ADVISORY FROM THE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON INCOME SECURITY AND FAMILY SUPPORT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 05, 2008ISFS-16
CONTACT: (202) 225-1025
McDermott Announces Hearing on the Utilization of Psychotropic Medication for Children in Foster Care
Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA),
Chairman of the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, today announced a hearing to examine the use of psychotropic drugs for children in the foster care system. The hearing will take place on Wednesday, March 12, 2008, at 2:00 p.m. in room B-318 Rayburn House Office Building.
In view of the limited time available to hear witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the subcommittee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.
Psychotropic medications have been increasingly prescribed for children in recent years, but the use of these drugs appears to be particularly elevated for children in foster care. One recent study found that psychotropic drug treatment was three or four times more common for youth in foster care than for other children receiving health care services through the Medicaid program. Additionally, children in foster care are often prescribed multiple psychotropic medications, and sometimes these drugs are used for off-label purposes (i.e., meaning their effects have not been demonstrated in children). These medicines are most commonly used to treat depression, anxiety and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
While the trauma associated with coming into foster care may increase some children’s need for certain prescription drugs, the high rate of use of psychotropic medications in foster care has raised concerns regarding the monitoring of these drugs and whether a continuum of treatment services is being provided to these children beyond medication. It appears only a minority of States have established methods to formally regulate the use and administration of these medications among children in their care.
In announcing the hearing, Chairman McDermott stated, “Some children in foster care need and benefit from psychotropic medication. But these drugs should not be used as a shortcut to treat foster children when more effective treatments, including counseling, might provide long-term benefits. We need to carefully oversee the prescription of these medicines, especially when it comes to placing foster children on multiple drugs or prescribing medication for off-label use.”
FOCUS OF THE HEARING:
The hearing will examine the use of prescription psychotropic drugs among children in the foster care system.
More here: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/hearings.asp?formmode=view&id=6829