More on foster care

Ray Lemay sent me a link to this article by Dr. Peter Breggin on the mind drugging of youth in foster care.

A quote from the article:

Now there is a Government Accounting Office (GAO) report confirming that foster children in five states — Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and Texas — are receiving shocking amounts of psychiatric drugs. In the words of ABC News, they are “being prescribed psychiatric medications at doses higher than the maximum levels approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in these five states alone. And hundreds of foster children received five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time despite absolutely no evidence supporting the simultaneous use or safety of this number of psychiatric drugs taken together.”


Consider the following article quote in light of what Social Role Valorization teaches about the impacts of societal devaluation and wounding, of heightened vulnerability, of rejection and disastrous discontinuity of place and relationship:

Is this widespread psychiatric drugging medically appropriate or indicated? Absolutely not. First of all, these are young children, even infants, who have already been through extremely traumatic experiences. All of them have been taken from their homes and most of them will not have had a stable replacement home. Beyond that, one can only imagine their horrendous living conditions prior to being removed from their families of origin. These children do not need psychoactive substances — they need the best human, caring services that our society can provide. The drugs may make them temporarily more docile, but by disrupting and suppressing normal brain function and development, they add new stressors to their lives and prevent them from adapting and growing as best as possible.


Dr. Breggin writes in this article, among other things, of the critical importance of home, parents and family, adult relationships, and school for these young people; all quite consistent with the idea of the culturally valued analog for example; of starting from what is typical and valued in the culture, what most people are familiar with and hold positive expectations of. Rather than turning to mind drugs, how can we strengthen the valued social roles of son and daughter, brother and sister, niece and nephew, neighbor, family friend, kid in the neighborhood and neighbor, student, athlete, choir member, baby-sitter, team member, artist, etc., etc., for these vulnerable young people? Please share your comments, stories and examples on this topic.

For more on the topic of mind drugs from an SRV perspective, see this previous blog entry and these resources:

• Lemay article on ‘Social Role Valorization versus drug therapies’

• Wolfensberger article on the ‘growing threat to the lives of handicapped people in the context of modernistic values’


Marc Tumeinski

7 Responses

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  1. Written by Ashley Sweigart
    on February 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm
    · Permalink

    This article was disturbing to read. Children at such young ages should not be placed on cocktails of psychiatric medications. With statistics that include how lives may be shortened by up to 25 percent or how the medications may increase suicidal tendencies, the children should be pulled out of the foster homes and pulled off of the medications. Children need love and proper care by parents or an authority figure. Medication may be a “quick fix” but a child’s developmental grow will be hindered and children often know that they don’t need to be on medication. I think medicating children is a huge trend in America. People believe that the minute a child won’t listen or can’t sit still, they have a psychological or behavioral problem. We are forgetting that children are meant to be active and misbehave. We should not return the to long ago idea that children are mini adults. If adults would give children the proper care and attention that they need, medication would not be needed.

  2. Written by Kaitlyn Fedor
    on February 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm
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    I was very shocked by this post. These young children should be given psychiatric medications. They have lived such traumatic lives, ones that I can’t even imagine. Some have come from horrible living situations and now they are living in foster care. They do not need medication, what they do need is a loving, caring, and stable family to care for them. The medications they are giving are simply providing temporary relief. However, they are actually hurting the child’s development and growth. Society has turned into a world where medication is the answer to everything. People are giving it to their children at such a young age. Their is a rise in giving medication to children with ADD and ADHD. Some of these children do not even have ADD or ADHD, but they are given medication to calm them down and control them. Medication is not what is needed. If these children got the care and support they need, then they would not be in the foster care system in the first place. They are so young and yet have lived such stressful and traumatic lives. All they need is love. They need to be cared for and given a safe, stable home.

