Update on the Use of Psychotropic Medications in Texas Foster Children
This update on the use of psychotropic medications in Texas children in foster care focuses on the following:
- Prescribing psychotropic medications for very young children.
- Prescribing two or more medications from the same drug class concurrently.
- Five or more psychotropic medications prescribed concurrently.
- Absence of a mental health diagnosis.
The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) have coordinated since 2004 to better assess and implement strategies to ensure the appropriate prescribing of psychotropic medications to children in foster care and assist healthcare providers in prescribing psychotropic medications appropriately.
In March of 2004, HHSC and DFPS convened the DFPS Advisory Committee on Psychotropic Medications, which issued a report and recommendations. These recommendations included the establishment of a statewide clinical consultation and monitoring system.
Subsequently, an interagency group, comprised of HHSC, DFPS and DSHS, developed and released the Psychotropic Medication Utilization Parameters for Foster Children (published February 2005 and updated in January 2007 and December 2010).
These best practice Parameters were distributed statewide for implementation in February 2005. In June 2006, a report was released by DFPS, HHSC and DSHS, the Use of Psychoactive Medication in Texas Foster Children in FY 2005. This report concluded that the overall use of psychotropic medications and polypharmacy in children in foster care declined after the release of the best practice Parameters.