Congressman concerned about overmedication of foster kids
Growing concerns about whether foster children are overprescribed
psychotropic medication have prompted a congressman to examine the
oversight of the foster care system nationwide.
The actions by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., which included a
congressional hearing a few weeks ago, come as New York officials are
trying to ensure that foster care systems have safeguards against
In recent years, several states have embarked on reviews of their foster
care systems to determine whether psychiatric medications were being
prescribed legitimately or instead were used as an easy way to control
Many psychotropic medications — prescription drugs that can alter mood —
have not been tested for safety in children. Instead, they are
prescribed "off-label," which means that past history of usage among
adults leads experts to believe they are safe for kids.
In an investigation published in December, the Democrat and Chronicle
reported that between 2002 and 2006, the number of Monroe County foster
children on psychotropic drugs had increased by about 40 percent and
that nearly half of Monroe County's foster children were prescribed
McDermott, a former child psychiatrist, said testimony showed variation
in prescription approaches from state to state and county to county,
demonstrating the need for a more consistent national approach to the
prescription of psychotropic medications.
In a recent interview with the Democrat and Chronicle, McDermott said
that foster care oversight would continue to be the responsibility of
states, but federal officials needed to find a way to promote more
consistent prescription policies.
At McDermott's congressional hearing, a former foster child related that
she often had been prescribed psychotropic drugs. Misty Stenslie, now
the deputy director of Foster Care Alumni of America, said that as a
child she spent 12 years in about 30 different placements, including
private homes, group homes and detention facilities.
"Over the years I was on more medications than I can count, usually
without my knowing what the meds were for, how I should expect to feel,
side effects to watch out for, or any plan for follow-up," she said in a
statement to the House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Income
Security and Family Support.
As a senior in high school, she moved in with her last foster family,
and those parents questioned the need for the medication she was given
before bed, Stenslie said. She told them the pills helped her sleep
because of the anxiety she felt when she heard strange sounds at night.
One night, the foster parents skipped the pills, played cards with her
until late, then stayed up and told her the source of each unusual sound
— a furnace cranking on, a regenerating water softener, a dog slurping
from a water bowl on another floor. Her fears were eased, she said.
Because of that, Stenslie said, she asked that her medication be
decreased and eventually discontinued.
Stenslie's testimony, McDermott said after the hearing, reinforced his
belief that counseling often can supplant medication. Some medication,
McDermott said, may be needed for some children, especially given the
high rate of mental illness within the foster care population. But the
increasing use of psychotropic medications could be a sign of
over-reliance on pills, he said.
McDermott said he hoped to continue to work with the subcommittee's
ranking Republican, Rep. Jerry Weller of Illinois, to determine the most
appropriate role for the federal government.
One speaker at the hearing, University of Maryland psychiatry and
pharmacy professor Julie Zito, said better studies were needed about the
outcome of psychotropic treatment. Many drugs do have beneficial uses,
but foster children and disabled children are the most likely to be
prescribed costly medication that has not been subjected to rigorous
testing to prove its effectiveness, she said.
Federal health officials should work with states to develop databases
that help determine the progress and development of foster children on
psychotropic medications, she said.
In New York this year, officials of the state Office of Children and
Family Services contacted county social service agencies to ensure that
local officials were safely prescribing psychotropic medications to
In the February letter sent to local officials, the state office noted
the benefits of properly prescribed psychotropic medications but said
that "many psychiatric medications have not undergone clinical trials
with children to prove their efficacy, safety and long-term impact."
The agency also detailed proper consent practices for the prescriptions.
Monroe County officials received the agency's directions, and their
practices adhere to the recommendations, said Kelly Reed, the county's
commissioner of human services.
Potent Pills: Foster care and mood-altering drugs
Interviews with families and experts; state and county data.
Kids on meds
The Democrat and Chronicle investigated the prescription of psychotropic
drugs to foster children in Monroe County. In a two-day series in
December, the investigation revealed:
# In 2002, about a third of the county's foster care population, 327
children, were prescribed one or more common psychotropic drugs. By the
end of 2006, the number had increased about 40 percent to 457 foster
children, or almost half of the county's foster care population.
# In the five years from 2002 through 2006, according to state data,
Medicaid expenditures for common psychotropic medications for Monroe
County foster children nearly doubled — an increase almost four times
the statewide rate.
# Psychotropic medications also are more commonly used at residential
foster care treatment centers than in the past, according to medical and
# In 2006, Monroe County foster children on psychotropic medications
were prescribed an average of 1.47 medications. Other localities have
been criticized for higher rates of multiple medications, especially
since the side effects are often unknown when the drugs are mixed. In
Texas, for example, the average number of psychotropic drugs used by a
foster child receiving medication was 2.55 in 2004, a study shows.
# Records from 2006 show that more than one of every eight foster
children in Monroe County was once on some kind of drug to combat
psychosis, a severe form of mental illness characterized by loss of
contact with reality.
