FL Rules for Drugging Foster Children Ignored

More on this important topic from the Miami Herald:

A first detailed look at the youngest foster children on mental-health drugs offers a disturbing glimpse into the state’s failure to heed a 2005 law — and its own policies.

Florida child-welfare administrators are largely ignoring a host of rules put in place to protect children from potentially dangerous — and sometimes unnecessary — drugs, according to a detailed state review of the records for more than 100 young foster children who are being given powerful psychiatric medications.

Caseworkers under contract with the state Department of Children & Families are failing to comply with almost every benchmark governing the use of psychotropic medication among foster children, according to the DCF report, obtained Tuesday by The Miami Herald.

Recent revelations come only four years after state lawmakers passed legislation to curb the use of mental-health drugs among children in state care. The law requires, among other things, informed consent from a parent or judge, second-party review of doctors’ prescriptions for the youngest children, and annual reports to the state Senate.

Among the most troubling findings, child advocates say, is the state’s almost complete failure to seek a second opinion from a psychiatrist under contract with DCF before administering mental-health drugs to the youngest children in state care — younger than age 6.

Front-line social workers, judges and child welfare administrators, how are you addressing this issue in your states?

2 Replies to "FL Rules for Drugging Foster Children Ignored"

  • Niels Hoogeveen
    June 10, 2009 (2:14 pm)

    I’m not a social worker, judge or child welfare administrator, but I did archive information about some of the states where the issue of over/wrongful medication in foster care hit the news.

    Monroe county, NY

    This is of course an issue in all states and in other countries as well. Sadly it often requires the death of a child to get this issue on the agenda, making it more a damage control reaction than the result of thoughtful policies in the best interest of children.

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/5HJnsU9rr8JJTYlePqqMGyYDjMDg0Utgvg--#bfbbb
    June 11, 2009 (9:33 am)

    I am an attorney ad litem for children in foster care in Arkansas. The Department of Human Services includes the mental health services programs as well as child welfare; there is an on-going review by the mental health division of DHS of the number of children in foster care who are prescribed psychotropic medications. The review was initiated because of concerns that children in foster care were being over-medicated as a quick and easy response to behavioral issues.