Antipsychotics in the California Foster Care System: A 10-Year Analysis. Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology Nunes, J. C., Naccarato, T., Stafford, R. S. 2022


Background: In response to concerns regarding psychotropic medication prescribing, California's foster care system implemented oversight strategies to improve prescribing and monitoring practice, particularly for antipsychotics. The impact of these policies has not been evaluated. Objectives: To examine foster youth psychotropic use data in California and their relationship to national and state policy initiatives. Methods: This study analyzed 2011-2020 data curated by the California Child Welfare Indicators Project. The platform matches Medicaid medication and laboratory claims with individual-level foster youth data to report rates of dispensed psychotropic medications, authorization status, and metabolic screening. Results: In 2011, there were 78,231 California youth in foster care, of which 10,435 (13.3%) received psychotropics and 5570 (7.1%) antipsychotics. In 2020, of 68,386 foster children, 7172 (12.2%) received psychotropics and 2068 (3.0%) antipsychotics. Proper authorizations for psychotropics were obtained for 5581 (77.8%) foster youth in 2020. Of those receiving antipsychotics, 904 (43.7%) underwent metabolic screening. The greatest declines in antipsychotic use occurred between 2013 (6.7%) and 2018 (3.1%). Overall 2011 to 2020 declines were similar for males (8.5%3.6%, 58% reduction, p<0.001) and females (5.5%2.4%, 57% reduction, p<0.001). Regarding age and race, greater declines occurred for children <10 years (2.33%0.84%, 64% reduction, p<0.001) and Latino youth (5.4%2.2%, 59% reduction, p<0.001). Conclusions: Temporal patterns in antipsychotic use suggest an impact of policies and guidelines. While 12.2% of foster youth continue to receive psychotropics, there were reductions in racial/ethnic disparities and declines in antipsychotic use. Lack of adherence to authorization and metabolic screening requirements continue to be concerning.

View details for DOI 10.1089/cap.2022.0040

View details for PubMedID 35834606