Credit hours:
2.50

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

bclickwar's picture

bclickwar said:

we had one foster boy who was 6 years old.. we took him to therapy and the dr. wanted to prescribe meds for him. he was austic and had severe adhd. we asked the caseworker about his meds. and she said we couldn't give him any because his birth mom refused to let him be given any meds for his condition.. our hands where tied and we felt that we let this child down... the birth parents should not be allowed to hinder these children from getting the help they need....we feel as if we failed him... he is now with an adoptive family and maybe they will help him... sometimes the system doesn't work for the children....
bclickwar's picture

bclickwar said:

we had one foster boy who was 6 years old.. we took him to therapy and the dr. wanted to prescribe meds for him. he was austic and had severe adhd. we asked the caseworker about his meds. and she said we couldn't give him any because his birth mom refused to let him be given any meds for his condition.. our hands where tied and we felt that we let this child down... the birth parents should not be allowed to hinder these children from getting the help they need....we feel as if we failed him... he is now with an adoptive family and maybe they will help him... sometimes the system doesn't work for the children....
skipper123's picture

skipper123 said:

We as foster parents need the help of the professional experts to get us through hard times that the children has experienced before they came to my home. What we observe in the home then the agency needs to follow through on what we see instead off dragging their feet. We want the kids to grow up in normal home and all we need some help with meds. After my son got on his meds then he started to function like himself and not be emotional wreck like he was before
spedteacher828's picture

spedteacher828 said:

Both my children are from the foster care system. They both had prenatal drug exposure as well. I know that this makes them a greater risk for ADHD. My son, doctors said that they wouldn't do any medication for his ADHD until he was 5. They said there was nothing on the market for children under 5 and once he turned 5, it was limited to just a couple until he turned 6 and many more options were available. The funny thing now, is his sister, who is 2 1/2, her neurologist told me that when she turns 3, he would prescribe some medication for her ADHD. I thought there was nothing out there until age 5? One doctor tells you one thing and another does something else. I don't know that I am comfortable putting my daughter on something that young after her rough start and it taking over 18 months to detox from her prenatal drug exposure.
Q50mcneil's picture

Q50mcneil replied:

As a licensed healthcare worker, I am against putting a child younger than 3 years of age or 5 years of age especially if their are no symptoms on medications, be glad they are healthy and breathing and walking. I work with medically fragile youth who need and have to take medication and their times when they may feel discomfort and they may have doctors order. I never ignore doctors orders but Im lucky because their parents have the final say when administering as needed medication. If they are not in distress or pain There are other natural methods. Some as simple as soft music. And simple things such as non violent TV shows which at times may produce some of these aggressive moods. If they have ADHD. You have to find a way to fine tune that hyperactivity she's 3 how about ballet. Im sure she would love a tutu skirt. Michael Phelps has ADHD if she is not sick just monitor her because psychotropics on a growing and developing child. Im just Old School. Get some tennis shoes go to the park, keep her busy you are the parent when she can't sleep at night from the medication and when she goes through withdrawal SYMPTOMS because mommy can't stand in line at CVS for a refill. Im just against pushing drugs to children unless its medically needed especially is she does not have any symptoms not tearing up the house, not doing anything abnormal, but even if she is she may be bored. These kids are so much more advanced than we were. Good Luck
Q50mcneil's picture

Q50mcneil replied:

As a licensed healthcare worker and I am against putting a child younger than 3 years of age or 5 years of age especially if their are no symptoms. I work with medically fragile youth who need and have to take medication and their times when they may feel discomfort and they may have doctors order. I never ignore doctors orders but Im lucky because their parents have the say so when administering as needed medication. If they are not in distress or pain, then there are other natural methods. Some as simple as soft music. And simple things such as non violent TV shows which at times may produce some of these aggressive moods. If they have ADHD. You have to find a way to fine tune that hyperactivity she's 3 how about ballet. Im sure she would love a tutu skirt. Michael Phelps has ADHD if she is not sick just monitor her because psychotropics on a growing and developing child. Im just Old School. Get some tennis shoes go to the park, keep her busy you are the parent when she can't sleep at night from the medication and when she goes through withdrawal SYMPTOMS because mommy can't stand in line at CVS for a refill. Im just against pushing drugs to children unless its medically needed especially is she does not have any symptoms not tearing up the house, not doing anything abnormal, but even if she does have a normal tantrum. She may be bored. These kids are so much more advanced than we were. Good Luck