Children in foster care, who typically rely on Medicaid to cover their physical and behavioral health service needs, are more likely than other children to receive psychotropic medications. In response, as part of federal legislation passed in 2012, states were newly required to develop protocols for the appropriate use and monitoring of psychotropic medications for children in foster care.

To help states advance this effort, the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) led Improving the Use of Psychotropic Medication among Children and Youth in Foster Care — a three-year, multi-state learning and quality improvement collaborative made possible through support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The collaborative brought together teams from state Medicaid, child welfare, and behavioral health agencies in six states to develop and implement new approaches to the monitoring and oversight of psychotropic medication among children and adolescents in foster care.

These profiles share key quality improvement achievements from select states that participated in the learning collaborative — Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The profiles can be used by other states interested in developing effective policies and practices for the appropriate use of psychotropic medications for children in foster care.