A mother fears she will have to place her autistic daughter into the foster care system if she cannot place her in a specialist boarding school.
Liz Lindenbauer is in desperate need of help from Kent County Council (KCC) to place 10-year-old Eva, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), at Sussex Institution.
The 34-year-old Maidstone resident said: “The lockdown has sadly ruined our family.
“We had stable things for a long time, and every day I managed to keep Eva stimulated during this period.
“But over the last 10 months it has become clear that it will not be possible for him to go back as if the lockdown had never happened.
“Once things started to get back to normal, Eva’s behavior accelerated and became much worse than when she was initially diagnosed with ASD, ADHD and a sensory disorder four years ago. year.”
Eva’s diagnoses mean she has a grave disregard for her own safety or the safety of others.
She also has severe violent outbursts and panic attacks that cause her to vomit violently.
Liz has also been randomly attacked by her daughter and it is not uncommon for Eva to try to run away from her mother.
Last December, Liz had to call the social services line out of hours in tears after Eva suddenly tried to push her down a busy main road in the dark.
The girl also has a lack of emotional control.
She may be hyperactive, then angry before suddenly crying hysterically.
On top of that, Eva goes for long periods without sleep and has a complete disregard for her own needs.
Because of her behavior, Liz tried to arrange placement at an ASD boarding school through KCC.
The full-time carer said: “Eva currently attends Five Acre Wood School in Loose, a district special school for children and young people with profound, severe and complex learning difficulties.
“KCC currently pays for transport to and from school five days a week.
“However, due to his age and the new severity of his ASD, the placement is no longer suitable for him.
“The school, which has been great, recognized this and supported us in finding a new placement for Eva which will help her find a new routine and get support from a more specialized therapist who can help him calm his tantrums.”
To meet the needs of the family, it was decided that a boarding school would best meet Eva’s needs.
Liz thinks the routine would do her daughter good and also get her back to work.
When searching for a suitable school, the family was turned down by a day school near Dartford.
However, after finding out about New Barn School special education in West Sussex, which costs tens of thousands of pounds to attend, Liz and a very excited Eva finally felt they had found the perfect boarding school.
“If it continues to get worse, a normal, unprofessional person won’t be able to take care of her…”
Liz said: “We have spoken with the school about having Eva for 38 weeks, this means she will be coming home at the weekends and during half terms.
“That way the council would only have to pay for his placement and a return trip to school twice a week.
“Everything is going well, I had even considered moving to the area myself, that means I’ll be close by.”
Eva was allowed to do a trial stay at the boarding school.
During this time, the staff helped her deal with her panic attacks within 20 minutes and made sure she was happy while staying with them.
Liz added: “Eva’s very tough and harsh behaviors have gotten to the point that my family can’t handle them.
“If it continues to get worse, a normal, unprofessional person won’t be able to take care of her.
“So to know that she was being cared for by professionals who know exactly what they are doing is really comforting.
“While she was in the evaluation period with them, she did so well that they offered her a place before the end of the day, which I did not expect.
“When I came to pick her up, I couldn’t recognize her from afar.
“Her body language had changed, she looked more confident and her speech was clearer.
“He was a different person, school had given him back his independence in such a short time.
“That’s when I knew we wanted this 38-week boarding placement.
“It’s not about firing her, it’s about giving her independence, giving her an opportunity
“I want to see my daughter like this again and she wants it too, Eva has already packed.”
“It’s as if all of a sudden the plans for his education haven’t been agreed upon…”
After the trial stay and meetings with social workers and KCC, Liz thought Eva’s school transfer should go smoothly.
His place at New Barn was on hold until the end of this month or early October.
However, the mother says there was then confusion over the council’s support with officers saying they had not given Eva the green light to attend the school.
She said: “I have an email and a paper trail with a signed witness statement, basically proving that his new school placement was accepted.
“But it appears that the last minutes of our last video call with counsel have been erased.
“It’s as if all of a sudden the plans for his upbringing have not been accepted.
“At the last hurdle, KCC turned around and said ‘no’ and the minutes that were recorded from previous meetings do not reflect the outcome that I actually discussed.
“At these meetings and in all these emails that I have, it basically says that the social worker will help us find the best outcome for my daughter, including emails about Eva’s references to attend New Barn.
“I just don’t understand why KCC has now gone back on its word.
“They’re basically saying they can’t help my daughter and she won’t go to this school.”
Liz worries that if Eva doesn’t attend a special school like New Barn, her behavior will not only get worse, but will also spiral out of control.
She said: “Unfortunately without this school, I should say this rehab school, she may not end up living with me, she may have to be placed in foster care.
“Right now she’s only 10, but as Eva gets older, if she doesn’t go to that special school, if she doesn’t get help from therapists, her behavior will only get worse.
“My family just won’t be able to cope with her and that’s why I should consider placing her in foster care.”
With Eva’s placement only available for the next two weeks, Liz feels KCC is dragging its feet on giving her a final answer.
She said: “I just want my daughter to be happy, New Barn School will give her that happiness.
“If something isn’t settled soon, it will be too late for her.”
KCC declined to rely on what had been agreed between the various parties, with a spokesman saying only: ‘We have our deepest sympathy for Ms Lindenbauer and her situation and are currently carrying out a further assessment to see how the board can support her. family.”