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Sedating Forgotten Children: How Unnecessary Psychotropic Medication Endangers Foster Children’s Rights and Health

By Matthew M. Cummings

Abstract

State foster care systems are forcing many foster children to take high dosages of dangerous, mind-altering psychotropic medications. State actors have little medical background for each child and have limited time to diagnose disorders, thereby creating potential constitutional and human rights violations. States are only supposed to administer psychotropic medication to a child when necessary and in the child’s best interest. Many children in foster care, however, are heavily medicated despite the difficulties of proving necessity. Those difficulties are due to a combination of diagnosis practice, the foster child’s background, and the poor condition of state foster care systems. In light of these limitations and the potential for using medication solely to curb bad behavior, such high prescription rates are unjustified. Many states lack in-depth tracking and oversight measures and fail to recognize this problem, thereby allowing abuse to continue and potentially preventing foster children from seeking justice

Topics: Health Law and Policy, Juvenile Law
Publisher: Digital Commons @ Boston College Law School
Year: 2012
OAI identifier: oai:lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu:jlsj-1014
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