For Immediate Release

Contact: Rob Grant, Communications Director
202.966.7300, Ext. 119

Caitlyn Camacho, Communications & Marketing Coordinator
202.966.7300, Ext. 154

Washington, D.C., February 28, 2012 - The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is proud to announce the completion of its Guide for Community Child Serving Agencies on Psychotropic Medications for Children and Adolescents. The guide, developed with partial support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), aims to help agencies and service providers improve policies and systems for medication use with children and youth in community-based systems of care.

Given the recent media and Congressional focus on children in the foster care system, the guide, is a timely resource for policymakers, Medicaid Directors, and child-serving agency administrators, who are required by new federal law to establish monitoring systems for prescribing psychotropic medications to youth in foster care settings.

"States have a duty to protect children in their care," said AACAP President Martin Drell, M.D. "The guide stresses the need for implementing coordinated community care that results in individualized sets of services and supports depending on the unique needs of the child, his/her family, and other caregivers."

Any child or adolescent for whom medication is a consideration requires an evaluation. Medication alone is rarely an adequate or appropriate intervention for children and adolescents with a complex psychiatric disorder. Treatment options should include consideration of the full range of psychosocial and psychopharmacologic interventions. Prescribing psychoactive medications for children and adolescents requires the professional judgment of a physician, such as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, or other licensed prescriber with training and qualifications in the use of these medications in this age group.

In preparation for developing this document, child serving agency providers from across the country were asked what questions they, along with the youth and families they work with, have about the use of psychotropic medications in community-based systems of care. The Guide includes special considerations for child serving systems including primary health care, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, early childhood services, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse treatment services.

Click here to access AACAP's Guide for Community Child Serving Agencies on Psychotropic Medications for Children and Adolescents. To speak with an expert, please contact Caitlyn Camacho, Communications Coordinator, at 202.966.7300, ext. 154 or


Representing over 8,500 child and adolescent psychiatrists nationwide, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is the leading authority on children's mental health.

AACAP Members actively research, diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders affecting children, adolescents and their families. For more information please visit