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

alex.wallace's picture

alex.wallace said:

Foster parents should be active in the foster child's treatment plan in order to be able to help that child properly. Foster children need to know someone cares for them and by being active in the child's life is one of the best ways to show that.
penny.wallace's picture

penny.wallace said:

How should foster parents be consulted or actively participate in the treatment plans of children and youth they care for? It is our responsibility as foster parents to actively be a part of every aspect of their lives. Attend every Doctor appointment, therapy session, IEP meeting, and any other meeting or appointment that may come up. Also listen to your child, no matter the age. Foster children should feel comfortable with their foster family and always make time to privately talk to each of your children. Most foster children don't want all their business out there for everyone to know.
brookiedee's picture

brookiedee said:

Foster parents should make sure youth understand their rights and why they are receiving medication. They should also support and be there for older youth if they want them involved in medical decisions.
Jodi.1432's picture

Jodi.1432 said:

How should foster parents be consulted or actively participate in the treatment plans of children and youth they care for? I feel that it is important for us to be someone that the kids can go to and talk. Let them ask questions and don't judge them for the way they feel. I know that one of our foster children was given an antidepressant after spending a week in the hospital for SI w/ a plan. As soon as she got out of the hospital, the outpatient doctor immediately took her off of them. I have mixed emotions about this. He stated that her behaviors were situational so we needed to switch her situation. How do we do that? It has been a long road with her. Still, I wonder if the meds would be better. I'm not saying that it should be long term but at the same time, I think some of these kids need it to get through. Just as an adult will go when they are getting divorce or if their child dies, we get put on antidepressants just to get us through that time. Sometimes, kids just need a little boost to help them deal.
jdwilliams's picture

jdwilliams said:

Foster parents are on the front line of care concerning children. They have the most contact and observation of problem behavior and concerns. They not only should be consulted but need to also observe for any side effects a medication may have.
tracey's picture

tracey 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
Dycie_r's picture

Dycie_r said:

Foster parents should, of course, be included in every step of the treatment plan as they are there to help ensure the child is on track with the plan. The Foster parent as well as the caseworker will involve the child in the development of his or her treatment plan.
gdmj0311's picture

gdmj0311 said:

foster parents should be included in the treatment and therapy of the child and talk with them to have an understanding of their feelings and how it affects them. to keep communication open so they know that the foster parents are there to help and support them through the difficult times they are coping with.
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.