Drugging of Foster Children Forces Government Review


Three government agencies – the Administration for Children and Families, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – are convening a meeting August 27 and 28 to address the crisis of “overmedication” – and rash of related scandals – in foster children. “The medical literature shows no studies of the long-term effects of antipsychotic drugs on children,” says one psychologist and lawyer involved in child welfare issues.

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Whenever I hear the word ‘overmedication’, I reach for my brick to throw it through the computer screen.

    There is no child on the face of this earth that deserves to have his or her growing brain violated and raped by a psychiatrist, parent, social worker, foster parent, flooding their NOT EVEN DISEASED brain with toxic drugs.


    There is no ‘overexecution’ for opponents of the death penalty.

    There is no ‘overenslavement’ for people against slavery.

    There is no ‘overmedication’ for opponents of children being drugged and abused by quackery.

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    • Good point. I went back and put quotes around “overmedication,” for what it’s worth. I do believe that a lot of the discussion is and will be about whether the medication is ever appropriate, and that that is inevitable, once pulling on the tail – how many children are being drugged for “patently” inappropriate reasons – that the cat may thereby get walked backwards.

      Still, your point is well taken. Thank you.

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      • I didn’t know you chose the word, I thought you were saying THEY used it in the article.

        Btw, I, and people, wouldn’t have to use capital letters ever, if we were offered an italics button.

        But I’m not asking you to give us an italics button.

        I think you should put a paypal donate button on the main page so people can donate money to this site, and then they give some of the money to you, and whoever it would be appropriate to spend hours getting us an italics button, the running of the site, hosting costs, and the change distributed to charities that are worthy.

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        • I was quoting the article. Using quotes is delicate, as it makes it seem (usually rightly) that I’m questioning the word or phrase’s use. I don’t like to do that too much, and try just to let articles stand or fall on their own merits upon scrutiny. As, in this case; yours.
          But after you pointed it out I realized that I did feel better putting it in quotes. “Overmedicated” could mean “too much” or “more people than should have been,” so I was allowing that because of that vagueness I would just use the word “in situ,” as it were.
          But after your comment I was less comfortable with that. It’s reasonable to ask whether “over” might just as well be “ever.”
          Mainly I put the article up so people would know the event was happening in case they want to do anything about it.

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    • Not trying to be controversial here, but what kind of country has a law allowing the wholesale murder of millions of the unborn each year? We’ve lost the value of life. The respect of and for life. And the image our lives reflect. Once we’ve done that, medicating children into oblivion is par for the course no? Ancient Rome indeed.

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      • I agree that the value of life and rights in general is clearly not where it should be.

        But frankly, I’d rather we focus discussion about the lives of adults and children who have been born, and work towards improving their lot – clearly for these kids, not many have bothered until now.

        No one “likes” abortion, but I’ve always found America quite interesting in the way that people can get so impassioned about the welfare and rights of children that “could have been”, rather than the hungry, tortured, impoverished ones which actually do exist in their own country! i.e. people can get terribly impassioned about the rights and lives of (literally for some people) cluster of cells, but apparently don’t care about these children once they’re born?

        As unpleasant as abortion is, I know which children I’d rather be focussing this discussion on.

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          • David

            “…not trying to be controversial”

            “…the wholesale murder of millions”

            “…our attitudes toward life not born and life born…the connection is very consistent”

            You are being very controversial and at the same time extremely inconsistent! For one who claims to be against the psychiatric oppression of children and adults, how can you claim consistency when you so easily dismiss the oppression of half of humanity!

            Women’s control of their bodies and reproduction is a fundamental human right. You cannot be a feminist or support women’s equality without supporting a women’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

            How can you equate scraping cells off the uterine wall with murder or the legalized drugging of children? Ending an unwanted pregnancy is a good thing and must be supported without reservations or guilt. Pregnacy is incredibly stressful on a women’s body and can potentially create major social obstacles for a young girl or woman to gain social parity with men.

            I have counseled many young women who ended up uneducated and living in poverty and/or stuck in abusive relationships with men because of an unnecessary or unwanted pregnacy. And many of these same women end up in community health clinics and put on cocktails of psych meds because they have trouble coping with all these stressors.

            Yes, we want a world where young women and men are educated about birth control and have the economic means and social consciousness to make healthy choices and treat each other with mutual love and respect. We have a long way to go and need many revolutionary type changes before we can achieve this. In the mean time we must absolutely support the rights of women to control their bodies and have safe abortions on demand and without apology. There is no difference between this right and the right to safe, drug free, mental health care.

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          • “attitudes towards life not born and life born”

            The “attitude” of mothers giving birth to babies is outright hostile! I’ve learned that mother is a very bad word.

            EVERYONE told me with each of my 3 pregnancies to ABORT. People did not want my children to be born. They had their “reasons” – I was a teenager. I was unmarried. THEY would have to “pay” for my kids, since I would be dependent on taxpayer money.

            When I refused to have abortions, the next line that was fed to me was “put them up for adoption”.

            Each one of my children were basically ripped out of my womb from the very moment that anyone learned they were in there. Americans, you have WON. My motherhood is probably one of the deepest and most severe pains of my entire life – and I have MANY deep and severe pains.

