“Foster children are a lucrative market for psychotropic drug sales. Unlike adults, they can’t say, ‘No, I won’t take any more of that drug.'”
I can personally verify that this happens. It’s devastating to see a child going through this. You try and get them off the meds because you know they shouldn’t be on them, but the withdrawal symptoms are so terrible the doctors push them back on the meds again. It takes MONTHS and sometimes years to get them off meds that they never should have been on in the first place.
Behavior problems are scary and I can understand why foster parents would turn to medication for help. There is so little assistance for emotionally distraught children, that doctors and caregivers turn to medication for help. Unfortunately when those meds don’t “fix” the child, they start adding more pills trying to find the combination that is going to magically make that child behave in an acceptable manner. The time and effort it takes to care for one child that has these types of issues is massive. The emotional investment is incomprehensible for someone that has never been there.
So what’s the answer? We can’t medically castrate people so they don’t have kids. We have to work very hard to keep children with their completely unstable parents so we can preserve the family unit. And society likes to stand back and judge a system they refuse to get involved in. How do we overcome all of these things and save these children?
I don’t know.
But I do know it won’t fix itself and that if people don’t step up and pitch in things will never change.
5 Ways To Make A Difference For Foster Children And Their Families;
1. Become a foster families babysitter for “nights out”. These parents need to refresh and recharge so they can continue to care for these children.
2. Become a mentor for a child in foster care. It’s hard but these kids need people they can look up to and that can prove to them adults can be trusted.
3. Call your state government officials and tell them how you feel about children taking unnecessary anti-psychotic medications.
4. Ask a foster family what you can do to help. It could be as simple as being a sympathetic ear for them to talk too, you won’t know unless you ask. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries. Explain that you want to help but you are not comfortable with XYZ. Trust me, they can find something for you to help with that you will be OK doing.
5. Get a job that in someway impacts the child care profession especially one that supports foster children. This is my personal favorite (and closest to my heart). We need more occupational therapists, counselors, social workers, and general child care professionals. These parents still have to work and while they are at work they need people that can watch over their foster children without causing more emotional distress. I opened a child care facility and we specialize in working with children that are emotionally distraught, the ones that have been kicked out of all the other child care centers. It’s a struggle emotionally and financially but it’s the most rewarding job I could ever ask for. Earning a child’s trust is the most honorable thing I could ever do and that is what makes it worth it every day.
You may not be able to do any of these things. In that case be an advocate, spread the message, pray for those that work with these children and pray for these kids so that they can find the healing they need. Healing may need the support of medications to begin with (the VERY minimum needed) so that they can be stabilized but true healing will come from God’s love not the bottom of a prescription bottle.
About The Author; CJ Littleton
CJ Littleton is married to her soul-mate and is very blessed to be the mother of two amazing young men. In 2013, God placed it on her heart to open a preschool that specializes in teaching children emotional intelligence. Fusion Learning & Development Center has been molded by the experiences she had while working with foster children. CJ found that often times these children had learning and/or behavioral disorders, but she could not find care for them that was structured and focused on helping them succeed. Through research and discussions with various educational leaders and child psychologists, she found that early intervention had the potential to mitigate learning disabilities, behavioral issues and developmental delays. And so began her adventure in early childhood education.
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