A government report says thousands of Medicaid patients in foster care are routinely overprescribed psychotropic and psychotic drugs.
Sen. Tom Carper is more than alarmed. As chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, he's ordered concrete steps from the Obama administration to tackle the problem and legislative recommendations for Congress.
Fortunately, the decision to use these drugs to control foster kids is not rampant in Delaware, said Julia Pearce, executive director of Delaware's Child Placement Review Board.
"We support the recommendations to develop specific guidelines or to look at the guidelines in place to be sure we are meeting the standards," she said, also backing close examination of "quality of life" medications as well.
"You have to be sure that you are treating the true cause of the behavior," Pearce explained. "These kids have a lot of problems. Sometimes they mimic behaviors as a cry for help related more to abandonment, or attachment and loss issues, than as a result of an attention deficit disorder."
This is a tricky but important distinction to be made. It avoids the lifelong mental and emotional problems for children medicated too strongly to be helpful.
Certainly, no one can intelligently argue that many children in the nation's foster care system do not live under tough circumstances.
But the one thing these vulnerable citizens deserve is not to be victims of the robo-prescribing of psychotropic and psychotic drugs.