I am playing devil's advocate here, but is there ANY chance that you could work it out so that Frankie could come back after some intensive treatment??
What about a day program at a hospital complete with med management, individual therapy, group therapy etc. My son did one of these and it was a lifesaver. Basically he went there during the school day and did all his therapies, role playing, they were able to tweak his med fast because they saw him every day, and he came home at night. It lasted about 12 weeks, but I can honestly say I don't know where my kid would be now if it weren't for that program.
I am sure you have already thought all of this out, but since I was once in a very similar situation as Frankie, I am really sympathizing with him.
I am sympathetic too. I wish it were possible. I really do. One issue is of course that we now have a whole set of social workers who are on board with the decision to move him. Some of the ones who would have to agree would refuse at this point because they would believe that they were protecting me and my family -- even from me. Once you call them and tell them that you think that the dynamics are unhealthy for your birth children they don't tend to let you change your mind back. Just like they won't let Frankie, I can't unring that bell.
They know how difficult it is for us (all the foster parents) to come to that conclusion and how torn we can be with guilt and sympathy, and they tend to make us stick to our guns.
But the biggest problem is that there is no such program here. All we have is a psych/rehab hospital with a teen unit and it only does inpatient care. Well, I believe it has outpatient programing for recovering addicts, but nothing like you describe.
I wonder though -- if there had been such a program we probably would have considered it before we got here. Would it have worked?
I don't know.
One of the big differences with foster kids and birth kids is that birth kids are attached to you, and I don't just mean emotionally. They don't have the option of getting different parents. It is a tremendous piece of leverage that we use without even realizing it. If I tell my birth kid that he has to go to this program, he just doesn't have the out of refusing and insisting that he be moved.
If I had had to put Brian in the behavioral program that Frankie is in he would have complained about it. I would have told him that there was no choice. There was no where else to go to school. He would have cried and fussed and complained, and then he would have done what he had to do to get through it.
Frankie does likes us, but in no way feels that he can't get along without us. We are nice, but replaceable. He knows that if he really doesn't want to do what we want him to do he can fight it and he can eventually "win."
Of course he does not understand that "winning" is really just setting him further back on the path to independence.
But there is another part of your question. Could Frankie ever come back?
The answer is maybe. I signed a permanency agreement and though technically I am not bound to it after the agency has moved him out, I feel that I am. My commitment to him has to be balanced with my commitment to the rest of the family, and I have to do what really is best for him, not what I want to be best for him, but the door is not closed.
If a year from now Frankie has made progress in understanding why he does what he does and what he needs to do to change it, he can ask to come back and we will consider whether it would work.
Anything can happen.