Federal Agencies Release Joint Letter Guiding the Safe, Appropriate and Effective Use of Pyschotropic Medications Among Children in Foster Care

December 19, 2011

[Note: This entry posted on behalf of Emily Krueger, Information Specialist II, Permanency Planning for Children Department of the NCJFCJ.]

The Department of Health and Human Services released a joint letter with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on safe, appropriate, and effective use of psychotropic medications among children in foster care. Also, ACF, CMS, and SAMHSA plan to offer expanded opportunities to States and territories to strengthen their systems of prescribing and monitoring psychotropic medication use among children in foster care.

The NCJFCJ’s Model Courts are working to ensure psychotropic medications are prescribed safely and effectively. The State of Texas, which has a Model Court in Austin, has seen a 31% decrease in psychotropic prescribing of all types—since 2005. In Los Angeles, Presiding Judge Michael Nash and Model Court stakeholders implemented protocols for monitoring psychotropic medication for youth in the dependency and juvenile justice systems. The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 requires states to strengthen medical oversight, which should include oversight of medication prescribed to foster children.

Click here to view the joint letter that includes information on effective management of prescription medications for children in foster care.

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