More than 16 percent of kids in DCF care given mind-altering drugs without consent

Palm Beach Post
Post on Politics
by Dara Kam
More than 16 percent of the children in state care are being given mind-altering medications without the consent of a guardian or judge as required by state law, according to an audit of the Department of Children and Families.

The audit is the result of the apparent suicide of a 7-year-old Broward County boy in foster care last month.

DCF Secretary George Sheldon ordered the review after details surrounding Gabriel Myers’ death revealed that the agency database did not include the correct information about the drugs the child was taking and his case files did not include authorization for administering the drugs.

The report, issued by a panel of experts, also found that

• A total of 2,669 (13.19%) of the 13,000 Florida children in out-of-home care have been prescribed one or more psychotropic medications.
• The largest segment (59%) of those 2,669 children on psychotropic medication is between the ages of 13 and 17 years old.
• There are 73 children (2.75% of the 2,669) ages 5 and under who are receiving psychotropic medications.
• No record of consent or judicial order was found for 16.2% of the 2,669 children receiving psychotropic medication.

Sheldon is holding a press conference at 2 p.m. to discuss the findings. Read the report here: http://www.postonpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/psychmedicationexecsummary.doc

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