Credit hours:
2.50

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

heatherwood's picture

heatherwood said:

Foster parents should help ensure the children feel that the doctors office is a safe place. They should also engage in their foster kids healthcare process by asking the doctor questions.
requiempress@gmail.com's picture

[email protected] said:

Foster parents should go to doctor's appointments and advocate for their foster children.
rdsimpson7112's picture

rdsimpson7112 said:

Foster parents should always consider whether the issues the child is dealing with could be more related to situation rather than a need for medication. It is also important to explore all avenues and options prior to a child going on medication. My husband and I have dealt with a lot of ADHD and hyperactivity in general with our placements. We have tried essential oils, activities to burn excess energy, dietary changes, consistent routines, and more. Sometimes these other options are helpful and sometimes it has been necessary to try medication. If the children are older and understand more, they should definitely be encouraged to be more active in the decisions about medication.
Truth and Love's picture

Truth and Love said:

Taking care of a child on medicine is a day to day adjustment.
Trinalafaye's picture

Trinalafaye said:

Foster parents should make sure that they explore all options before they use medication. Research and find out all possible ways to help the children that you have. There is meditation, diet, exercise, therapy and anything that can calm the child down so that they aren't harming themselves and it helps with depression. Also make sure that you talk with the child to notice any signs or symptoms that could be troubling and let them know that you are there to help.
gwayns's picture

gwayns said:

Foster parents should be the advocate for the foster child. Maintaining and assuring that all avenues have been traveled to exhaustion regarding behavior modifications/therapy prior to the introduction of psychotropic medications.
deniselong's picture

deniselong said:

How should foster parents be consulted or actively participate in the treatment plans of children and youth they care for?....Foster parents should rarely be content that psychotropic medications can be the first and/or only treatment offered to a youth with psychological or behavioral issues. Foster parents should work with the child's medical team to utilize a combination of therapy, physical activity, healthy eating, mindfulness and, finally, medication to optimize the youth's well being.
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.