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July 2, 2012 permalink
Richard Wexler, in a blog post about overuse of psychiatric medicines for foster children, ends with a quiz. See if you can solve it.
A reminder of why this issue really is not complex comes this week in a superb dissection of child welfare in New York City, published in the New York Review of Books. (Most of it is behind a paywall, but it’s well worth the $4.99).
The story also includes this case example, which will be followed by a pop quiz:
[A] mother who was in a drug treatment program lost her child after a single relapse. For a while, mother and daughter were allowed to meet regularly at a desolate Bronx foster care agency beside a gravel yard where garbage blew around like tumbleweeds.
One day, when the child appeared with a black eye somehow acquired in her foster home, the mother became hysterical, and the police were called. The child was placed in a new foster home, but after that, mother and daughter spiraled into madness.
While scrambling to assemble court documents, the mother managed to obtain the original report filed when her daughter was first taken away. This document, signed by the New York State commissioner for children and family services, states that the original allegation of neglect was “unfounded”—aside from the single drug relapse, the report said the child was well taken care of.
Nevertheless, because of the mother’s angry outbursts, she lost her parental rights last February. Her daughter, now eight and taking four psychotropic medications to control her behavior—including one that can cause irreversible catatonia and drooling—is, the mother told me, up for adoption.
So, here’s your pop quiz: What would have been the best way to prevent this girl from winding up “taking four psychotropic medications to control her behavior—including one that can cause irreversible catatonia and drooling.”
Source: Richard Wexler blog