Stambaugh, L.F., Leslie, L.K., Ringeisen, H., et al. – 2012
A research brief using data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) that examines the use of psychotropic medications on children and youth in the child welfare system. Presents background on the issue, noting high numbers of prescriptions for psychotropic (including antipsychotic) medications in the foster care population. An analysis of survey data shows that 11.7% of children and youth in the child welfare system have been prescribed psychotropic medications, double the rate for children and youth in the general population. Medication use rates are highest for children and youth in non-relative foster care and group/residential settings. Use rates are highest for children in the 6-11 year age range, followed by adolescents. A large number of children and youth in the survey have mental health needs unmet by either services or medications, particularly those in in-home care. Those in out-of-home care are more likely to receive some form of medication and/or specialty service. Report notes the need for appropriate mental health interventions for children and youth in the child welfare system, including monitoring of medication use as well as other forms of mental health treatment.