            JUDGMENT. I was judged for being a teen mom. I was made to feel GUILTY and BAD and HORRIBLE for bringing a child into this world. SHAME on me. Worse, that I was a foster kid. Worse, that one of my children was actually born into foster care – where she still is today.

            We’re WORTHLESS TRASH people. “Your mother should’ve swallowed you”. “Your mother should’ve aborted you”. Stupid me – I always thought things like that were ABUSE. But abuse and neglect ARE the charges that drag families into the court system, the foster care system and the drug system.

            I once apologized publicly (sarcastically) for giving birth to my children. People PRAISED IT as if I was doing something RIGHT by apologizing. They had NO IDEA that I was being cruel and sarcastic. I told them what I KNEW they wanted to hear.

            I was 14 years old and in 8th grade when I conceived – and YES – I was a virgin. How Unholy!

            Then this fat bleeding cow gave birth to a TAX DAY baby.

            PAY UP, taxpayers. Get to work and pay for my kids – whom YOU wanted to kill or take from me and have adopted out.

            My baby (15 years old) fights and refuses to be adopted. That means YOU, the taxpayer, are going to keep paying for it, as you should. Societal ABUSE is costly and deadly. PAY UP.

            300 BILLION dollars per year. I can’t get over it.

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    • My comment is more in regard to how our ruling predator class views us all as cattle with dollar signs on our heads. When nothing is sacred in pursuit of money, not even children, then we are in a lot of trouble as a society. Speaking about abortion, what about giving pregnant women SSRI’s? The decadence of a collapsing empire is everywhere, that is what i meant when i invoked Ancient Rome.

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      • “My comment is more in regard to how our ruling predator class views us all as cattle with dollar signs on our heads”

        Hey – Happy INDEPENDENCE Day!

        I am unable to celebrate because I’m dependent, not independent. Oh, inability & disability – more of a MANUFACTURE than disease. LOL.

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    • This is one reason why I say “psychiatry” / “mental health” is a branch of government – NOT “medicine” or “science”.

      Control, Control, Control.

      And I’ve heard that being OUT of control is a sure sign that someone is being CONTROLLED.

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  2. Not IMO, David! Pointing out the way children are viewed by the ‘ruling class’ of our society is a very strong case for permitting women to decide for themselves whether or not to tempt fate when they become pregnant. The egregious abuse of children in this *developed* country is hardly a secret.

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  3. I was a foster kid.

    Entry into the foster care system at 15 years old (with a newborn) meant entry into the “mental health” world. I had my first hospitalization 4 months after my first foster care placement. I was in that hospital for 2 months (separated from my baby), where I learned “silence and compliance”. Or, failed to learn it.

    Over the years, the drugs increased and evolved. The diagnosis evolved.

    The nightmare isn’t over; two of my children are state property. For as long as they are there, I am still there. Haven’t seen them for over 3 years. My oldest daughter will turn 18 this year. She has informed me that they now want to prescribe her.

    She has moved 5 times in the past year alone! Because of THAT (and so much more), she has now become “unstable”. She was abruptly taken from her home and moved almost 400 hundred miles away, “in the blink of an eye”. Two months later, she was taken from her mother. Then her brother became of age and left the system (and thereby, left his two sisters) and then my two girls were separated. This girl is in HELL, and now they want to drug her. UN-fking-believable.

    Who can I call? Jesus?

    I told her to say NO to the drugs. But then there’s the coercion and brainwash that she’ll have to fight against. ALL of the social workers, foster parents and therapists are COMPLICIT with “doctor recommendations”.

    The “doctor” will routinely dismiss the FACTS of her life, which is that for the past 5 years, my daughter’s life has been ripped apart, then ripped apart again, and again, and again, and again.

    WHO on earth will stand up for my daughter? WHO will step in to defend her and protect her, and advocate for her? Not me; I’ve been fired and disqualified. In the eyes of the “law”, I am not her mother anymore – yet I sit here alone in my apartment on 4th of July, and I’m NOT out there “partying”. I’m typing on a psychiatry / science website. What does this say about me? Let’s not go there.

    I KNOW foster care. I KNOW foster homes. They can be a hostile environment. And according to my daughter, there is endless fighting in the home she’s in now. I can’t do anything about it.

    Let me mock: “Oh, you’re sick, Honey. You’re mentally ill. You need medicine. You have a brain disease. You have a chemical imbalance. Just be a good girl and trust the professionals; they know what they’re doing.”

    Now doesn’t that seem painfully retarded and ignorant?

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  4. Your daughter’s story sounds horrible! I work with foster kids all the time and see things like this every day, unfortunately. Does your daughter have a CASA/GAL volunteer? They are not always in alignment with what we’re talking about here, but they can be amazingly effective in amplifying the child’s voice. She should also have an attorney who is fighting for what SHE says she wants, and if she doesn’t want drugs, she can tell her attorney that and the attorney should fight for her. If the attorney doesn’t, she should fire them and get a new one who does his/her job.

    It is too true – when we don’t value kids, we don’t value people, and our society goes down the tubes quickly.

    —- Steve

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