September 2, 2015
Legislative reforms to policies on prescribing psychiatric medication to children in foster care, provision of training, and enhancing oversight and monitoring mechanisms has moved to the California Assembly.
“The legislation describes in detail the oversight function — what everyone’s role is, from the juvenile court judge and the social workers, to the care providers, the lawyers, the doctors,” said Anna Johnson with the National Center for Youth Law. “And it names specifically the prescribing practices we want to see reduced: the use of multiple drugs on children, dosages that exceed maximums and the use of antipsychotics where not medically necessary because of physical health risk factors.”
“It’s no longer a drugs-only approach,” explained Johnson, who said the legislation would require additional services for children on medication. “We’re saying, you have to do something else — either first or at the same time — to really help a troubled child,” said Johnson. “Swallowing a pill doesn’t help with grief or trauma. It may contain symptoms, but it doesn’t help you move forward and be functional in life.”
Organizations mentioned/involved: National Center for Youth Law (NCYL)