SANTA MONICA, CA — Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed a package of three bills aimed at reducing the amount of psychotropic medications prescribed to children and youth in California’s foster care system. The package includes SB 238, by state Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), and SB 319 and SB 484, both by state Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose). In response, Kathy Dresslar, Director of Sacramento Governmental Affairs at The Children’s Partnership, released the following statement:
“We applaud the Governor for signing this package of bills that takes critical and significant steps forward in addressing the serious health, social, emotional, and educational damage caused by an epidemic of inappropriate and dangerous overprescription of psychotropics and antipsychotics to children and youth in foster care.
In particular, we look forward to a successful implementation of SB 238, which provides for more robust training and information exchange among child welfare professionals concerning psychotropics. It also supports the use of electronic information exchange to ensure that social workers, health professionals, educators, and all adults charged with acting on behalf of these vulnerable youth have more complete, up-to-date information in front of them as they make life-altering decisions on their behalf. When child welfare professionals can access pertinent information to help them understand a child’s unique history and challenges, they are better able to provide careful, compassionate, and appropriate mental and behavioral health care that is carefully calibrated and coordinated with care provided by other professionals. Robust electronic health records that flag questionable practices combined with an ability to communicate securely and easily across the care team can facilitate oversight and support appropriate medication management and coordinated care.”