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Florida DCF Releases Report on Psychotropic Drug Use in Foster Children

Department of Children and Families Secretary George Sheldon discussed the Department’s Psychotherapeutic Drug Status Report at a media conference this week.

The report was compiled by DCF staff at the request of Secretary Sheldon following the apparent suicide of 7-year-old Gabriel Myers on April 16 in Margate. (Access the Report Here)

Following a full review of Gabriel’s case files, officials determined that he had been prescribed several psychotropic drugs that had not been accurately reflected in the DCF database that contains case notes and histories of foster care children.

Additionally, there was no indication of a signed parental consent form or a court order authorizing the administration of the drugs, as required.

Among the findings:

•    A total of 2,669 (13.19%) of Florida children in out-of-home care have been prescribed one or more psychotropic medications.

•    The largest segment (59%) of those 2,669 children on psychotropic medication is between the ages of 13 and 17 years old.

•    There are 73 children (2.75% of the 2,669) ages 5 and under who are receiving psychotropic medications.

•    No record of consent or judicial order was found for 16.2% of the 2,669 children receiving psychotropic medication.

In compiling the report, all Community-Based Care organizations throughout the state have been asked to review every foster child’s  record to determine: how many children are on psychotropic drugs; if that information was recorded accurately in the Department’s database;  and if there was a signed consent form or court order authorizing the use of the drug in the child’s case file.

About the Gabriel Myers Work Group

Department of Children and Families (DCF) Secretary George H. Sheldon established the work group to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the tragic death of 7-year-old Gabriel Myers. Gabriel died on April 16 when police indicated he apparently hanged himself in the shower of his foster parents’ Margate home.

The work group has been asked to conduct a full inquiry into the facts of the case, in light of case management and judicial decisions, as well as determine the contributing effects that psychotropic drugs and sexual abuse had.

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