> Core Topics

Why is this important?

The overall purpose of treatment with psychotropic medication is to reduce unwanted mental health symptoms and to restore meaningful quality of life for youth. Medication should never be used as a punishment; as a condition of placement; as a means to restrain a youth, except in emergency situations; or for the convenience of caregivers. Whenever possible, the youth and their caregivers should have a voice in their treatment, and they should clearly understand why a medication is being given. Above all else, medication prescribing should keep youth safety in mind, with constant vigilance for short-term and long-term adverse effects.

New guidelines on this topic were released in the 2017 Colorado Guidelines for Psychotropic Medication Use for Children and Adolescents. This work is being led by Dr. Jadon Webb, the Medical Director for the Office of Children, Youth and Families with the Colorado Department of Human Services, and Dr. Judy Zerzan, the Chief Medical Officer for the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. These guidelines are an essential tool to help providers and caregivers connect foster kids to the right care at the right time to improve their quality of life and promote a healthy future.