No structural solution has yet been found for the family of Laura from Sijbekarspel. And this while her family has been in crisis for more than a year. Why is it not possible to find suitable care for her son Jim*? “We go from disappointment to disappointment.”
Unfortunately, she knows the stories all too well by now. ‘We will arrange it’, ‘it will be fine’, ‘we take it really seriously’. Full and half promises from agencies with good intentions, but who can accomplish little. “You keep getting disappointed because everyone gets stuck. There’s no end to it. And we’re by no means the only ones. One person told me she’s had 16 youth counselors in the past three years. 16!”
The situation in her care-intensive family of Laura has been dire for months. Crisis with a capital C. Her son Jim is 13 years old and has autism, ADHD and Gilles de la Tourette. This creates a lot of tension in the house for the whole family.
Jim spent a few years in the weekends at the care farm De Cormeijhoeve in Slootdorp. This allowed the rest of the family to catch their breath. After an incident through no fault of his own, Jim was no longer welcome at the Cormeij farm. Jim returned home and the municipality of Medemblik determined in August 2021 that there was a crisis situation.
Since then, the family has become entangled in a web of care systems with care providers and the municipality of Medemblik, with all the consequences that entails. Laura collapsed last April and struggled with suicidal thoughts.
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The savior seemed to be coming in the person of Jan Steven van Dijk. He is director of PluZorg. “Given the urgency, it’s all hands on deck,” he said at the end of June. “We have to pull out all the stops.”
He expected to turn the situation around quickly. But almost three months later, still no solution has been found. Despite the interference of PluZorg, the Omring and the municipality of Medemblik, among others. It is not possible to find suitable care for Jim.
Laura takes a deep breath. “In fact, nothing has changed. Our son went to a care farm that had just started up in Nieuwe Niedorp. There was a really good click. The people there had no experience with overnight care, but wanted to offer him a nice, relaxing week. he had four nice days while our family was relieved. He could come there on Fridays, but then he just has to go to school. Then the holidays would remain, but that is once every seven weeks. That is unfortunately not a structural solution.”
Previous acquaintances with care farms in the region also came to nothing. For example, Jim could go to care farm The Owlish Fortress in Andijk. “But there were mainly horses there and he doesn’t like that at all. This was already known before the introduction, but we wanted to give it a chance anyway. That way you go from disappointment to disappointment. For the other two children it is checked whether they are on another way to unburden them, to give them a pleasant time.”
“Where’s the right help? I’m so tired…”
Expectations have fallen even further. “Where is the right help? I’m so tired. You run into so many closed doors. I don’t expect anything more, then it can only be easier. Our son has difficulty making contact with other children and is becoming increasingly isolated. He is hindered in his development. He would greatly benefit from having his own place in a location with approximately like-minded people. But apparently there is not one, or there is no space.”
She continues to fight for her son’s happiness – no matter how difficult it is. “The most important thing is that I want my child to grow. That he feels supported and good. Every child needs that. How long do we have to lobby until our son can go somewhere?”
* To protect privacy, the name of the 13-year-old boy has been changed. His real name is known to NH Nieuws. The family’s surname is therefore not mentioned either.
Significant shortage of supply: “Unfortunately, not immediately resolved tomorrow”
“It’s not a piece of cake,” says Jan Steven van Dijk. As director of PluZorg, he previously devoted himself to the situation surrounding Jim, but now he also knows that finding suitable care is a complicated quest. “It is more difficult than expected. Unfortunately, it will not be solved immediately tomorrow.”
The few options he had at his disposal didn’t suit Laura’s son. The care farm in Andijk did not match the client and there is – as yet – no place in Nieuwe Niedorp. Why is it not possible to find suitable care? Van Dijk: “There is a great shortage of supply for this target group in the region. There are many people on waiting lists. Unfortunately, we have a file full of sad stories.”
Yet he does not give up. Another possible option is being sought in Aartswoud, not far from his hometown of Sijbekarspel. “As of 1 November, we will have access to a residential location, where we will facilitate 10 living places and a guest house for weekend and holiday care. I want to see if that might be a suitable location for him.”
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