An effective consent process is necessary to ensure that children and youth in foster care are receiving appropriate treatment for their behavioral health needs. Agency consent is an oversight model that requires child welfare agencies to conduct a review of psychotropic medications prescribed to children and youth to help prevent inappropriate prescribing. Resources in this section describe three models of agency consent for psychotropic medications.

Models of Agency Consent for Psychotropic Medications (July 2014) – This tool outlines three models of agency consent and highlights each method through examples from New Jersey, Connecticut, and Illinois.

Models of Agency Consent for Psychotropic Medications for Children and Youth in Child Welfare (June 2013) – This webinar offers “how-tos” on agency consent for psychotropic medications for children in foster care, highlighting three state models that rely on medical expertise to inform consent decisions.

State Highlight: New Jersey

New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) works to ensure that parents whose rights have not been terminated are involved in the decision-making process and requires their consent for psychotropic medications. Local office managers or designees at the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P) may provide consent in limited circumstances. New Jersey has a Child Health Unit (CHU) located in each CP&P local office with Health Care Case Manager nurses assigned to each child in out-of-home placement.  When a child is prescribed psychotropic medication, the CP&P caseworker and the CHU nurse gather all relevant health information to help the parent and/or CP&P make the most informed decision.

The New Jersey consent model includes the review of psychotropic medication recommendations by a child psychiatrist. DCF Office of Clinical Services conducts quality assurance reviews on cohorts of children and youth considered at risk, and regularly reviews psychotropic medication data for children in out-of-home placements.

Learn more about New Jersey’s efforts »