Oversight and Management of Psychotropic Medications for Children and Youth in Foster Care

Psychotropic medication is used for the treatment of behavioral and mental health problems of children and youth in foster care.  Psychotropic medications generally include mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications and stimulants. Over the past decade, psychotropic medication use in children and youth in foster care has increased dramatically.  A multi-state, 2009-2010 study by Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) estimates that youth in foster care use psychotropic medications at a much higher rate (ranging from 13-52%)  than youth in the general population (4%). To view the study, please click here.

Recent research has identified major concerns surrounding  the administration of psychotropic medications for children and youth in foster care, including the use of multiple psychotropic medications simultaneously, the use of multiple psychotropic medications before the use of a single medication, and the use of such medications in young children between 3-6 years of age.  Additionally, research has demonstrated a great deal of variation in rates of medication use for youth in foster care in different geographic communities. Consequently, there is rising concern about the appropriate use of psychotropic medications for youth in foster care.

Read the full article.  January 2013.