I'll start by saying that I am not against medication - I have seen it save lives.
It saved mine once.
But I was an adult, who chose to take an anti-depressant. I was able to assess my own feelings and describe any side effects. I was able to chose when to stop taking the medication and able to understand how to decrease my dosage until I was off of it completely.
I believe our foster children are over medicated.
Yes, it stands to reason that, because there are a disproportionate number of children with exposure to prenatal drugs and alcohol, trauma, and neglect, there may be a disproportionate number of children with mental health issues. But it will take more than a pill to help those children overcome their rough beginnings and go on to lead healthy lives.
They are not old enough to sort out their feelings and behaviors. They are not old enough to rationally describe how the medicine makes them feel. They are not old enough to really understand the consequences of stopping their medication.
And right now, very few states require any extra scrutiny of the medications that our foster children are prescribed. Too often, foster parents are ill-informed about how trauma, disrupted attachment, and multiple transitions can affect a child's behavior. Too often, psychiatrists look only at behavior and not at history. Too often, medication is prescribed before therapy is attempted.
Check out this article about the possibility of a bill in Georgia that would develop an independent review of all foster children prescribed psychotropic medication.
I certainly hope and pray that this is part of a growing recognition of how our foster children are cared for and raised in the system.