Today in Washington a forum was held on psychotropic medications for children in foster care. Dr. David Rubin of the Policy Lab and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is leading a major research project on this issue. He reviewed their latest findings and highlighted data from all fifty states regarding use of psychotropic medications by children in foster care over a five year span.
Providing the state perspective was James A. Rogers, M.D., Medical Director, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, which is a CWLA member agency. Dr. Rogers presented on what steps have been taken in Texas, which has historically high rates of psychotropic medication use. He also highlighted some of the improvements that have been made and explained the new protocols and monitoring that are being developed inTexas.
Clare Anderson, Deputy Commissioner at the Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) and Kate Stepleton also from ACYF spoke about the coordination initiative underway between federal agencies on these issues, the technical assistance webinar series they are conducting, and a planned summit that will involve all the states and will take place in late August.
Nadia Sexton, Senior Fellow at the Office of the Commissioner, ACYF, and on detail to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, Division of Benefits and Coverage, focused her remarks on the role of Medicaid. In particular she described efforts to align federal resources, strengthen the partnership of shared knowledge, and efforts to work with states to ensure children receive the right treatments through Medicaid’s EDSDT benefits.
David DeVoursney, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Planning and Innovation, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration highlighted the major challenge of workforce shortages. He noted that 94 million Americans live in areas where there is a shortage of mental health professionals. He described the work of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and its initiative in this and related areas.