Overmedicating Foster Kids: The Cost of Skimping on Care

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CMHNetwork breaking news - 12-20-11
Just announced - three-year quality improvement initiative to improve the practice of psychotropic medication prescribing and management for children and youth in foster care. Encourage your state leadership to apply. Intent to apply deadline January 13, 2012. Take action here

The statistics that came out of this week’s GAO report on psychotropic drug use among American foster children were bone-chilling: In 2008, children in Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and Texas who’d been removed from their parents and placed in the care of state child welfare agencies were being prescribed psychiatric drugs at rates 2.7 to 4.5 times as high as non-foster care children on Medicaid. Thousands of children were taking medications at doses that exceeded FDA-approved maximum levels. Hundreds of foster children were taking more than five medications at once and some were taking up to ten drugs simultaneously. Even some infants were being prescribed psychiatric medications.

Read the full article by Judith Warner here.

About the author
Judith Warner is best known for her 2005 New York Times best-seller, Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety , and the New York Times column, "Domestic Disturbances." She is currently a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. Her latest book, We've Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication, received the 2010 Outstanding Media Award for Science and Health Reporting from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. A former special correspondent for Newsweek in Paris, she hosted The Judith Warner Show on XM satellite radio from 2005 to 2007, and wrote several other books, including the 1993 best-seller Hillary Clinton: The Inside Story.

Thanks to Lisa Lambert, Executive Director of the Parent Professional Advocacy League, Boston, MA for sharing this article with us. Judith Warner was the keynote speaker at PPAL's conference this past June.

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