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Psychotropic Medication Toolkit

Introduction

The rate of psychotropic medication prescriptions for children and youth in foster care is higher than the general population, according to several media reports and studies. An alarming number of children have been prescribed multiple potent classes of drugs to be taken simultaneously.

Such reports and movements to improve mental health services in foster care have produced several reform laws. These laws make explicit that children and youth in foster care, along with their families and representatives, must be allowed to provide input into whether or not psychotropic medication is part of their treatment plan.

Senate Bill 238, signed into law by Governor Brown on October 6, 2015, stipulates that certain professionals and others who work with children and youth in foster care should be provided training about important topics related to the administration of psychotropic medication.

Specifically, training about psychotropic medication and trauma as related to children and youth in foster care, along with information about behavioral health and substance use, is to be provided to:

  • group home administrators,
  • foster parents,
  • child welfare social workers,
  • probation officers,
  • public health nurses,
  • dependency court judges and attorneys,
  • court appointed counsel, and
  • special advocates.