Illinois group using art, yoga to ween foster kids off psychotropic meds its working, they say – Alton Telegraph

Posted: February 25, 2020 at 1:43 am


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Cole Lauterbach The Center Square

Illinois group using art, yoga to ween foster kids off psychotropic meds its working, they say

SPRINGFIELD A nonprofit foster organization spent 2019 offering traumatized teenage youth in care alternatives to psychotropic medication and the group said the approach is working.

In 2016, there were 53,898 children that, at one time or another, entered into foster care in Illinois, according to a 2018 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services investigation. Of those, 10,109, or 18 percent, were prescribed psychotropic medications at a cost of more than $10.7 million to the federal government.

ChildServ, a nonprofit dedicated to building better lives for children, offered foster children in its three group homes access to therapeutic activities such as art, equine and drama therapy, yoga, meditation and others in an effort to avoid over-reliance on prescription drugs.

Some people may just think its easier, said Dan Kotowski, ChildServ president and CEO, of the high prescription drug rate in foster children. But, as we say all the time, what would you do for your own children? If your child was 3 years old and had behavioral issues, would you prescribe them an antipsychotic medication?

He gave a number of examples of these foster children who, after some time in their activities, were better able to process how past traumatic experiences affected them. Thats seen as a key step, Kotowski said, to making positive changes.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has jurisdiction over many of the youth-in-care Kotowski described. He said his organization has been in contact with the department about the possibility of adopting a similar approach statewide.

DCFS would not respond to requests for comment about the states role in prescribing psychotropic medications to children.

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Illinois group using art, yoga to ween foster kids off psychotropic meds its working, they say - Alton Telegraph

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February 25th, 2020 at 1:43 am

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