Lawsuit filed against Maryland over prescriptions for kids in foster care
A press conference was held expressing concerns over how a medication is used to treat behavioral issues. “We on behalf of the children do not mean to make psychotropic medication term a dirty word, these drugs are very good things for individuals who are appropriately diagnosed and administered the drug,” says Samantha Bartosz, the Deputy Director of Litigation of Children’s Rights.
Multiple organizations filed a joint lawsuit against the Maryland Department of Human Services and Social Services Administration. The issues are psychotropic drugs used to treat behavioral issues. “Psychotropic drugs are powerful drugs that directly affect chemicals in the brain that help regulate emotions and behavior,” says Megan Berger, the Assistant Managing Attorney with Disability Rights Maryland.
Plaintiffs say kids in the foster care system lack adequate oversight to receive these powerful drugs. “Children in foster care often don’t have a consistent concerned adult to coordinate their mental health treatment which can result in fractured misinformed care among multiple people,” says Berger.
Advocates also say there is a lack of research surrounding the effects of the drugs. “And because research of pediatric use of psychotropic medication lags behind prescribing trends the full spectrum of short and long-term effects are unknown,” says Berger.
In all, plaintiffs are asking that the state change its policies to give these children a chance for better health outcomes. “We want to see a foster care system that creates stability in this world that has instability as one of its characteristics,” says Bartosz. “Is to remedy the systemic deficiencies in the state’s oversight and administration of psychotropic medication to children in foster care deficiencies which harm children and families,” Berger adds.
Advocates say proper administration of this medication is crucial and with a governor in office come tomorrow they hope that change is made. This lawsuit covers all Maryland jurisdictions except Baltimore City, which is covered through separate ongoing litigation.