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Texas: Law aimed at psychotropic drugs given to foster children (Video)

May 22, 2013



Here's 4-year-old Rachael Harrison before Child Protective Services took her away from her parents.

This is what she looked like soon after CPS took over.

"She was never abused or neglected in any way except by CPS," said Rachael's grandmother Debbie Flores.

While in CPS custody, Rachael's parents say they didn't see her for two months. What they saw then was a drooling, lethargic, emaciated looking little girl.

The family says they spent months asking CPS if Rachael was on drugs.

"We kept asking and they kept denying," said Christina Harrison, Rachael's Mom.

"You could just tell there was a physical change between when she was with us and the time they had her at that point," said David Harrison, Rachael's Dad.

"She looked terrible so we made application to the court to try to discover what was happening to this little girl," said attorney Tom Sanders.

After the judge started questioning CPS about the little girl's declining condition CPS gave up trying to terminate the couple's parental rights and gave them their daughter back.

But not before court testimony showed the then 3-year-old was prescribed Risperdal, a drug used to treat schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder and according to the F.D.A. should not be given to a child under 10.

"There's paperwork saying she was screaming for mommy and daddy," Rachael's mom said.

"And the easiest way to handle her acting up was to medicate her," said Rachael's dad.

In 2011 the United States Government Accountability Office reported these disturbing findings:

"Texas is one of 5 states where children in foster care were prescribed psychotropic drugs 2.7 to 4.5 times more often than children who were not in foster care with children in the Texas foster care system being the most likely to receive psychotropic drugs."

The new law mandates CPS to tell biological parents about drugs prescribed to their children.

It also requires a medical evaluation every 3 months.

"That is good news because those children won't be left in the shadows," Sanders said. "They won't be forgotten there will have to be some accountability."

"We have to move away from this open mouth insert pill mentality," said Tyrone Obaseki.

Obaseki who now works for CPS grew up in CPS foster care.

He says he was prescribed psychotropic drugs at the age of 9.

"And the medication was administered not as a measure to assist me with any mental disorders but a way to control behavior," Obaseki said.

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