After years of growing concern, the California state auditor has produced a damning report describing how the state’s 79,000 foster children are being drugged with psychotropic medications at abnormally high rates.
The report found that nearly 12 percent of kids in California’s child welfare system were prescribed psychotropic medications – including antipsychotics, antidepressants and mood stabilizers – during 2014-2015. This compares to a rate of 4 to 10 percent for non-foster kids.
Some of these vulnerable children were drugged “in amounts and dosages that exceeded state guidelines,” with no follow-up by the county to ensure these prescriptions were appropriate. Some counties also violated the law by failing to obtain court or parental approval for psychotropic medications.
California spent $226 million on psychotropic medications for foster kids over the last decade, which amounts to almost 72 percent of total drug spending for foster youth.