Drugged Foster Children, Editorial and Website

The Orlando Sentinel just published an editorial, Doping up our children, on the drugging of Florida’s foster children, and the task force report just released to deal with this dilemma.

These troubling concerns aren’t new to DCF. But in the wake of the withering report, DCF Secretary George Sheldon concedes lapses and vows to heed and fund task-force proposals.

Such accountability is encouraging. But we expected reform before. In 2003, the Statewide Advocacy Council report made similar findings, and concluded, “…unnecessary dispensing of psychotropic medication remains a threat to [foster children]. Until there is more information regarding the safety and efficiency of these drugs, Florida’s foster care children should be monitored closely.”

That report’s proposals were largely ignored. Now, six years later, only swift reforms and a strong mandate to comply with existing rules that govern psychotropic drugs will shelve suspicions that this is déjà vu all over again.

Amen to swift reforms and a strong mandate!

Shortly afterward (Gabriel Myers suicide), Mr. Sheldon convened the Gabriel Myers Work Group to investigate the tragedy. The group’s 26-page report outlined 148 systemic breakdowns in Gabriel’s death.

What is going on here, and why is this important?

In Florida, 15.2 percent of foster kids take at least one psychotropic drug, compared with a 5 percent rate among the general population.

Emphasis added.

The editorial ends with George Shelton, Secretary of the DCF, claiming that Florida got off easy before, and that whatever reforms are instituted this time need to be real. The editor agrees saying, if not, another tragedy is likely to occur.

Reforms, yes. More importantly, lower that 15.2% rate of foster kids on drugs.

A In Memory of Gabriel Myers website has been set up where this editorial and other articles on the subject of the drugging of foster children in Florida can easily be accessed. You can visit this website by clicking the hyperlink below:

In Memory of Gabriel Myers

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