National Center for Youth Law

Mental Health

Our collective failure to provide children and adolescents appropriate and effective mental health services has tragic consequences on their ability to succeed in school, form healthy relationships, and thrive as adults. The National Center for Youth Law works to expand access to appropriate mental health services for low-income children and to limit dangerous practices such as the overuse of psychotropic medications on children in foster care.


Reducing the Over-Medication of Children and Youth in Foster Care - California

December 21, 2016
California foster children are being prescribed dangerous and unnecessary doses of psychotropic medications. Often the drugs are used as chemical restraints, rather than for medically accepted purposes. Over-medicated children face serious, life-long damage to their health, including morbid obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular damage. Foster youth…

Latest News

Big drop in drugged foster kids in California - San Jose Mercury News

April 1, 2018
After years of efforts to crack down on the rampant use of psychiatric drugs in California’s foster care system, the number of youth prescribed the potent medications is plummeting — a major turnaround in how the state cares for some of its most vulnerable children.…

Lawsuit over drugs for Missouri’s foster kids proceeds - Associated Press

January 13, 2018
“There are clearly plausible allegations that (the Missouri officials) … actually knew of the serious risk of harm,” Laughrey wrote. “Yet they have not adopted any systematic administrative review because (Missouri) can’t find the medical records of the children. But the absence of the medical…