Credit hours:
2.25

Course Summary

Please take Psychotropic Medications prior to this course. In this module, we’ll look further into the use of psychotropic medications in children and youth in foster care, beginning with a landmark investigation by the Bay Area News Group in California. Review of a report from the American Bar Association provides information that can help you become a young person’s best advocate. Throughout this module, you will hear directly from young people about the short- and long-term effects of the psychotropic medications they received while in foster care.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • Causes of overuse of psychotropic medications for children and youth in foster care
  • About the off-label use of psychotropic medications and the impacts on young people
  • How to identify various types of psychotropic medications and their intended use
  • How, as foster parent or caregiver, you can become a child’s best advocate for safe, responsible, supported, and supervised use of medication
Step 1 Watch the Bay Area News Group’s Drugging Our Kids, a powerful investigative documentary that led to reform of psychiatric medication use in California: 

Step 2

Review "Psychotropic Medication and Children in Foster Care" from the American Bar Association, which provides details about types of psychotropic medications and the role of caregivers and foster parents. Only read pages 1-25.

Step 3

Read the ThinkProgress article "Sweeping New Legislation In California Limits Psychotropics Among Foster Children", which provides an overview of leading changes in policy and practice concerning psychotropic medications.

Step 4

Join the discussion in the comments below to answer the following question:

As an advocate for children, what is the foster parent’s role in ensuring that medication is properly used for children in foster care?

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Course Discussion

penny.wallace's picture

penny.wallace said:

Do not be afraid to speak up if you think your child is being put on too many or the wrong kind of medications. As foster parents we become that child's voice.
alex.wallace's picture

alex.wallace said:

Do not be afraid to ask questions or educate yourself on your child's medications. Most importantly talk to your child.
jdwilliams's picture

jdwilliams said:

As foster parent's we must advocate for our children and treat them as if they would be with use forever. What would you want for your own personal forever child. We have to think about the long term versus their short term care.
tracey's picture

tracey said:

The foster parent needs to make sure that the medication the child is taking is appropriate for their diagnosis. They also need to communicate with child, the case worker, and doctors regarding medications
Dycie_r's picture

Dycie_r said:

Their role is to be an integral part of the child's treatment plan, which would include their input on the behaviors of the child in order for the doctor to prescribe what's best for the child. Continuos monitoring is required in order to determine any adjustments needed in prescribed medications.
rhiannon's picture

rhiannon said:

medication needs to be properly monitored and distributed. medication should be the last option. a lot of kids are abusing them. ask drs what are side effects, the ins and outs of what they are taking.
Johnrex2018's picture

Johnrex2018 said:

As an advocate for children, what is the foster parent’s role in ensuring that medication is properly used for children in foster care? The foster parent's role in ensuring medication is properly used is to be as knowledgeable as possible about the child's past (and current) behavior, medical history, and types of trauma sustained. Although the child's past is often a mystery to foster parents, we can try our best to get a hold of as much information as we can. In doing so, we can better inform therapists and psychiatrists about the the child's life and observations of their behavior under our care. The information will be critical in gauging the effectiveness of some drugs. Foster parent's must speak up if they notice adverse reactions to the medication, and also give their opinion based on the child's behavior if they believe the medication is helping the issue that it has been prescribed for.
Danielle Paul James's picture

Danielle Paul James said:

The foster parent needs to make sure that the medication the child is taking is appropriate for their diagnosis. They also need to communicate with child, the case worker, and doctors regarding medications.
cbehney52's picture

cbehney52 said:

I think getting a second opinion, educating yourself about recommended drugs, treatments and side affects are the responsibility of the foster parent as we are the main advocate for the child. I like that the government has recognized at least in some states, the abuse of psychotropic medications and the long term side affects, also giving the foster children a voice in whether they feel like the medication is helping or just "zomby-fying them". Accountability is key, keep the pharmaceutical companies, doctors, therapists, honest or give consequences. It is up to the government to do that, but up to the foster parent to be involved, informed, and on guard.
sharonwiggins's picture

sharonwiggins said:

The purpose of an advocate is to speak on the best interest of the child, stay in contact with the treatment Dr. and continue to get the child on a regular routine.