More than 13 percent of kids in DCF care given mind-altering drugsby Dara Kam | May 28th, 2009
More than 13 percent of the children in state care are being given mind-altering drugs, according to an audit of the Department of Children and Families.
And at least 16 percent of the 2,669 children on the psychotropic medications don’t have a consent form from a parent or a judge as required by state law.
The audit is the result of the apparent suicide of a 7-year-old Broward County boy in foster care last month.
DCF Secretary George Sheldon ordered the review after details surrounding Gabriel Myers’ death revealed that the agency database did not include the correct information about the drugs the child was taking and his case files did not include authorization for administering the drugs.
The report, issued by a panel of experts, also found that
• A total of 2,669 (13.19%) of the 13,000 Florida children in out-of-home care have been prescribed one or more psychotropic medications.
• The largest segment (59%) of those 2,669 children on psychotropic medication is between the ages of 13 and 17 years old.
• There are 73 children (2.75% of the 2,669) ages 5 and under who are receiving psychotropic medications.
• No record of consent or judicial order was found for 16.2% of the 2,669 children receiving psychotropic medication.
Sheldon is holding a press conference at 2 p.m. to discuss the findings. Read the report here.
Tags: state agencies