Report: N.H. ranks among top states for foster kids receiving psychiatric drugs

Monitor staff
Published: 9/18/2018 6:20:06 PM

About one-third of children in foster care in New Hampshire in 2013 received psychiatric drugs, one of the highest rates in the country, according to a federal study that urges more monitoring of such children to prevent over-prescription.

The report, released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, uses five-year-old data because that was the most recent available. It says that 36.1 percent of children in foster homes at that time were being given drugs used to treat clinical psychiatric symptoms or mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Only two other states – North Dakota and Virginia – had a higher percentage, according to the report, although a number of states had percentages close to that of New Hampshire. The figure for Vermont was 31.6 percent and for Maine was 32.7 percent; data was not available for Massachusetts.

At the time the data was gathered in 2013, New Hampshire had the smallest number of children in foster homes of any state in the country with 2,614. Since then, the population of children placed in New Hampshire foster homes has roughly doubled, due largely to the opioid crisis.

The report said that states need to improve their monitoring of medication use and treatment planning for foster children.

“Effective medication monitoring can reduce the risk of inappropriate dosing and inappropriate medication combinations,” the report said.

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