Following recommendations from the task force formed to deal with the matter of the over prescribing of psychiatric drugs to foster children in Florida has come Senate Bill 2718, or Gabriel Myers Bill. The measure, filed and supported by Republican Senator Ronda Storm of Brandon, is currently being discussed by state lawmakers in Tallahassee.
A report on CBS Channel 4 News, Bill Looks to Curb Medicating State Foster Kids, details the particulars of this Bill.
The proposed law would require the state Department of Children and Families to assign volunteer guardians to oversee each child’s mental health care. It prohibits foster children from being the subject of clinical drug trials and raises the age at which children are allowed to take these drugs from 6 to 11 in many cases.
It would also give children some say in the drugs they take because it would require foster children to agree to the use of the psychiatric drugs and would require caseworkers to explain to children, in a manner they can understand, why the drugs are necessary and what risks they carry.
The measure would also require an independent review before psychiatric drugs can be administered to children 10 or younger. The bill also requires children to have a mental health treatment plan that includes counseling for children prescribed such drugs.
The Florida House of Representatives has produced a similar proposed law, House Bill 1567.
Florida residents, alarmed about the over drugging of foster children, are urged to contact local legislators, and to call for the passage of Gabriel Myers Bill into state law.