The National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) is a non-profit organization based in Oakland, California. NCYL’s staff of attorneys and advocates works to ensure that public agencies created to protect and care for children do so effectively.
Several years ago, at the request of concerned foster parents and other child advocates, our office began investigating conditions in the Clark County (Las Vegas), Nevada foster care system. We discovered, among other problems, that foster children were often given psychotropic medications with little or no scrutiny of the drugs’ risks, benefits, or appropriateness.[i] Foster parents provided us with examples of the adverse and, in at least one instance, almost fatal effects of this unfettered, unmonitored administration of antipsychotics, antidepressants, stimulants, and other medications upon children in their care. One young boy, who entered care in November 2005, was continuously on multiple psychotropic medications for more than three and a half years, including multiple antipsychotic drugs, until he was hospitalized with a life-threatening condition as a result of the drugs’ toxicity