Recent research has shown the disproportionality of psychotropic medication prescriptions for children and youth in foster care compared to their peers not in care. It is important for parents, caregivers, child welfare professionals, and related professionals to understand the role these medications play in treating traumatic stress; have access to the most recent research on these medications; and understand rates of psychotropic medication use by children and youth, side effects, and other factors pertaining to these drugs. This section provides research and reports regarding psychotropic medications, with a particular focus on children and youth involved with the child welfare system.
Child Welfare: Oversight of Psychotropic Medication for Children in Foster Care (PDF - 1,532 KB)
Congressional Research Service (2017)
Discusses the screening and assessment services that may contribute to the overmedication of children and youth involved in the child welfare system.
Curbing the High Rates of Psychotropic Medication Prescriptions Among Children and Youth in Foster Care (PDF - 715 KB)
National Center for Youth Law
Analyzes the conditions contributing to the overprescribing of psychotropic mediations to children and youth in the foster care system based on academic and medical literature reviews, data and policy analyses, and interviews with key stakeholders. The brief concludes with State intervention examples and practice recommendations.
NSCAW, No. 17: Psychotropic Medication Use by Children in Child Welfare (PDF - 260 KB)
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families
National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being Research Brief, 17, 2012
Examines psychotropic medication use across in-home and a variety of foster care placements for children involved with the child welfare system. Using data from NSCAW, this research brief explores the rates of psychotropic medication use by age among children living in-home and in foster care settings following a report of child abuse or neglect; the rates of antipsychotic medication use by preschoolers, school-aged children, and adolescents involved with child welfare; and types of behavioral services received by children involved with child welfare, including but not limited to psychotropic medications.
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 medication was 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 medication.