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Course Summary

*This is part 2 of a 2 part series. Please complete Psychotropic Medications Part 1 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 will provide information to 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:

  • Why psychotropic medications are overused for children and youth in foster care

  • The impact of off-label psychotropic medications on young people in care

  • How to identify various types of psychotropic medications and their intended uses

  • Ways foster parents and caregivers can become children and youth's best advocates for safe, responsible, supported, and supervised use of medication where appropriate

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.

Step 3

Read the ThinkProgress article "Sweeping New Legislation In California Limits Psychotropics Among Foster Children" for 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

amberbobst's picture

amberbobst said:

I feel it is important to know exactly what the medication is treating and to review the side effects. It should be locked away that only you can access it and make sure child receives their medication on time daily followed by directions. It is important to look for signals if medication is not working properly or if child voices and says something is wrong when taking the medication.
linneacnord's picture

linneacnord said:

It is vital that medication not only be kept safely away from children, but that there is an accurate log showing what medication was given and when. It is also important to keep a file with the medication information and dosage locked with them medication incase of emergency so that someone else knows what they should give the child or children.
albertjeffrey27's picture

albertjeffrey27 said:

As a foster parent, HCTC Foster and adoptive parent of one, I have learned in time that majority of my foster children were in fact, overly prescribed medication more than any adult including elderly people in most cases. I took an interest in seeking second and third opinions from medical and pediatric doctors who help me make better choices in advocating for my Foster children. I urge families to work with foster children and us your adult and parental instinct to decrease the amount of prescription medications these children take and talk to the foster kids each and every day as to how they feel. Slowly, they will open up and for the most part, eventually comfy to the foster parent as to how the medications is making him or her feel availing the foster parent to have better parental power to advocate for these kids and not allow the system or doctors to fill these kids with powerful psychotropic prescription medications that just numb the foster child and renders a barrier in gaining control of their mental, physical and ability to move on from their past neglect or abuse.
carynn's picture

carynn said:

To control the issuance of medications to children always log all medications on a medication log sheet for the specific child. Also keep a medication safely locked away from children.
dewbabyt's picture

dewbabyt said:

To ensure that nobody other than the foster child takes their medication, it should be under lock and key. A medication log should be used each and every time medication is given to the child.
skipper123's picture

skipper123 said:

You need to keep it locked up so others can't get to the medication. Also, knowing how many you have and have used, you can keep track of it.