Settlement Requires DHHS to Reform Use of Psychotropic Drugs Given to Foster Children

The parties agreed to 3 critical reforms: an improved medical records system, creation of an informed consent process, and a psychiatric clinical review after the drugs are administered to children.

Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services reached a settlement Friday with child welfare advocates over a 2021 lawsuit, agreeing to enact reforms that will improve safety measures and oversight at the agency to ensure proper use of strong medications given to foster children in the state system.

The lawsuit, filed by national advocacy organization Children’s Rights, law firm Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, and Maine Equal Justice, alleged that Maine foster children as young as 5 were being given powerful psychotropic drugs without sufficient safeguards and oversight. Defendants named in the suit were Jeanne Lambrew, commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, and Todd Landry, the former director of the Office of Child and Family Services.

Keep Reading