Fostering Transparency: A Preliminary Review of “Policy” Governing Psychotropic Medications in Foster Care

Kathleen Noonan and Dorothy Miller

Volume 65, Issue 6, 1515-1550

In light of increasing national attention on the high rates of prescribing psychotropic medication for children in foster care, and related new federal requirements for state reporting to the federal government, we analyzed child welfare agency laws, policies, and regulations in sixteen states. Our analysis revealed that states with monitoring policies in place tend to use informal guidance or underdeveloped policy statements that were likely not subject to public notice or comment, and afforded little, if any, opportunity for redress. This Article argues that, given the new federal requirements related to psychotropic medications and children in foster care, the state policy-making process must become more transparent to ensure broad public input and recourse in the case of non-compliance.

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