Credit hours:

Course Summary

The overuse of psychotropic medication for children and youth in foster care has been a hot topic, as profiled in the national news and in discussions among policy makers and child welfare professionals. 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 provides 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 revolving around the use of psychotropic medications for children and youth
  • How to engage your young person 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 "Foster Kids Given Psychiatric Drugs At Higher Rates", a national media story from NPR that provides an overview of the psychotropic medication issue in foster care.

Step 2

Learn what the impact psychotropic medications has on a young person and get a better understanding of your child’s behavior in reaction to psychotropic medications. Read "Colorado Responds Slowly to Psychotropic Drug Use Among Foster Kids", an in-depth report published by the Denver Post (2014), featuring FosterClub young leader Diego Conde.

Step 3

Review "Making Healthy Choices", a guide developed for youth in foster care regarding 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 "Supporting Youth in Foster Care in Making Healthy Choices" , a guide 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?

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Course Discussion

JerriCaesar's picture

JerriCaesar said:

Foster Parents should actively participant in advocating for their children through meetings, conversations, and paperwork
rhiannon's picture

rhiannon said:

Foster parents should be included in the treatment plan so they can better help and support the foster kid.
gblefort's picture

gblefort said:

They need to keep the best interest of the person, consider them as your own children, would you help them make the same choices?
Danielle Paul James's picture

Danielle Paul James said:

The foster parents should advocate for the foster child to choose the treatment option that is best for them. It should be the child's choice.
cbehney52's picture

cbehney52 said:

Don't be quick to put a child who is displaying negative behaviors on medication, even if caseworkers or therapists suggest it. we have a 5 year old girl who when she was 4 got in some trouble at school, she had only been in our home for about 6 months at the time and her therapist and the DHS supervisor were suggesting that we get her tested to see if she should be put on medication. She was 4, she had been through a lot, we decided to try to work with her instead of putting her on medication, thank God. She is still in therapy, but she is doing great, no more trouble at school and her behaviors have improved significantly. With positive attention, love, patience, and yes some time outs. This is just one specific case, I am not saying medications are never the answer, I am just trying to encourage foster parents to be patient and not rush to use medication when they experience negative behaviors from a child who has endured trauma or any child for that matter.
jerrydw40's picture

jerrydw40 said:

Treatment plans must include the foster parent, children are going to take medications as prescribed under the watchful eye of the parent, since we have to watch them take meds we need to be part of the plan.
mbufford's picture

mbufford said:

Foster parents should be involved every step of the way so they can provide proper support!
PendletonNS's picture

PendletonNS said:

I believe the medication discussion needs to actively involve all parties. Biological parents, caseworker and foster parents. Often the foster parents are given full medical care, which is great and important, but when it comes to heavy drugs I believe accountability and education for all parties would be important.
MarieSmith's picture

MarieSmith said:

I believe foster parents should be given the opportunity to talk about the behaviors and the use of the medication.
Johnrex2018's picture

Johnrex2018 said:

Foster parents should work together with the child's team to not only give input about the child's need or behaviors, but to also advocate for the child if they feel their needs are not being met in regards to their medical treatment plan. The medical team and case worker should regularly check in with the foster parent for their perspective on how the child is doing. Foster parents need to play an active role in the treatment plan for the youth by being engaged with the medical team and the youth to help make sure the appropriate information about the youth's mental state, medication, or other issues are being adequately addressed.