The federal government has not done enough to protect America's foster children from being over-medicated with powerful mind-altering drugs, according to recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Thousands of children in the states the GAO investigated -- Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregan and Texas – were being prescribed psychiatric medications at doses higher than the maximum levels approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Here is a resource guide of organizations that help the country's nearly 425,000 foster children.
AACAP: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry:The AACAP is composed of over 7,500 child and adolescent psychiatrists and physicians who research, evaluate, diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders. The organization provides up to date findings on disorders that effect up to 80 percent of foster children.
CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocate Association: An association of 955 programs that recruit, train and support volunteers to advocated abused and neglected children in court and during other legal proceedings. Last year, the judge-appointed volunteers helped 240,000 children find safe, permanent homes.
Able Child: Parents for Label and Drug Free Education:A non-profit that supports caregivers and parents and helps them make informed decisions when faced with children who may or may not need prescription drugs or psychiatric treatment.
Maryhurst: Established in 1843, Mary Hurst is a non-profit child welfare agency based in Kentucky that provides residential in-home and community-based treatment programs for girls who suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as homelessness. A fully licensed childcare, child placement and adoption service provider in Kentucky, serving more than 600 children and families each year.
Florida's Children First:Founded by child advocate attorneys, Florida's Children First protects the rights of at-risk children in Florida by providing legal advocacy and assistance. The organization also works to implement public policy that ensures that all children in Florida have food, clothing, housing, education and medical care.
Annie E. Casey Foundation: The primary mission of the foundation is to foster public policies, human service reforms and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of today's vulnerable children and families.
AdoptUSKids: A project of the Children's Bureau, part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, the organization encourages families to adopt U.S. children.
Casey Family Programs: Casey Family Programs' mission is to provide and improve -- and ultimately to eliminate the need for -- foster care by providing direct services and promoting advances in child-welfare practice and policy.
Dave Thomas Foundation: Wendy's founder Dave Thomas created the nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the adoption of the more than 150,000 children in North America's foster care system.
North American Council on Adoptable Children: NACAC promotes and supports permanent families for children and youth in the United States and Canada who have been in care, especially those in foster care and those with special needs.
Pew Commission of Children in Foster Care: Part of the Pew Charitable Trust, the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care has been established to develop recommendations to improve outcomes for children in the foster care system.