Saturday, May 09, 2009

Curroption in the Florida foster care system

Declaring that mental-health drugs have uses other than the treatment of psychiatric problems, Florida child welfare administrators have sometimes ignored a 2005 law that requires the agency to obtain the consent of a parent or judge before giving mind-altering medications to foster children.

The head of the state Department of Children & Families acknowledged Friday that an agency administrator has allowed caseworkers to bypass the requirement when a foster child's doctor insists such drugs are not being used for psychiatric purposes.

''He did take that position,'' DCF Secretary George Sheldon said of Frank Platt, a DCF policy analyst who oversees medication of foster children. ``He won't take that position tomorrow.''

''That is not our policy, and I intend to make that clear,'' Sheldon added, saying he does not know exactly how many children were medicated without a parent or judge's consent as a result of the directive. He has asked a work group to pull the files of every child in state care to ensure state law is being followed, he said.



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