logo CCHR

San Jose Mercury News
January 31, 2015
By Karen de Sá

California lawmakers will consider a major overhaul this year of how the california-foster-kidsstate cares for thousands of traumatized foster children, a sweeping effort to curb the excessive use of psychiatric drugs in foster care.

Legislation to boost caregiver training, strengthen court oversight of prescriptions and give foster youth the right to alternative treatments is in the works in the Senate to address problems revealed in this newspaper’s yearlong investigation “Drugging Our Kids.”

After years of growing concern — but no action — state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said he is “optimistic that oversight will result in overdue reform.”

Psychotropic drug use in foster care is “one of the top issues on the child welfare agenda this session,” said Susanna Kniffen, policy director at the nonprofit Children Now advocacy group.

With a half dozen legislators exploring bills, de León’s staff has been working behind the scenes, attending meetings of a statewide reform group and meeting with advocates and lawmakers considering bills. More