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State panel implicates foster care workers in South Florida 7-year-old's suicide


By Kris Hundley

Foster care workers at all levels routinely ignored policies designed to protect children in their care from being given psychotropic drugs without proper consent or monitoring.

That was the conclusion of a panel looking into the April suicide of Gabriel Myers, a 7-year-old foster child who killed himself in Margate, South Florida, while taking two psychotropic medications.

The 26-page report, released Thursday, highlighted a lack of communication, inadequate supervision and inaccurate information in the Department of Children and Families' handling of Myers' case. About 15 percent of foster children in out of home care are on at least one psychotropic medication.

DCF Secretary George Sheldon said he looks forward to hearing the work group's recommendations. Among the options: a second-party review of all foster children on psychotropic drugs regardless of the diagnosis.

2009 Aug 21