Background Information

The Psychotropic Medication Subcommittee was created February 2018 to enhance Maryland’s oversight of psychotropic mediation for children and youth in foster care. Federal law requires states to identify appropriate use and monitoring of psychotropic medications as part of the state’s oversight of prescription medication. Subcommittee members consist of Social Services Administration (SSA) policy analyst, Local Department of Social Services (LDSS) child welfare supervisors, representation from the Maryland Resource Parent Association, and University of Maryland/Pharmacy staff.

SSA continues to monitor the psychotropic medications and is making concerted efforts to look at opportunities to strengthen program activities, policies, partnerships and collaborations that will improve the health care and oversight of children and youth in foster care. To support and strengthen services for foster care children as well as resource parents we are soliciting feedback and suggestions from resource parents. A priority of the Psychotropic Medication Subcommittee includes revising current policy to enhance and address barriers to resolve and improve practice, improve emotional and behavioral services for children and youth in foster care; in addition, support Maryland resources parents. Discussions have included centralizing the current medication oversight and consent process along with training for caregivers and resource parents concerning psychotropic medication.

SSA Policy: Oversight and Monitoring of Psychotropic Medications SSA-CW#15-8

Current policy states that every youth in state custody should be screened and monitored for emotional and/or behavioral disorders. Youth with apparent emotional disturbances should have a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation.
“Psychotropic medication means medication that affects or alters thought processes, mood, sleep or behavior and may be used as part of a foster youth’s comprehensive mental health treatment plan”. Professional documented oversight is required.

The subcommittee seeks comments and suggestions comments from resource parents who have provided care for children taking psychotropic medications. All comments are welcomed and information to share may include the following: ; Were you aware of SSA’s policy on Oversight and monitoring of Psychotropic Medications provided to all child welfare staff; After the start of providing medication did you have an opportunity to provide feedback to the child’s worker concerning changes in behavior, the child’s reactions, or the child’s comments or concerns regarding the medication; Did you have easy access to the therapist and prescribing physician; Did the birth parents have any concerns or comments; Was there anything you could have done to reduce or manage the triggers that produced challenging behaviors.

As a resource parent for several years, supporting children and youth in foster care has led to a number of experiences involving psychotropic medication. For example, I requested that one of my youth be taken off the medication and after an extensive evaluation, the child welfare and the medical team agreed. The daily interventions I provided on the advice of the medical professionals help minimize the child’s trauma and depression which served to manage the symptoms and benefited the child. As of today, at the age of 25 the individual has been off medications since the 3rd grade.

Beyond the above stated, any experiences, questions, suggestions, or concerns you would like to share with the subcommittee regarding caring for a child and/or youth taking psychotropic medication please feel to send me your thoughts at sam.macer@mrpa.org. Your comments will be kept confidential.

Sam Macer
Education Chair
Maryland Resource Parent Association

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