An Inconvenient Truth about Child Protective Services, Foster care, and
the Child Protection "INDUSTRY"
Child Protective Services Does not protect children...
It is sickening how many children are subject to abuse, neglect and even
killed at the hands of CPS.
every parent should read the free handbook from
connecticut dcf watch...
Number of Cases per 100,000 children in the US
These numbers come from The National Center on
Child Abuse and Neglect in Washington. (NCCAN)
Recent numbers have increased significantly for CPS
Perpetrators of Maltreatment
Physical Abuse CPS/Foster care 160, biological Parents 59
Sexual Abuse CPS/Foster care 112, biological Parents 13
Neglect CPS/Foster care 410, biological Parents 241
Medical Neglect CPS/Foster care 14 biological Parents 12
Fatalities CPS/Foster care 6.4, biological Parents 1.5
Imagine that, 6.4 children die at the hands of the very agencies that
are supposed to protect them and only 1.5 at the hands of parents per
100,000 children. CPS perpetrates more abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse
and kills more children then parents in the United States. If the
citizens of this country hold CPS to the same standards that they hold
parents too. No judge should ever put another child in the hands of ANY
government agency because CPS nationwide is guilty of more harm and
death than any human being combined. CPS nationwide is guilty of more
human rights violations and deaths of children then the homes from which
they were removed. When are the judges going to wake up and see that
they are sending children to their death and a life of abuse when
children are removed from safe homes based on the mere opinion of a
bunch of social workers.
THIS IS AMERICA'S HIDDEN HOLOCAUST
Currently Child Protective Services violates more constitutionally
guaranteed liberties & civil rights on a daily basis then all other
agencies combined, Including the National Security agency/Central
intelligence agency wiretaping programs…
THE CORRUPT BUSINESS OF CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES
BY: Nancy Schaefer Senator, 50th District of Georgia
This is Child Protection?
By Gregory A. Hession, J.D.
Mercenary Motherhood: "Memoirs of a Babystealer."
FOSTER CARE IS A 80 PERCENT FAILU. A Brief Analysis of the Casey
Family Programs. Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study. By Richard Wexler
HOW THE WAR AGAINST CHILD ABUSE BECAME A WAR AGAINST CHILDREN
Adoption Bonuses: The Money Behind the Madness
DSS and affiliates rewarded for breaking up families
By Nev Moore Massachusetts News
A recent study has found that 12-18 months after leaving foster ca
30% of the nation’s homeless are former foster children.
27% of the males and 10% of the females had been incarcerated
33% were receiving public assistance
37% had not finished high school
2% receive a college degree
50% were unemployed
Children in foster care are three to six times more likely than children
not in care to have emotional, behavioral and developmental problems,
including conduct disorders, depression, difficulties in school and
impaired social relationships. Some experts estimate that about 30% of
the children in care have marked or severe emotional problems. Various
studies have indicated that children and young people in foster care
tend to have limited education and job skills, perform poorly in school
compared to children who are not in foster care, lag behind in their
education by at least one year, and have lower educational attainment
than the general population.
*Casey Family Programs National Center for Resource Family Support
80 percent of prison inmates have been through the foster care system.
The highest ranking federal official in charge of foster care, Wade Horn
of the Department of Health and Human Services, is a former child
psychologist who says the foster care system is a giant mess and should
just be blown up.
Four rigorous studies have found that at least 30 percent of America’s
foster children could be home right now if their parents had decent housing.
This study found thousands of children already in foster care who would
have done better had child protection agencies not taken them away in
the first place.
Front-page story in USA Today.
Read the studies online.
Casey "alumni" study: "Improving Family Foster Ca Findings from the
Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study,"
MIT study: "Child Protection and Child Outcomes: Measuring the Effects
of Foster Care,"
Texas comptroller's "Forgotten Children" reports:
The bottom line? - Child Protective Services and the Foster Care system
for the most part turns out young adults that are nothing more than
CURRENTLY CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES VIOLATES MORE CONSTITUTIONALLY
GUARANTEED LIBERTIES & CIVIL RIGHTS ON A DAILY BASIS THEN ALL OTHER
AGENCIES COMBINED INCLUDING THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY/CENTRAL
INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WIRETAPPING PROGRAMS....
CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES, HAPPILY DESTROYING THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT
FAMILIES YEARLY NATIONWIDE AND COMING TO YOU'RE HOME SOON...
BE SURE TO FIND OUT WHERE YOUR CANDIDATES STANDS ON THE ISSUE OF
REFORMING OR ABOLISHING CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES ("MAKE YOUR CANDIDATES
TAKE A STAND ON THIS ISSUE.") THEN REMEMBER TO VOTE ACCORDINGLY IF THEY
ARE "FAMILY UNFRIENDLY" IN THE NEXT ELECTION...