In June of 2010, the US Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigatory arm of the Federal Government, to investigate the prevalence of prescribed psychotropic medications for children in foster care.
According to a number of foster care experts, children in foster care, who are typically concurrently enrolled in Medicaid, are three or four more times as likely to be on antipsychotic medications than other children on Medicaid. A Texas study from 2004 showed that 34.7 percent of foster children were prescribed at least one psychotropic drug with some children taking five or more.
Foster care parents receive more money if a child is on psychiatric drugs; the children are considered "special needs" children, needing a higher level of care.
Unfortunately, psychiatric drugs are not "care." Prescribing psychotropic drugs for children is especially troubling given their addictive nature and the potential side effects associated with them, including the increased risk of suicidal and violent behavior.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that House Bill 23 in the Georgia state legislature proposes to create an independent clinic review of the drugs foster children are given, which has support from both Democrats and Republicans because of its efforts to protect the vulnerable. Projections are that it will save the state millions of dollars, as Georgia spends $7.87 million per year in Medicaid funds on mind-altering psychiatric drugs for foster children.
Click here for more information about the side effects of psychiatric drugs.
Download the report "Drugging Foster Care Children" from the CCHR St. Louis website.