Foster Kids

Ashley House

The chance that a youth leaving foster care will have a negative outcome is significantly higher than youth leaving a stable home.

Alisa Griffiths, manager of Ashley House in Springfield, a transitional living facility for older girls in foster care, run by Presbyterian Children's Homes and Services, said about 75 percent of young women leaving foster care are pregnant within two years.  They have poor educational and employment outcomes that often continue many years later.

Two national child advocacy organizations have filed a federal lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Social Services, alleging that children in the state’s foster care system are over-prescribed psychotropic medications with little oversight.

“They’re prescribed off-label, to control behaviors,” said Bill Grimm, an attorney for the National Center for Youth Law, which filed the lawsuit on Monday. “While many other states have instituted some sort of oversight … Missouri has very little to none of those safeguards in place.”

The suit seeks class action status. State officials declined comment, citing pending litigation.