Where can I learn more about psychotropic medications?

Children in foster care tend to be on medications more often and on more medications than children in the general community. There are probably a number of reasons for this. For the children who have very complex mental health problems, being on a set of medications may be necessary. However, it is important for the treatment approach to be based on a comprehensive examination including information from the child’s history, attention to the impact of trauma, treatment that includes talking/behavior therapy and careful reassessment of treatment needs over time. Foster care workers are usually in the best position to help bring important information about the child and family to the mental health providers, to help the child and family communicate effectively with these providers and to advocate for effective care.

The policy on psychotropic medication (FOM 802-1) requires the foster care worker to talk with the child and caregivers about how they are doing emotionally and how things are going with their medications at each visit. This information can be passed along to the medical team, but the foster care worker can also use MiTEAM skills to coach the child and caregivers to communicate with providers directly.

There are a number of ways to get more information about psychotropic medications. In each county Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Private Agency Foster Care office has a copy of the book/CD ROM – “Helping Parents Youth and Teachers Understand Medications for Emotional and Behavioral Problems.” This book is from 2007 so some of the newer medications aren’t included, but many medications are there. Check out our Helping Parents & Youth Understand Medications video that describes this resource and how it can be used to help with this aspect of casework.

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