Administering Medications to Dependent Child of the Court

Under the provisions of Welfare and Institutions Code section 369.5, a child who has been declared a dependent child of the court, and who has been removed from the custody of his or her parents or guardian, may not be given psychotropic medication without an order signed by a Juvenile Court Judge.  Psychotropic medication includes Ritilin, Adderol and Zoloft.  It is anticipated that beginning shortly, special education directors of Kern County school districts may receive letters from the Department of Social Services, or from lawyers appointed by the juvenile court to represent the child, that notify the school of the child’s diagnosis and/or medications and side effects.

We recommend that our clients in Kern County establish internal procedures to assure that such letters are reviewed by the special education director or coordinator to determine whether, when viewed with other facts known about the child’s education performance, there is reason to believe the child should be considered for special education and related services, or a 504 plan.  If the medications are to be administered during school hours, districts should follow their normal procedures for medication administration.