6/23/06-TEX- psychotropic drugs in foster care

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6/23/06-TEX- psychotropic drugs in foster care

Postby Marina » Fri Jun 23, 2006 7:15 pm

6/23/06-TEX- Comptroller reports foster care abuse, neglect

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent ... 28cd3.html

05:34 PM CDT on Friday, June 23, 2006
Associated Press

AUSTIN – About 100 Texas children were treated for poisoning by medications they were given while in state foster care in 2004, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn said Friday.

Her investigation found that large numbers of psychotropic drugs are being prescribed to children in the foster care system, "even though, according to the FDA, many of these drugs are not approved for children and have serious side effects such as suicidal tendencies, diabetes and cardiac arrhythmia."

In addition to the poisonings, her report found that 142 children gave birth and 63 were raped while in state foster care during the state's 2004 fiscal year. In three years, 116 died, Strayhorn said.

Strayhorn said she plans to wrap up the investigation next week but accused a state agency of hampering the investigation by withholding 2005 statistics.

"As alarming as these numbers are, we can only imagine how much worse the fiscal 2005 data is because Governor Perry's Health and Human Services Commission has refused to provide the data needed to complete my investigation," said Strayhorn, who is running against Perry as an independent candidate for governor.

In a statement, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission responded by saying that the number of children in foster care who were prescribed a psychotropic medication fell 7 percent in the five months after new guidelines were released by the Department of State Health Services in February 2005.

In an e-mail, HHSC spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said state and federal law prohibits the agency from releasing client-specific Medicaid data. She said HHSC would continue to request more information from Strayhorn's office about how the information would be used.

More than 30,000 children are in state foster care.

The Texas Legislature last year passed a measure aimed at reforming the state's Child Protective Services agency, including a mandate to hire more case workers.

Perry's campaign called Strayhorn's attack an "effort to exploit child tragedies for political gain.

"With her support evaporating, her poll numbers dropping and her campaign stagnating, Carole Strayhorn seems desperate to change the subject and is sadly not above exploiting child tragedies to do it," said Perry campaign spokesman Robert Black. "What a despicable thing to do."

Black said that Strayhorn's report ignores CPS reforms made in 2005.

Strayhorn argued that making the numbers public is vital to correct problems within the system.

Strayhorn expects to conclude her investigation, with or without the 2005 data, and report it to the Medicaid and Public Assistance Fraud Oversight Task Force next Thursday.

"Governor Perry is hiding the truth," Strayhorn said. "And in hiding the truth, his is jeopardizing our forgotten children's lives. That makes me one heartbroken Grandma."

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Postby gideonmacleish » Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:35 am

Thanks for this, Marina. I'm still leery about voting for Strayhorn, because she's a lifelong Republican masquerading as an independent, but I will definitely have to speak with her campaign because she's shedding light on this situation.

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