A report released by the Government Accountability Office indicates foster youth are prescribed psychotropic medication at a rate up to 4.5 times higher than non-foster youth.
Elisabeth Reed, who works as the volunteer coordinator for Child Advocates San Antonio (CASA), said it's a problem her volunteers encounter firsthand.
"It's a lot easier to give them a pill that will sort of take away these symptoms, rather than go to the root of the issue, which is the child's traumatic past which needs to be worked through in therapy," said Reed. "In fact, when these children are on 4 or 5 medications at the same time, that can create a problem bigger than the original problem that they were diagnosed with."
For CASA volunteers, the goal is to advocate for the welfare of the child, which in most cases means getting the child proper therapy and treatment, instead of medication.
Reed says it's a constant battle, but one that will become easier as awareness grows.
"I think that the biggest solution would be as a community, that we can sort of stand up and be a voice for these children in care."