California Guidelines for the Use of Psychotropic Medication with Children and Youth in Foster Care

The California Guidelines for the Use of Psychotropic Medication with Children and Youth in Foster Care has been developed by the Department of Health Care Services and the California Department of Social Services. These guidelines were developed with the assistance of many stakeholders and are designed as a statement of best practice for the treatment of children and youth in out-of-home care.

Pursuant to the Department of Health Care Services, while these guidelines are not codified mandates for providers of mental health and/or social services, they have been developed for use in conjunction with existing mandatory State regulations related to the provision of Medi-Cal funded mental health services and community care licensing (CCL) regulations related to foster homes, group homes, and residential treatment centers. The Guidelines outline:

  • Basic principles and values;
  • Expectations regarding the development and monitoring of treatment plans; the principles for emotional and behavioral health care, psychosocial services, and non- pharmacological treatments;
  • Principles for informed consent to medications; and
  • Principles governing medication safety.

The California Guidelines for the Use of Psychotropic Medication with Children and Youth in Foster Care (The guidelines are located on the right side of the screen under the heading “Deliverables”.)