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Foster Care

Click here to download and read the CCHR report Facts about Foster Care Children Abused with Psychotropic Drugs.

Click here to download and read the CCHR STL report Missouri Medicaid Foster Care Drugs FY10-FY14.

Whether under the care of Child Protective Services, Departments of Family and Child Services, or Youth Welfare Offices, foster children—often removed from family homes because of abuse—are further abused when they are prescribed psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs. Already troubled over their circumstances, these children are drugged for emotional and behavioral issues, sometimes with tragic outcome.

The high rates of psychotropic drug use in the Medicaid population, risks associated with these drugs, and research documenting inappropriate prescribing, have raised concerns, especially for children involved in the child welfare system.

In Fiscal Year 2015, Department of Social Services Missouri Healthnet (Medicaid) spent $1,254,900,000 for pharmacy services for 883,672 people, approximately 60% of whom were children. There were an average of 13,033 children monthly in Foster Care (19,429 individuals for the year.) The total 2015 state population of children under 18 was 1,399,075.

The average age of a child in Missouri Foster Care is 10 years old, and spends an average of 24 months in foster care.

Studies suggest that appropriate prescribing practices, that is, adhering to FDA-approved use and accepted clinical guidelines, may not always be followed for certain Medicaid populations such as the high-risk populations of children in foster care. In actual fact, multiple studies and reports have found that children in foster care are vulnerable to inappropriate or excessive medication use. Children in foster care are often prescribed more than one psychotropic medication at the same time. A review in Missouri once found some children in foster care prescribed five or more psychotropic drugs.

Click here to download and read the CCHR report Facts about Foster Care Children Abused with Psychotropic Drugs.