More out-of-control medication...
Report questions treatment of kids in B.C.'s care
CanWest News Service; Victoria Times Colonist
Thursday, September 21, 2006
VICTORIA - Children in the continuing care of the British Columbia government are four times more likely to be treated for a mental disorder, a joint report by B.C.'s chief medical and children's officers shows.
These children have been prescribed Ritalin-type medications between 8.5 and 12.5 times more often than children who have never been in care, says the report released Wednesday at the legislature.
Co-authored by B.C.'s chief medical officer Perry Kendall and Child and Youth Officer Jane Morley, the report offers the first "baseline" data reflecting the health and well-being of children in government care. The data was gathered for children in care between 1997 and 2005, and the picture is not a positive one.
Children in care were hospitalized between two and 3.5 times more frequently than those in the general population.
Young women in continuing care became pregnant at a rate more than four times higher than those who had never been in care.
The data also shows 85 per cent of children in continuing care received treatment for respiratory conditions before the age of 19, a rate 15 per cent higher than normal.
As a result, the most concrete recommendation among 13 made by the officers is for the introduction of a no-smoking policy in B.C. foster homes.
The report also recommends the Ministry of Children and Family Development engage academics to research the issue of whether children in care are being appropriately medicated with cerebral stimulants. Besides the prevalence of Ritalin use, the report shows that psychotherapeutic agents are prescribed to children in continuing care at a rate between 5.5 and eight times higher than others.
About 65 per cent of children in continuing care receive treatment for mental disorders, four times the general population.
© CanWest News Service 2006