U.S. — A new legal settlement will change the way foster kids are prescribed psychotropic medications.
That settlement came after a federal judge ruled on a class-action lawsuit centered on children taking too much medication.
“without really a caregiver being able to advocate for that child, sometimes they get put in situations where they may be overmedicated.”
And foster children could be overmedicated with drugs like Xanax and Zoloft that alter a person’s mind and can have serious side effects.
That class-action lawsuit claimed physicians were prescribing foster kids drugs, without checking their medical history and didn’t have proper consent.
One foster child was prescribed seven medications, which led to hallucinations, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and even Type 2 Diabetes.
The ruling will affect 13,000 foster kids in Missouri and overhaul the state’s drug prescribing practices.
So here’s what’s changing.
First, there will be medical records and medication monitoring.
Foster kids will now have a comprehensive medical file if they receive psychotropic drugs.
Second, adults must have informed consent, and understand the risks, before authorizing prescriptions.
The state is requiring a second review of the medications by a child psychiatrist.
And lastly, foster staff will receive rigorous training on the side effects of mind-altering drugs on children.
Allison Gregory, Southwest Missouri executive director of foster-adopt connect, says many foster kids have behavioral issues and that’s why they are given medication.
“You know the children do come with a history of trauma and that’s something that should not only be potentially worked with doctors and medication but also through therapy,” Gregory said. “Medication isn’t the only answer. It can be one of the answers or solutions, but it has to work the whole child to get past the trauma they’ve experienced.”
Gregory says the foster parent or caregiver needs a more active role in their child’s health to fully advocate for their mental well being.