Two region families seek help for their mentally ill, disabled children

2012-05-06T00:00:00Z 2012-06-30T18:23:12Z Two region families seek help for their mentally ill, disabled childrenBy Marisa Kwiatkowski marisa.kwiatkowski@nwi.com, (219) 662-5333 nwitimes.com

A dead end

Twelve-year-old Bryan Boykin has been in and out of psychiatric residential treatment facilities since he was 7, his mother says.

The Crown Point boy has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and pervasive developmental disorder. He also was diagnosed as mildly mentally handicapped.

Last August, Bryan was placed in Options Treatment Center in Indianapolis after he tried to burn down his mother's house. He remained there until March, when Medicaid said it would no longer pay for Bryan's residential placement because he hadn't shown enough progress.

The decision was devastating to Bryan's mother, 35-year-old Jill Lewin-Boykin, who said her son needs 24-hour supervision and a structure she just can't provide at home. When Bryan rages, he targets his 8-year-old sister, Lewin-Boykin said.

Lewin-Boykin sought help from the local Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services office, but officials there sent her to the local Indiana Department of Child Services office. DCS officials said they would have to substantiate neglect against her in order to place Bryan in a care facility.

Reluctantly, Lewin-Boykin agreed. She said she can't afford the $200 a day it would cost for Bryan's residential placement.

DCS officials visited the family's home in March, but Lewin-Boykin said officials decided not to substantiate neglect against her because they said Bryan didn't need to be in a residential facility. Lewin-Boykin plans to appeal the DCS decision.

Confidentiality rules prohibit DCS officials from commenting on Lewin-Boykin's situation.

'My choices are gone'

Brownsburg, Ind., resident Cheri Monroe said her attorney encouraged her earlier this year to plead guilty to neglecting her 16-year-old daughter so the girl could receive mental health services.

Monroe said her daughter, Mary, either has tried or threatened to kill herself seven times since May 2010.

Mary wrote a paper earlier this year about how much she hated herself and how she couldn't even get killing herself right, Monroe said. Mary wrote that she was angry because she woke up that morning despite overdosing on sleeping pills the previous night.

Mary showed the paper to a school official in February, who had Mary transported to a local hospital for treatment, Monroe said.

Mary remained in the hospital for about a week — until the family's insurance company said they were done paying, Monroe said. At the time, Mary still was telling her therapist she believed suicide was an option.

Monroe said she refused to take her daughter home from the hospital. The hospital called DCS, who gave Monroe a choice: Take her home or be charged with neglect. Monroe said she again refused to bring her daughter home.

"It is unconscionable that I be made to take my child home to watch her kill herself," Monroe said.

DCS officials removed Mary from Monroe's custody, which initiated juvenile court proceedings. Monroe said her attorney encouraged her to plead guilty to neglect so DCS would pay for services for Mary, but Monroe refused.

"I'm not giving up my daughter, and I'm not going to say I'm guilty," she said. "The only thing I'm guilty of is trying to get my daughter help."

Monroe said DCS later declined to substantiate neglect against her and agreed to pay for at-home services for Mary to prevent her from being back in the same situation again.

Confidentiality rules prohibit DCS officials from commenting on Monroe's case.

Monroe said she is happy her daughter is now receiving services but troubled by the route it took to get there.

"My worst day dealing with these professionals is better than a day standing at my daughter's grave site," she said.

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