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Psychotropic medication and children in foster care: Tips for advocates and judges

Solchany, J. – 2011

A Practice & Policy Brief from the American Bar Association on the use of psychotropic medications to treat mental health disorders in children and youth in foster care. Lists the most common child and adolescent mental health diagnoses. Notes that children’s mental health issues can be addressed with therapy as well as medication. Lists the most common psychotropic medications. Also notes the symptoms of mental health disturbances in children. Describes the pros and cons of using psychotropic medications, noting the lack of information on the long-term effects of these medications on children, as well as the tendency to over-prescribe them for children and youth in foster care. Provides information on FDA approval and warnings regarding use of these drugs for children. Also discusses issues of caregiver consent and use of multiple medications. Notes situations in which a child should be placed on medications, and lists a series of best practice recommendations from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Includes a section on use of medications with pregnant teenagers. Lists a series of questions legal professionals should ask when medications are being considered for children and teens in foster care.