Foster Drugs: A WTOL11 Investigation

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Taxpayers are spending tens of millions of dollars on medication for Ohio foster children.

Ohio Medicaid spent between $10 million and $11 million on anti-psychotic drugs and A.D.H.D. medications each year for the past 3 years for children in foster care.  In Michigan, that number is between $8 million and $10 million.

Dr. Theodor Rais, a child development expert at the University of Toledo, says the use of medications for all children has grown exponentially in the last 10 years, and much of that is not coming from psychiatrists.

"80 percent of psychotropic medications are prescribed by primary care physicians, pediatricians, internal medicine," said Dr. Rais. "It is not desirable."

Officials say, though, that a rigorous process is in place to ensure that all drugs prescribed to foster children and paid for by tax payers are necessary. Dean Sparks, Executive Director of Lucas County Children's Services, says a medical committee reviews requests to ensure a child needs the medication that is prescribed.  Sparks say he has seen requests denied because they did not fit in with a child's overall treatment program.

"If you're going to do it, you better justify it and it better make sense to us," said Sparks.

More information:

2009 – 2011 Ohio foster care drug costs by category

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