On any given day, thousands of children in foster care across the country are administered psychotropic medications to address mental health and behavioral issues. Some of these children receive combinations of two, three, or more such medications at a time, often in elevated dosages. Some, like Joe, are even placed on antipsychotics, which led him to say, “I feel like I have knives in my eyes.”
Like all parents, Wilhelmina Yazzie wants her children to have an education that gives them the opportunities they need to learn and thrive. But her 15-year-old son Xavier hasn’t been getting what he needs to be college and career ready because the state has been starving our public schools. Unfortunately, Wilhelmina’s son Xavier, like so many other students in New Mexico, has not had the benefit of the programming and resources he needs to thrive.
It is a fact that studies elsewhere have demonstrated these same chemicals can cause an increase in birth defects and neurobehavioral problems. We need to know if these chemicals are making their way into our drinking water, into our bodies, into our unborn babies and into our mother’s breastmilk...
In her Dec. 17 ruling against Texas' foster care system, U.S. District Judge Janis Jack was scathing. For more than two decades, she wrote, the state has created a situation where "children have been shuttled throughout a system where rape, abuse, psychotropic medication, and instability are the norm."
I was one of those children. I was born in Dumas, deep in the heart of West Texas. I entered the foster care system shortly before my 10th birthday. My mother was an addict — meth being her drug of choice — and would routinely beat me when she was high.