California Curbs Overuse of Psychiatric Meds on Foster Children

California’s 63,000 children in foster care now have new protection from being overmedicated with powerful psychiatric drugs.

A package of three bills, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, will allow public health nurses to monitor psychotropic medications prescribed to foster children, increase reporting requirements for group homes that rely most on these medications and give child welfare workers more training and tools to identify high-risk prescribing practices.

[Related: California Lawmakers Approve Plan to Tackle Misuse of Psychiatric Meds]

A fourth bill, which would have required a medical examination before juvenile courts could authorize psychotropics, is still in negotiations.

Sponsors, including the National Center for Youth Law, called the legislation the most comprehensive effort in the U.S. so far to curb the misuse of psychiatric drugs in foster care, and said the law could become a model for the nation.

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