Can Antipsychotic Medications for Foster Children Be Better Regulated?

April – June 2012, Youth Law News: Foster children are medicated with antipsychotic and other psychotropic medications far more often than other children in the United States. The long-term effects on the developing brains of children and adolescents are unknown. The side effects include significant health risks that in some cases are life-threatening, but the rationale for medicating tens of thousands of foster children is unclear, as few foster children are psychotic. Certainly the drugs’ sedative effects may make life easier for foster parents and group home attendants. An adolescent who is passive or even lethargic demands less attention than an active, obstreperous, and rebellious one. Concern that antipsychotic drugs in the foster care context often benefit caretakers at the expense of their foster children has led to many calls for better regulation. “Better regulation” generally means “less use” in the minds of those who have expressed concern. Link to Article

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