I'm a single mum Sarah with 2 wonderful daughters aged 9 and 10. Both of my girls are adopted and have complex needs including Developmental Trauma Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and Sensory Integration Disorder amongst other things. Things are very difficult for us at home and, just like with many other care-experienced children, my children work hard to contain and mask their feelings in school and then explode once at home with me in their safe place. Recently the children’s paediatrician has written a letter in which she said she believes unless things change it will soon become impossible to keep the girls at home and that she believes we will need secure residential placements for them.
This was in January 2018 and 8 months later we still have no support in place for us. We have been left to sink or swim.
I am currently trying to gain for support for the children on 3 separate fronts all from Leicestershire Local Authority:
1) An appropriate educational provision with the support Emma and Sophie need to feel safe, nurtured and to be able to make progress. At present Sophie is not able to go to school and is home full time. Emma is very ill but struggling through each day in school.
2) Therapy which many highly trained specialists have recommended after thorough assessments of Emma and Sophie
3) Practical support for us to enable us to keep the children at home.Their Needs
1) The girls are currently in mainstream school. Last year I fought Leicestershire Local Authority and managed to secure Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs) for both my children. These only provide 15 hours of teaching assistant support and the children regularly do not receive this.
Due to her very high anxiety levels my youngest daughter Sophie is only able to attend school in the mornings. Even this is a struggle and her attendance is currently only 60%. She is taught 1:1 or in very small groups and still struggles. The Local Authority (LA) agree this is not meeting her needs but are refusing to consider a special school placement for her.
My eldest daughter Emma is also struggling terribly in school and self harms. The school have had to put a risk assessment in place to try and minimise the chance of serious injury. The LA are refusing to increase the hours of support to full time to ensure her safety and give her the support she so desperately wants and needs.
I am going to tribunal now to increase amount of support Sophie and Emma receive in school and to secure a special school place for Sophie.
2) The Local Authority are only agreeing to fund 6 months of therapy (out of a 3 yr specialist therapy programme) for the girls.
Without this therapy the clinical psychologist has said that 10 yr old Emma may carry up much more serious attempts on her life and that 9 yr old Sophie could be deemed to be a serious risk to herself or others, and she may need to be kept safe and contained through being admitted to an inpatient unit.
3) Leicestershire LA have refused to even assess our family to see if we can access the therapeutic in home wrap around care the psychologists have recommended. Their reply to me was simply “mother to fund” yet I am on a low income, only able to work 2 days a week due to the children’s needs. Our Post Adoption Social Worker has said "If this is not approved Emma and Sophie will not receive the full extent of therapeutic intervention required, leaving their needs unmet and placing the placement at risk of breakdown." How You Can Help
Unfortunately Leicestershire Local Authority will not provide this specialised support. I am appealing the girls’ EHCPs and will need to pay for private professionals e.g. an educational psychologist to assess the girls and then attend the tribunals to give evidence. I am also having to employ a specialist solicitor to try to gain the therapy and support we need as a family if we are to survive this. This isn’t fair on the girls, on me, on my extended family or my friends who all love Emma and Sophie.
As I am using all my available funds to pay for our nanny/carer, I have no further funds for this next step. I have sold my wedding and engagement rings and selling the little we have to raise money. My fundraising goal is only a small portion of the money I will need to raise to successfully fight the LA.
I would be ever so grateful for any help that can be provided for us to fight the LA so that my daughters get the critical support they need before it is too late.