Improve psychotropic medication practices with youth in foster care
DID YOU KNOW?
- Youth in foster care in Colorado are three to six times more likely than youth in the general population to be prescribed a psychotropic medication.
- Significantly more Medicaid-enrolled children in foster care (11.2%) compared to those not in foster care (1.04%) are taking at least one antipsychotic drug — a particularly powerful class of drugs known to produce serious, potentially lifelong metabolic conditions.
While psychotropic medications might be helpful for short-term relief or management of specific symptoms, experts agree prescription practices for youth have far outpaced the research evidence supporting drugs’ efficacy and safety.
- Prevalence of Psychotropic Medication Use Among Children
- The Drug Testing and Approval Process
- Pharmaceutical Industry Influences on Prescribing
- Efficacy, Safety, and Uses of Major Classes of Drugs
- Ethical Practice in Psychopharmacology
- Roles for Nonmedical Professionals
- Evidence-based Psychosocial Interventions for Childhood Problems
Professionals in child welfare (social workers, case managers, therapists, guardian ad litems, family advocates, attorneys, judges) play important roles in initiating, maintaining, and monitoring psychotropic drug treatment with youth.
Developed especially for nonmedically trained psychosocial helping professionals who work with medicated youth in child welfare settings, CriticalThinkRx provides an evidence-based, critical view of the landscape of psychotropic medication treatment, with a special focus on ethical and clinical issues in child psychopharmacology.
The CriticalThinkRx educational intervention on psychotropic medications was developed at the Florida International University School of Social Work in 2006–2007, with a grant from the U.S. Attorneys General Consumer and Prescriber Grant Program. The curriculum was updated in 2017-2018 through a collaboration of Social Work programs at the University of California, Los Angeles, Colorado State University, and Florida State University. The course represents a completely independent, publicly funded and evidence-based effort to raise awareness of the importance of critical thinking about psychotropic medications prescribed to children and adolescents.
CriticalThinkRx is designed to provide nonmedical practitioners and advocates in child welfare and mental health an evidence-based, critical view of the entire life cycle of psychotropic medications, with special focus on ethical and clinical issues in child psychopharmacology. Through a series of eight learning modules, along with discussion and application questions for practice, CriticalThinkRx:
- offers a prescription for critical thinking about psychotropic medications and a more balanced evaluation of the “prescription situation” based on ethical codes of practice of medical and nonmedical helping professions;
- sharpens critical skills of mental health and child welfare professionals assessing and practicing with children and adolescents who may be medicated with psychiatric drugs; and
- narrows the gaps between research and practice to maximize opportunities to help clients and avoid harm.