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Virginia’s Children’s Champion: Appropriate Use of Medications in Children

Consumers, parents, caregivers and clinicians have expressed concern regarding the use of psychotropic medications in children and adolescents. A number of scientific articles have recently outlined the increasing role that medications play in the treatment of children, particularly children enrolled in Medicaid or in foster care. Some parents note that these medications have made a positive difference in the treatment of their child. Others report adverse side effects, and complain that no psychosocial evaluation occurred before the medication was prescribed, often by a primary care physician. To address the issue, Magellan Behavioral Health of Virginia (Magellan of Virginia) uses various interventions in its Virginia’s Children’s Champion Program. These interventions include:

  • Individual case-specific education for prescribers
  • A Magellan publication:Appropriate Use of Psychotropic Drugs in Children and Adolescents: A Clinical Monograph
  • Dissemination of tools for parents and caregivers
  • A webinar for practitioners

These interventions and tools will be shared to not only to educate on the appropriate use of these medications, but also to teach parents and caregivers about important questions to ask when medications are suggested for a treatment plan. The presenters will also lead a discussion of the legitimate role of medications in the treatment of children for behavioral issues. Magellan of Virginia will review the results of this project, reducing inappropriate prescribing and improving the rate of children referred to case management. The target audience will be behavioral health practitioners of all disciplines, Community Services Board administrators, as well as parents and other stakeholders across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

To access Magellan’s resources and materials related to psychotropic medications in children and adolescents, please click here:

The Virginia Learning Collaborative effort includes many stakeholders, members from the community including behavioral health providers, medical providers and related state agencies:

  • Private Behavioral Health Providers
  • CSB Providers
  • Virginia Department of Social Services
  • Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
  • Department of Medical Assistance Services
  • Office of Comprehensive Services
  • VCU Medical School Department of Psychiatry
  • VCU Medical School Department of Pharmacy
  • VCU Department of Media
  • Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Family Medicine Physician
  • Foster Care and Adoption-Resource and Support
  • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Virginia Department of Education
  • National Association for the Mentally Ill
  • A Family Member of a Consumer

Additional links to helpful information:
Facts for Families – Psychiatric Medication for Children and Adolescents Part 1-3

Children's Bureau U.S. Department of Health and Human Services resource:
Supporting Youth in Foster Care in Making Healthy Choices: A Guide for Caregivers and Caseworkers on Trauma, Treatment and Psychotropic Medications

Tips for Practice: Psychotropic Medication

Department of Health and Human Services | Office of Inspector General - report:
Second Generation Antipsychotic Drug Use Among Medicaid-enrolled Children: Quality of Care Concerns


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