Washington Insider: Child Welfare

Senate Testimony Reveals Some Overuse of Psychotropic Meds for Foster Children

The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing last Thursday to examine the use of psychotropic medication by foster children, most of whom are on Medicaid.

Senators heard from experts representing state medical directors and physicians. Bryan Samuels, commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), testified about improvements underway at the federal level.

The hearing focused on a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which examined five states. … more

Provider-Family Relationship Key to Better Outcomes for Kids

A recent issue brief from the U.S. Administration for Children and Families Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation summarizes provider characteristics that lead to higher family engagement, linked to better outcomes for children. The brief reviews major research and lays the groundwork for further identification and implementation of promising practices.

The authors examined the current body of knowledge around provider attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors that foster positive provider-family relationships. Rrespect, commitment, empowerment, openness, and appreciation were cited as successful attitudes. … more

Foster Youth are Given Powerful Antipsychotic Meds at Higher Rates

A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that youth in foster care are prescribed antipsychotic drugs at higher rates than youth who qualify for Medicaid because of disability or low-income status. Researchers found that foster youth took more than one psychotropic drug at a time and for longer periods than other youth. … more

Questions for Presidential Candidates

The Alliance for Children and Families recently held a webinar for members to discuss questions for the 2012 presidential candidates It was led by Bill Gardham, president and CEO of Alliance member Horizons, A Family Service Alliance in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Gardam believes the 2012 elections create an opportunity for nonprofit human service organizations to bring children’s issues to light, as the presidential debates take form in the various states. He says: 

Too often the well-documented needs of those we serve through our agencies (the children, families, dependent adults, and elderly) are crowded out of political debate and the budget process because of stronger competing interests with louder voices.

… more

Penn State Incident Spurs Flurry of Legislative Proposals

In the wake of the recent Penn State incident, where a 10 year-old was allegedly raped and the adults, including coaches and school personnel, failed to act, legislators are taking aim at child protection laws. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) have in the past week sponsored legislation aimed at strengthening child maltreatment reporting laws. … more

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