Texas Foster Care
10:27 am
Tue September 24, 2013

New Law Keeps Parents From Overmedicating Foster Children

According to Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), foster parents in Texas are 53 times more likely to overmedicate children in their care than parents with non-foster children, but a law passed during the last legislative session will stop the practice.

The law regulates how many psychotropic drugs children in foster care can be given in an attempt to make a difference on the high number of children given five or more medications at one time.

The bill was crafted after a CASA detailed things she had seen while visiting children that had been removed from their parents and now reside in a foster home.

"One of the saddest things that you could ever hear about is a child being medicated for the sake of behavior control when in fact a child's behavior is normal behavior," said Vickie Sprigs, the CEO of Texas CASA.

Sprigs said in many cases foster parents with multiple children used medication to manage behavior and take on more children for more state funding.

"There were reports -- substantiated reports -- of children that were on seven, eight, nine psychotropic meds at once," said state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, who sponsored the bill. "A little bit of history: Part of the problem these kids were being moved around so many times and there was no medical records to refer to on a prompt basis."

The new law, which is now in effect, allows the court system to keep close tabs on the number of medications given to all foster children in the State of Texas.