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

aweaver's picture

aweaver said:

Understanding the full, complete picture of what the child has experienced in his/her lifetime, and learning about the uses and side effects of the drugs.
gibb.luke's picture

gibb.luke said:

Research, be informed, and educated what the child/children in their home are taking. They should be aware of the side effects and record bodily/behavior changes as they occur as well. If questions arise they should ask for a second opinion and explore different medication/non-medication options for the best interest of the child.
iveygibb's picture

iveygibb said:

To ensure their safety and quality of life. Our daughter was overly medicated and a "zombie" after medication administration. It's so easy to fall into that crack, especially with aggressive child. We are still trying to find a stable ground (off medication) but I am continually amazed how "different" one responds to strong mind-altering medications. It's often a difficult and conflicting situation to be in (to challenge another doctor, foster parent, or case manager) but you are the parent -- the one who sees them the most in this season of life. You are their voice and caretaker.
rlatkinson's picture

rlatkinson said:

We need to research diagnoses, medications, previous history along with having open discussions with all involved.
jkatkinson's picture

jkatkinson said:

I believe it is our responsibility to ensure all questions are asked of the workers, doctor & pharmacist to get baseline information.
vmburk's picture

vmburk said:

Foster parents need to be trained about medications and should question excessive us of drugs
CarolineShafer's picture

CarolineShafer said:

It is very important for foster parents to be informed and educated on the medication their foster child is taking. This way they can identify and harmful side affects.
CarolineShafer's picture

CarolineShafer said:

It is very important for foster parents to be informed and educated on the medication their foster child is taking. This way they can identify and harmful side affects.
beverly40's picture

beverly40 said:

I think it is important to know what type of medication, when and how much. To understand each side effects and to know all medication should be put out of the reach of children. If the medication is not working proper and you think something is wrong call the caseworker.
andidoll's picture

andidoll said:

It saddens me to see that children in foster are more likely to receive prescriptions for high dosages of multiple medications. Sadder is the money that doctors are receiving from pharmaceutical companies to prescribe these medications. I am shocked!