Friday, December 02, 2011

Unnecessarily Drugging Foster Care Youth

A concern that comes up again and again with foster care youth and young adults is the issue of overmedication in foster care.
A new study, Antipsychotic Treatment Among Youth in Foster Care , examined concomitant antipsychotic use among Medicaid-enrolled youth in foster care, compared with disabled or low-income Medicaid-enrolled youth.

They found that:
  • More than a third of youth in foster care without disabilities had multiple anit-psychotic prescriptions lasting longer than 90 days
  • Children who were not adopted had the highest rates of prescriptions, representing 38 out of every 100 children in foster care.
In comparison, 26 out of every 100 children who were on public assistance but not in foster care had more than one antipsychotic prescription.

In recent years, doctors and policy makers have grown concerned about high rates of overall psychiatric drug use in the foster care system. Previous studies have found that children in foster care receive psychiatric medications at about twice the rate among children outside the system. 

In 2008, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support held a hearing on the u tilization of psychotropic medication for children in foster car e.

In 2010, Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the prevalence of prescribed psychotropic medications for children in foster care.    

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