3-year-old in CPS' care overprescribed psychotropic drugs - Good ole Texas
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Here's 4-year-old Rachel Harrison before Child Protective Services took her away from her parents.
Once CPS takes over, you can see the drastic changes for yourself.
"And as a parent it's very hard to deal with because your baby's in trouble and you can't do anything to help," said Rachel's mother Christina Harrison.
Watch as the bubbly little girl starts looking more like some neglected waif while under CPS's care.
"She was never abused or neglected in any way except by CPS," said Debbie Flores, Rachel's grandmother.
In numerous court hearings CPS caseworkers would admit they had no reason to think Rachel's parents ever neglected or abused her.
The only reason CPS took custody was the young parent's recreational drug use.
Something they admitted to and lived to regret.
But ironically Rachel would be the one hooked on drugs while under CPS's watch including Risperdal, a drug used to treat Schizophrenia and Bi-Polar disorder and according to the FDA, should not be given to a child under 10.
"3-years-old, given psychotropic drugs, there's no reason for it none at all," said David Harrison, Rachel's father.
It was 2007 when CPS first entered the family's life.
The state agency took Rachel into protective custody soon after her birth because her mom tested positive for marijuana.
This 2007 home video shows a horrific case of diaper rash Rachel had while in foster care. The baby's awful condition is pointed out to 2 CPS caseworkers but neither decides to seek immediate medical attention.
Even after a judge ordered the foster mom to get Rachel to a doctor A.S.A.P., CPS failed to make sure that happened. Later CPS admitted to making big mistakes.
Fast forward to July 2010.
"I went to the hospital to get my appendix out and tested positive for cocaine," Rachel's mother said.
That was enough for CPS to take Rachel again and spend over a year trying to terminate David and Christina's parental rights.
CPS wouldn't allow the family to see Rachel for two months. What they say they saw was a drooling, lethargic emaciated looking little girl who wanted to play a very strange game.
"She was also writing prescriptions, Rachel which is not normal," her mother said. "They might play doctor but she was writing prescriptions on paper, here take your medicine."
The family spent months asking CPS if Rachel was on drugs.
"We kept asking but they kept denying," Christina Harrison said.
"You could just tell there was a physical change between when she was with us and the time they had her at that point." David Harrison said.
CPS's own policy dictates parents must be told within 24 hours about their child needing or receiving medical treatment.
But these parents didn't know for 6 months until it finally came out in a court hearing.
"You're completely powerless," Rachel's mother said.
You're powerless against these people, they hold all the cards and do whatever they want," said Rachel's father.
After the judge started questioning CPS about the little girl's declining condition, CPS gave up trying to terminate the couple's parental right's and gave them their daughter back.
According to court testimony Dr. Owen Osagie is the psychiatrist who prescribed psychotropic drugs to a then 3-year-old.
"He testified he had seen Rachel for approximately 15 minutes," Flores said.
According to the Texas Medical Board, Dr. Osagie prescribed Clonidine to Rachel in excess of the dosing guidelines, while simultaneously increasing her dose of Risperdal, then failed to properly monitor the little girl.
"There's paperwork saying she was screaming for mommy and daddy," Rachel's mother said.
"And the easiest way to handle her acting up was to medicate her," said Rachel's father.
Osagie ignored our attempts to contact him for a response.
According to an agreed order with the medical board Osagie must complete at least 24 hours of continuing medical education and pay a 5 thousand dollar administrative fee.
"I know a lot of other families and a lot of other parents who are going through the same thing," said Rachel's grandmother.
Late last year the United States Government Accountability Office reported these disturbing findings:
"Texas is one of 5 states where children in foster care were prescribed psychotropic drugs 2.7 to 4.5 times more often than children who were not in foster care, with children in Texas foster care being the most likely to receive psychotropic drugs."
CPS wouldn't discuss the Rachael Harrison case with us. According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Osagie has treated 755 children in CPS foster care and continues to do so.