Foster Kids Given Powerful Drugs

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Federal lawmakers will hold a hearing to examine a study on the high rates at which foster children are prescribed powerful psychotropic drugs.

Sen. Tom Carper began investigating the issue after some studies show more than 20 percent of foster children will have taken psychotropic drugs at some point, compared to less than 5 percent of non-foster youth.  The drugs can cause serious side effects including diabetes and suicidal behavior.

Thursday’s hearing on Capitol Hill comes a week after federal health officials notified state child welfare leaders they will have to provide more details about how they control the medications for foster kids starting next year.

Seven-year-old foster child Gabriel Myers was taking several drugs when he hanged himself with a shower cord in South Florida in 2009.