DCF failed to follow guidelines on medicating children, report says


News-Press (Fort Myers)

Florida’s child welfare system has a detailed framework to protect foster children taking psychotropic medications, but officials often don’t follow it, concluded a state review released today.

The Department of Children and Families issued a final report by the Gabriel Myers Work Group, which looked into the death of a Broward County foster child and the use of psychotropic medications.

“The core failures in the system, however, stem from lack of compliance with this framework and with failures in communication, advocacy, supervision, monitoring, and oversight,” it reads.

The report found that the system failed Myers and that the medicating children in state care is an often haphazard process lacking oversight and sometimes done to help caregivers calm the child rather than treat them.

The report recommends that the DCF and its related agencies develop an action plan to carry out its recommendations.

It also suggested that Governor Charlie Crist and DCF Secretary George Sheldon take a leading role “in raising this to national prominence in order to develop a comprehensive nationwide approach to the use of medication to treat our children.”

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