National Center for Youth Law

STRATEGIES

The California Quality Improvement Project
Improving Psychotropic Medication Use in Children and Youth in Foster Care

The federal Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (2011) required all states to adopt standards for appropriate use and monitoring of psychotropic medications for foster children.  The State of California established a Quality Improvement (QI) Project to develop these standards. Representatives from NCYL participated in each of the formal workgroups. In addition, NCYL facilitated the participation of foster youth and former foster youth ion the process Guided by research provided by NCYL, the Clinical workgroup produced prescriber guidelines, a safety checklist for medical professionals, and guidance for court authorization of medication. The Youth, Family, Education Workgroup produced a “Foster Youth Mental Health Bill of rights” and a “Questions to Ask” list for a child’s doctor, pharmacist, attorney, and social worker to help children and youth become fully informed before and during the use of psychotropic medications. NCYL also participated in the Data and Technology  Workgroup to improve information sharing across agencies serving foster youth.