House won’t make it harder for state to put foster kids on psych drugsby Dara Kam | February 9th, 2012
Sen. Ronda Storms’ bill that would make it harder for doctors to put foster kids on mind-altering drugs passed another milestone in the Senate today, but its future is bleak.
The Senate Health Regulation Committee unanimously approved Storms’ measure (SB 1808) and sent it on its way to its final committee this afternoon. But the House has yet to hear a similar proposal and, with the 2012 session midpoint approaching, appears unlikely to budge.
“The House is killing it,” Storms, R-Valrico, said. “It’s a source of extraordinary frustration and a disservice to the children of Florida.”
Storms’ launched her psychotropic drug crusade after the 2009 death of 7-year-old Gabriel Myers, a Broward County foster child who hanged himself while under the influence of several psychiatric drugs. Storms’ bill includes many of the recommendations given by a Department of Children and Families workgroup in the aftermath of Myers’ death.
A 2008 Congressional report found that children in foster care in Florida were far more likely to be on mind-altering drugs than children in the general population. With 12 percent of the state’s foster children 17 and younger on at least one psychotropic medication, a drop of 10 percent three years ago, DCF officials say they have improved protocols for monitoring foster kids’ prescription drug use.