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Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 10:26am

Advocates: Foster Kids Overmedicated

Advocates for children say Georgia’s foster kids are over-medicated. A bill that’s already been filed would establish oversight on how much the children are prescribed.

Half of Georgia’s teenagers in foster care are taking one psychotropic drug like anti-depressants. And one in three are on anti-psychotic medication. That’s according to data the state collected in 2009 says Melissa Carter with the Barton Child Law and Policy Center at Emory University.

"Children in custody because of behavior management issues are really over-prescribed a lot of medication . So it costs the state a lot of money in Medicaid billings,"says Carter, "and of course it’s not the right quality of care for the children who are in state custody."

Carter says new legislation would provide independent oversight of the process, establish guidelines for the use of the drugs, and change how treatment is signed off on. One change would be to give case managers access to a psychiatrist before they approve treatment.

She says other states who have reformed their process have seen tens of millions of dollars in savings to the Medicaid program.