The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently released some disturbing findings that were evidenced right here in Houston: children in the Texas foster care system are more likely to be prescribed psychotropic drugs than in any other state. A local family is heartbroken after their daughter’s health declined while in the custody of Child Protective Services.
The parents lost custody of their daughter on different occasions because they used recreational drugs including cocaine and marijuana. After the second incident, the state tried for more than a year to terminate the married couple’s parental rights. While their 4-year-old daughter was in the custody of foster homes, she was prescribed drugs commonly used to treat schizophrenia and bi-polar disorders. According to the Federal Drug Administration, those drugs should not be given to any child under 10 years of age.
The parents and grandparents of the little girl noticed that she became lethargic, emaciated and drooling. The kept asking CPS if she was on drugs, but the answer was always, “No.”
It wasn’t until a judge started questioning the declining health of the little girl during the custody and parental rights hearings that CPS admitted to the medical treatment. According to CPS policy they are required to inform parents within 24 hours if their child needed or received any medical care.
The doctor who prescribed the incorrect, and some say unnecessary, medication was ordered to complete continuing medication education and pay $5,000 in administrative fees. CPS has given up trying to terminate the couple’s parental rights and returned their daughter.
If you are embattled in a child custody battle, using drugs is just one of the many reasons you may harm your chances of obtaining a fair custody, support and visitation settlement.
Source: myfoxhouston.com, “3-year-old in CPS’ care overprescribed psychotropic drugs,” Randy Wallace, May 16, 2012