State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst is a ‘Big Voice Little Texans’ according to Texas CASA.
The South Central Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates honored the Brenham Republican this week. This award is reserved for legislators who exhibit leadership in making a priority of children qwho in the care and custody of Child Protective Services.
Texas CASA Executive Director Vicky Spriggs said Kolkhorst was honored for her work on House Bill 915, which will help ensure that the foster care system is providing the appropriate care that children need to heal from abuse and neglect instead of overmedicating children to control their behavior.
Kolkhorst is the Chair of the House Committee on Public Health and worked closely with Texas CASA, One Voice, and the Texas Supreme Court’s Children’s Commission on the new law.
CASA advocates, youth formerly in foster care and judges had expressed concern that children in foster care were being overmedicated as a quick fix to control their behaviors instead of receiving the mental health treatment and care they need to heal.
The Bill, which went into effect on September first, allows CASA Volunteers to assess the best interest for foster care children in every area including physical and mental health. Andrea Sparks, a spokesperson for CASA says this bill is a vital protection for children under foster care.
The new law requires that people charged with making medical decisions on behalf of children in foester care are better informed about the risks and side effects of psychotropic medications. They also are required to be advised of alternative treatments that should be tried before or in conjunction with such medications. The law also strengthens judicial review of the use of psychotropic medications.