Saturday, January 07, 2006

Learning from a Mistake

"Josie" went home for an overnight visit, ostensibly to stay with her mother for the evening. This has been expressly permitted by the social workers and the court.

When she got back, she was VERY tired. Our spidey-sense tingled a bit, and we suspect there COULD have been horseplay. Her mother tends to spend A LOT of time at the bar...she has trouble resisting peer pressure, so her friends could have come and taken her out while her mother was at the bar or too drunk to pay attention and she could have been out partying it up.

This is all in the normal course of how these things play out, and not much would surprise me were someone to tell a whole truthful story about what really went on during that visit. We've got sort of a wait-and-see attitude at the moment, but we've almost got ourselves convinced that "Josie" will screw up badly enough on one of these home visits that it will force her probation officer to make a choice. That choice will be either to send her up the river to an out-of-town lockup or to leave her here with new-and-improved conditions, which will definitely include supervised-home-visits-only and a freer hand on our part.

Naturally, given how we've taken to her (when she's not tied in knots about her family or friends) we'd prefer the latter, but we're cognizant that the former probably has an equal or better chance, depending on the nature of the screw-up. But the thing is, we're sort of in limbo right now. We can't get her to ourselves enough to really put the screws to her, make her live 100% by good rules and straighten out...and we can't wash our hands of her. No way can we do that. That's not why we're here.

So the first truly useful thing we'll be able to do, then, is force the issue. Catch her in a screw-up and hope it's of a type that the PO and the court will see that we need to work on this girl without interference for awhile, and not send her to a residential treatment facility, which I think COULD be okay for her, but would more likely retard or arrest her development. It's a fine line.

So then the real question...a couple of days ago at our meeting, one of the social workers slipped us a Urinalysis test on the sly, with the go-ahead to use it whenever we suspect she may have been using. She came home REALLY tired, and almost sort of disoriented. Why did we not immediately administer the UA? It seemed the type of mild situation that would probably have given us the extra control over the situation if she HAD been using, without getting her sent up just yet.

If she hadn't been using, she at least would have been on notice that we're liable to pop one on her at any time, thereby discouraging her from trying to slip one by us. Why didn't we pull the trigger? It never even crossed our minds until well after alcohol would have been undetectable, and we agree she'd probably blow it with that before pot or another substance.

Doh! Rookie mistake. Won't happen again. It had better not. Miss too many opportunities like that to nip something in the bud, and next thing you know somebody gets hurt because we missed a trick. No, we probably couldn't really get in trouble for it, but we don't want a thing like that hanging over our heads.


At 5:05 PM , Anonymous Auntie J said...

You should have asked her strait up what she was on. give her a shot to fess up and then tell her the next time would be the UA. Or maybe she just stayed up all night...what can you do? I am glad it's not me...


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