Monitoring Psychotropic Medications

In February 2005, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), the Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) released a "best practices" guide to ensure the proper use of psychotropic medications for the children in foster care. It has been continuously reviewed since that initial release.

The current guide is the Psychotropic Medication Utilization Parameters for Children and Youth in Texas Public Behavioral Health  updated in June 2019. The Parameters serve as a resource for physicians and clinicians who care for children diagnosed with mental health disorders. The guide gives recommendations for the appropriate use of psychotropic medications for children served by the public behavioral health system in Texas, including children in foster care, and identifies nine criteria that indicate a need to review a child's clinical status.

Since April 2008, STAR Health has conducted Psychotropic Medication Utilization Reviews (PMURs) on the children whose medication regimens fall outside of the expectations of the Parameters. The STAR Health PMUR FAQ English | Spanish versions explains this process and how to request a review.

The prescription patterns of psychotropic medications for Texas children in foster care have improved significantly since 2004 because of widespread use of the Parameters. For more information, see the annual HHSC outcomes report - Update on the Use Of Psychotropic Medications for Children in Texas Foster Care.


  • Mental Health Problems in Foster Care Children is available from the national Centers for Education and Research (CERTs) providing guidance for foster parents and caretakers regarding children's psychiatric care. Learn more at: ChainOnline.
  • The Health Passport (an electronic record) is available for providers and those making medical decisions for the foster children. It can be accessed at
  • The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Drug Formulary also provides useful information regarding medications and is available at Psychiatric Drug Formulary | Texas Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Medication Guides
  • National Institute of Mental Health - Mental Health Medications