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States' Use of the Automated Child Welfare Information System to Monitor Medication Prescribed to Children in Foster Care

Psychotropic and opioid drugs are among those that may be prescribed to children in foster care. Psychotropic medications treat mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD medications reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve the ability to focus, work, and learn. Prescription opioids include narcotics to manage pain from surgery, injury, or illness, but also have a high risk for abuse and misuse. To receive certain Federal funding for child welfare services, States are required to have a plan for the ongoing oversight and coordination of health care services for any child in foster care placement, including protocols for the appropriate use and monitoring of medications (the Social Security Act § 422(b)(15)(A)). The Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) is a federally funded, comprehensive, and automated case management tool for State child welfare agencies that choose to use it. For States that use SACWIS, we will review their use of the system for monitoring psychotropic, ADHD, and opioid medications prescribed to children in foster care. Because the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is responsible for the oversight of States' foster care programs, we will also determine the extent to which ACF ensures children in foster care receive medication in accordance with State requirements.

Announced or Revised Agency Title Component Report Number(s) Expected Issue Date (FY)
January 2018 Administration for Children and Families States' Use of the Automated Child Welfare Information System to Monitor Medication Prescribed to Children in Foster Care Office of Audit Services W-00-18-59434; A-05-18-00007 2019

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