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

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.
criada48's picture

criada48 said:

Foster parents have several roles, including being available to discuss treatment options with their youth, attending appointments with them, engaging in planning meetings with the team, advocating for needed services, partnering with their youth to find appropriate services, etc. It would probably be quite helpful for foster parents to keep a journal of their observations of their youth's symptoms, appointments, etc. to help guide planning.
Kirastylz84's picture

Kirastylz84 said:

Communicate with all team members about the youth’s progress while on and off medication.
Martha Firehock's picture

Martha Firehock said:

Make sure youth know about treatment options. Help with consistency for appointments.
michelle3585's picture

michelle3585 said:

Always be willing and open to listening to your youth, if they want to try to cope with out medication attempt to make that possible it helps to give them control over themself
riverreines's picture

riverreines said:

advocate for therapy, be at all meetings and therapy sessions, encourage open discussions