Joan Murray Reporting
FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4 I-TEAM) A task force investigating the tragic death of 7-year-old foster child Gabriel Myers met for the third time in Fort Lauderdale Thursday.
They heard powerful testimony from two former foster children about medication and treatment in the system.
Gabriel Myers had been living with a foster family in Margate for a few weeks when he hanged himself in April. It was later revealed that he was prescribed psychotropic drugs.
The task force is reviewing all children currently taking medications and at Thursday’s meeting they revealed a lack of coordination between various caretakers within the foster child system.
“There isn’t a single person playing the parental role and we need good communication between all parties playing the parental role,” said Dr. Rajiv Tandon a psychiatrist and task force member.
Former foster child Mez Pierre said he was first prescribed various medications when he was only five years old because he was considered a problem child.
“Just to know care , love and nurturing. Just imagine if Gabriel had gotten that, we wouldn’t be here today.” Pierre says he eventually found a mentor who helped him figure things out. Now he is a 22-year-old college student.
Former foster child Kim Foster also gave testimony to the task force. She was also given powerful drugs beginning at age 8. She says medication isn’t the answer for all children and other interventions should be considered.
She also criticized the business nature of the foster care system because foster parents receive payment for their services.
“You’re hiring people to be parents and you don’t get a lot of parenting out of it,” she said.
The group will meet again on July 6th in Tallahassee.