Credit hours:

Course Summary

The overuse of psychotropic medication for children and youth in foster care has been a popular topic for national news networks and in discussions among policy makers, child welfare professionals, and other stakeholders in the field. It is critical that foster parents have a strong understanding of this important issue, so they can help to manage the mental health and treatment of the young people they care for. This module will provide an introduction to the issue, as well as a tool that foster parents and caregivers can use with young people in their care to help manage mental health needs and decisions about psychotropic medications.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • General concerns with the use of psychotropic medications for children and youth

  • How to engage children and youth in your care in conversations about their mental health and the use of medication to manage it

  • Trauma-informed strategies to manage a child or youth’s mental health

Step 1

Read national media story "Foster Kids Given Psychiatric Drugs At Higher Rates" from National Public Radio (NPR) that provides an overview of the uses and concerns with psychotropic medication in foster care.

Step 2

Learn the impact psychotropic medications can have on young people and grow your understanding of potential behaviors that can occur in reaction to psychotropic medications. Read in-depth report "Colorado Responds Slowly to Psychotropic Drug Use Among Foster Kids" by the Denver Post, featuring FosterClub Lived Experience Leader Diego Conde.

Step 3

Review the "Making Healthy Choices" guide developed for youth in foster care that discusses making decisions about their mental health, treatment options, and the use of psychotropic medications.

Step 4

Learn more about treatment for youth in foster care who have experienced trauma and are working to improve their mental health by reviewing the guide "Supporting Youth in Foster Care in Making Healthy Choices" for caregivers and other supportive adults.

Step 5

Join the discussion in the comments below to answer the following question:

How should foster parents be consulted or actively participate in the treatment plans of children and youth they care for?

Step 6

Finished the module?  If you are logged in as a subscribed user, take the quiz to earn your Continuing Education Credit hours and certificate!

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Course Discussion's picture

[email protected] said:

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evanritchey@bla... said:

Foster parents should work together with case workers, the child, and the child's doctor to determine the best course of action for the child.
saadianaveed's picture

saadianaveed said:

Foster parents should work closely not only with case workers, social workers, counselors etc but also be involved with psychiatrists.
juls3434's picture

juls3434 said:

Foster parents should be intimately involved as they are providing daily care.
hudsonslater's picture

hudsonslater said:

Foster parents should be intimately involved in the psychiatric care of foster children in their care. Foster parents have the most interaction with these children and are in a unique position to recognize behaviors and tendencies that may indicate a psychiatric problem. Foster parents should work with the child in a cooperative manner, and not in a strictly dictatorial way. The child should not be re-victimized or stigmatized during the treatment process. Foster parents should take into account the child's past trauma and recognize that there will always be problematic psychiatric issues with foster care, and should not rush to medicate, especially if it is just as a way to reduce problems for the parent. The main goal should be to provide a way for the child to succeed.
karalou's picture

karalou said:

Foster parents should work together with case workers, the child, and the child's doctor to determine the best course of action for the child. Foster parents should be given a complete medical history for the child and be actively involved in medical visits, case planning, and any therapy the child needs.
Chaineddown17's picture

Chaineddown17 said:

Foster parents and the children and youth services would benefit from being able to communicate and advocate for the child in their care to ensure that they are on only the medications needed. As children with trauma may express different needs, it is important to get to the know the individual and assess and treat them as the individual. Foster parents have a very rough job of trying to provide what a child does not have, and may have never had, for the time that the child is with them. Having medications that are needed and beneficial ensure that the child can work through their emotions and addresses and express their feelings freely.
Fawn513's picture

Fawn513 replied:

I completely agree. To effectively care for our youth; we should be in communication with the team of doctors, working with the youth TOGETHER to help them feel their best about life and the issues they’re facing.
csnewsom2020's picture

csnewsom2020 replied:

The foster parent should go to appts with the child to be able to understand their medical needs. I think that the foster parent needs to learn about the foster child's medical history, including diagnoses, behaviors if any, and medications.
tipster127's picture

tipster127 said:

Foster Parents should actively talk to the youths in their care. They should help foster youth work through their emotions with their healthcare providers. These kids aren't on their own and foster families should help them feel that. Foster parents can help the children advocate for themselves and listen to the childs needs, wants and concerns, and come up with behavioral help aside from medication.