrum kids do not, at this point, have a place to belong here in Alaska. Time for some hopey-changey, I think.