The National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) invites you to participate in a campaign to end the inappropriate and harmful sedation of tens of thousands of foster children. High doses of psychotropic “antipsychotic” drugs produce lethargic, “zoned out” children, preventing their normal development. Medical guidelines do not sanction such sedation. The year 2012 may be the year that federal and state governments act to curb excessive drugging of our nation’s foster children.
PsychDrugs Action will mobilize organizations, experts, and the public to press for action this year.
Kick-off of “Quality Improvement Project” in Sacramento Oct. 29
The federal Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (2011) requires all states to adopt standards for appropriate use and monitoring of psychotropic medications for foster children. This new law presents an opportunity to reduce the alleged widespread overmedication and chemical restraint of foster children.
The State of California is responding to the new law with a Quality Improvement (QI) Project. The sponsoring state agencies, including the Departments of Social Services and Health Care Services, have announced a “kickoff” meeting for their QI Project to take place 10 am–2 pm, Oct. 29, 744 P Street, Sacramento. This meeting is open to the public and all interested parties are encouraged to attend.
President Obama signed the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act in September 2011. This new law requires state child welfare agencies to adopt protocols for the appropriate use and monitoring of psychotropic medications for foster children.
Two months after the new law went into effect, three federal agencies issued a joint letter to all state child welfare and Medicaid directors. Their letter of November 23, 2011, announces a multi-agency approach to psychotropic medication issues and recognizes that only a comprehensive approach will work. The effort will require collaborative development of Medicaid and child welfare policies to bring the medication of foster children within the scope of generally accepted medical guidelines.
The three federal agencies convened a meeting with delegates from all 50 states on August 27-28, 2012, to begin planning for appropriate limitations on psychotropic medication of foster children.
The PsychDrugs Action Campaign
The federal government’s 2012 initiative is likely to succeed only if organizations and individuals make clear the need for prompt action. We are asking you to join us in communicating that message to federal and state officials, to Congress, and to state legislators.
NCYL intends to publish background information, identify resources, recommend action, and organize support from organizations, experts, and the public. We will also establish a clearinghouse to collect and disseminate model policies and protocols.
This first message from the PsychDrugs Action Campaign is meant to gauge the level of nationwide interest. Are you troubled by inappropriate use of “antipsychotic” drugs to keep foster children in a state of sedation? Does your organization support the well-being of children in foster care? Would you like to participate in ensuring that the use of psychotropic drugs among children in foster care follows medical standards? If so, please check one or more of the boxes below and return this e-mail to us.
Bill Grimm and Edward Opton
National Center for Youth Law
Or write to us at National Center for Youth Law, 405 14th St., Oakland, CA 94612. If you are responding by regular mail, please include your name and address.
Or phone us: 510-835-8098, ext. 3014.