Home > Carsey Institute (University of New Hampshire), children and families, prescription drugs, social and cultural issues > Psychotropic Medication Use Among Children in the Child Welfare System

Psychotropic Medication Use Among Children in the Child Welfare System

January 25, 2013

Psychotropic Medication Use Among Children in the Child Welfare System (PDF)

Source: Carsey Institute

Key Findings

  • Among children age 4 and older with a report of maltreatment, rates of psychotropic medication use are significantly higher in rural (20 percent) than urban areas (13 percent).
  • Children age 4 and older with a maltreatment report in rural areas were significantly more likely to take more than one medication than children in urban areas. In rural places, 28 percent took two medications and 33 percent took three or more medications. In urban places, 23 percent took two and 14 percent took three or more medications.
  • In addition to emotional or behavioral problems, a number of other factors predicted which children were given psychotropic medication, including whether they receive counseling, being 12 years old or older, and being male.
  • In rural places, children living in poor households were more likely to be given psychotropic medication.
  • Twenty percent of children in rural areas with a child maltreatment report who remain in-home received medication compared to 12 percent in urban areas.
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