  3. Written by Brittany Moyer
    on February 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm
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    After reading this article I’m shocked at our society. These children have been through things in their life that many adults have not faced throughout their lifetime. It disgusts me that people think they can cure the effects of a traumatic incident that a child experienced by feeding them numerous drugs. These children have problems because they were treated poorly and giving them medicine is only hurting them. This is how people get addicted to prescription drugs and eventually end up dying. Society is teaching children that when your faced with a problem in your life that hurts you, you should take multiple drugs because at the end of the day you won’t feel that pain. In the article is says that children are being given multiple drugs at doses higher then the maximum amount approved by the FDA. In this article it also says that when children are given multiple prescriptions at this high dosage level that toxic levels of exposure can occur. I don’t understand how we can sit back and watch these innocent children be fed all of these drugs. Even if the child tries to stand up for themselves and say no they don’t need drugs, they will be ignored and probably fed even more drugs. They can’t help the way their family treated them and now instead of caring and loving them we have people shoving medication down their throats because they think that will cure them. When in reality they just need to be loved and taken care of and have a family that will be there for them and give them the support they need.

  4. Written by Seri
    on March 22, 2012 at 4:25 pm
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    Reading this article surprised me. It is a shame how young children are forced to take psychiatric medications. It really is sad how children are given the drugs just for them to calm down. They should be loud, hyper, and full of energy as a young child. Some of the children may not even need the drugs. I feel that taking all those drugs, as a young child is very unhealthy. The children will also become immune to them if they are constantly taking them. I was shocked when I read that when a foster mom objects to give the drugs to the child, they are threatened with the removal of the child. That just sounds wrong and unreal to do. The children’s lives must be hard as it is, going to a foster home. They are “passed from hand to hand, house to house” (Breggin, 2011). These children could be wounded because they feel that no one cares for them. These children need loving and caring in their lives.

    Breggin, P. (2011). “The Psychiatric Drugging of America’s Foster Children.” Huffpost Healthy Living.

  5. Written by Brittany R.
    on March 29, 2012 at 11:05 am
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    This article breaks my heart as I read about these children and what they are put through, not only with varying traumatizing events, but also with psychiatric drugs that are harmful to them. This greatly increases my awareness of this issue. Many times these types of articles just make us aware, but a key part is to step up and do something about it. Stability and love is what needs to be provided in a home, and unfortunately many children do not receive that. And if they do not receive it from their home, they need to receive it when in another home. Family friends of ours live in the Midwest are starting a small program where they are trying to get children out of the foster care system. They have grouped together with a number of other families in this vision. They want to provide those in the foster care system with a place to live and to learn. It will also be a place where they would learn responsibility and maybe a trade. They want to provide a place of stability instead of having a teen tossed about from home to home, person to person. They are on their way to providing a place to call home for those stuck in the foster care system.

  6. Written by Cecilia
    on March 30, 2012 at 10:27 am
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    I have personal experience with the foster care system. My aunt was a foster mother for as long as I can remember and we always had children coming in and out of our family. My older cousin and best friend was even adopted by my aunt after initially being fostered by her for about five years. To the best of my knowledge, none of the children my aunt took care of recieved and psychiatric drugs and especially not to the exent mentioned in this article. All of them flourished while with my aunt because she provided what they needed, a warm and welcoming place to call home and a lving family, not drugs to subdue them. The implications of this article are downheartening to read. That our society would rather drug children than help them cope with the tragedy they have been through says a lot about where we, as a nation, are headed. When the drugs given to these children are generally not needed, dangerous and overused it shows how society would rather sweep the problem under the rug than take the time an effort to deal with it. These are the children of our future and we need to help them prosper and flourish to the best of our ability, not hold them back and drug them to make our own lives easier.

  7. Written by Amanda
    on April 16, 2012 at 10:20 pm
    · Permalink

    The children in this article live unimaginable lives. It is hard for me to completely relate because I cannot say that I have gone through anything like they have. I can say that these children should not be living their lives on numerous amounts of psychiatric medications. It disgusts me that society thinks that it is okay to give such strong medications to these children. No amount of medications can take away the pain that these children have suffered from. People do not even understand the difficulties and hard times that they have gone through. It’s a shame that society would chose to drug up these children rather than help them the correct and proper way. Those children did nothing to deserve the treatment that they are receiving.

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