Saturday, April 26, 2008

Victory Forge Military Academy in Port St Lucie

I vaguely know of this facility. I only am aware of it through my job so I am not surprised that many residents do not know it exists. I have had parents on different occasions ask about military academy's for their children and have had little information to give them but what one can locate in the yellow pages or the internet.

Now I am very familiar with DCF and these are regular folk like you and me trying to do their job. Unfortunately, this type of job can leave little room for error like my own. There is no room for personal opinions and beliefs. I need to know has the law been broken?

Just because as a parent I give my permission to the handcuff and detain my child, is my written permission enough?

I went through Florida statute and I can't find anything that indicates this is specifically illegal. However read Florida State Statue 39.001 Purposes and intent; personnel standards and screening.

Loose definition - Abuse is determined by DCF and the Sate of Florida.

Federal Guidelines dictate:

"The new protections establish two sets of standards, depending on the type of facility. One applies to "non-medical community-based facilities for children and youth." The facilities will be defined in regulations and will include group homes and the like. The other set applies to any health care facility that receives federal appropriated funds, such as a public or private general hospital, an intermediate-care facility or other health care facility. All must comply with the general principle of protecting and promoting the right to be free from restraints and seclusion for purposes of discipline or convenience.

The statute requires that seclusion and restraint be used only:

* to ensure the physical safety of the individual or others; and
* subject to a written order by a physician or other licensed practitioner permitted by the facility and state law. In most cases, the written order will be obtained soon after the restraint or seclusion is initiated by staff. "

Personally and my children know this and believe this, I will use restraints to keep them safe and will give permission for the same to a military academy if I felt the need to send my child to one. However, I hope I have raised my children with respect and given them enough freedom to choose for themselves the path of right and wrong. I will do what ever I have can to make sure my children abide the law and it is no ones business how I raise my children as long as they are not harmed or in any danger of being harmed excluding corporal punishment - spankings (I am a firm believer in 'spare the rod spoil the child'). It would be nice if Florida law was a little more specific like federal guide lines. I know it would make me feel better than having to rely on another person's opinion or beliefs as to whether I was abusive or not.


olga said...

Kathy, I think you might be the one I talked to - the one who called the parents. I use no judgments on whether or not those phone calls and measures had to be taken - I leave it up to law. However, been one of the parent to retrieve our son from VF, we are faced with a dilemma: the school claims they did not close, so we are still bound by contract to pay the rest of a year on children's stay (as if we took him on our own will), and the State claims if we didn't, the child would be put into state facility and we'd be charged with child neglect. We would like some kind of confirmation that the process was initiated not by us and it was a requirement. In fact, if, indeed, the school gets charged and closed, we would like to claim not only left-over pay, but the pay for 3 weeks early withdrawal and may be even some months back (what we probably wouldn't, as we didn't have any problem personally with the way school treated the boys). Please keep us posted on how to proceed from here. My email is: Thanks.

VF Parents said...

Same situation for a lot of parents. There are a couple of ways to approach this, as you are well aware.

For others, visit: