The overprescription of children and youth is a crisis in the child welfare system. While medications can be useful in treating the symptoms of mental health disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, they also often have substantial side effects. In response to the growing rates of prescription psychotropic medication use within this population, the child welfare system has rapidly expanded its capacity to monitor antipsychotic medications and their side effects. A priority of these policies is to coordinate care between key members of a child’s life, including caseworkers and foster parents. Below, find resources to equip caseworkers and foster parents in supporting children and youth by monitoring psychotropic medications and their side effects.
Guidance on Strategies to Promote Best Practice in Antipsychotic Prescribing for Children and Adolescents (PDF - 2, 790 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2019)
Outlines systems-level strategies that can be implemented into child welfare agency practice that aim to reduce the overprescription of psychotropic medication for children and youth in the child welfare system.
Guidelines for Psychotropic Medications for Children in State Custody (PDF - 48 KB)
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (2013)
Discusses considerations for key stakeholders, including foster parents and medical providers, involved in monitoring the administration of psychotropic medications to children and youth in care in Alaska.
How Research Evidence Informs Foster Youth Medication Policies: Additional Resources (PDF - 187 KB)
Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research & Tufts Medical Center (2015)
Links to information and memorandums from professional organizations presenting best-practice guidelines for discerning the need for psychotropic medications among children and youth in foster care.
Improving the Use of Psychotropic Medication for Children in Foster Care: State Profiles (PDF - 805 KB)
Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc. (2018)
Describes six State protocols that integrated State Medicaid, child welfare, and behavioral health workers onto a team in order to oversee psychotropic prescriptions among child and youth in foster care.
Protecting Foster Youth From Unsafely Administered Psychotropic Drugs
American Bar Association
Discusses methods for mitigating the unsafe use of psychotropic medication, as well as nonpharmacological interventions for children and youth in foster care.
Psychotropic Medication Oversight Among Youth in Custody of State Child Welfare Systems [Video]
Madison, Mackie, & Peterson (2016)
Administration for Children and Families
Highlights the experiences of a youth involved in foster care, specifically in relation to how psychotropic medications were prescribed and used. The workshop also highlights recent rates of psychotropic medication use among youth in foster care, provides a summary of recent Federal responses to these concerns, and offers an overview of available resources to help professionals and youth manage appropriate use of psychotropic medications.
Psychotropic Medications: Guide for Caseworkers and Advocates of Foster Youth (PDF - 528 KB)
Oregon Department of Human Services (2014)
Guides child welfare caseworkers through a series of considerations, including nonmedical strategies, documentation, and pertinent diagnoses, in order to mitigate rates of unnecessary psychotropic medication prescriptions.
Psychotropic Medication Guidelines for Youth in Care With the Indiana Department of Child Services (PDF - 5,460 KB)
Indiana Psychotropic Medication Advisory Committee, Psychotropic Advisory Subcommittee (2016)
Provides guidance about the appropriate prescription of psychotropic medications, including specifications for when medication is not advised and methods for monitoring the effects of new medications.
U.S. Children's Bureau
Download (PDF - 1,596KB)
Versión para imprimir (PDF - 1,725KB)