Ashaad Hipps


Too Much Medication: Addressing the Overmedication of Youth in Foster Care


The child welfare system in the United States has the responsibility of ensuring the safety for several thousand children. Many of these youth are traumatized from the maltreatment they experienced prior to their placement in foster care. Due to this trauma, foster children are more likely to develop and struggle with behavioral and mental health problems. Depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder are a few common diagnoses for children in foster care. In an attempt to address the elevated rate of mental health issues amongst the foster care population, psychotropic medication is often utilized in place of therapeutic services. Psychotropic medications are often prescribed to manage behavioral and mental health symptoms, but the elevated usage rates for children in foster care is a cause for concern. Youth in foster care are frequently prescribed and take two or more psychotropic medications, which is potentially harmful due to unknown long-term effects of these medications on children. This capstone project is composed of three products that address the issue of overmedication amongst the foster care population. The first product, or systematic literature review, explores the negative impacts of psychotropic medication on youth in foster. The second product utilizes systems theory as a theoretical framework to reconceptualize psychotropic medication oversight for children in foster care. Lastly, the third product is an exploration of how to apply the blanket guidelines to improve psychotropic medication oversight for youth involved with child welfare.


Ashaad Hipps is a Licensed Master Social Worker and Certified Youth Mental Health Specialist
in South Carolina. Ashaad received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of
South Carolina Aiken and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Central
Florida. He is currently a Doctor of Social Work candidate on the Administrative Leadership
concentration track at the University of Kentucky.

Ashaad is a psychotherapist and instructor in the Master of Social Work program at the
University of Kentucky. He serves as a board member for Seeds of Wisdom, a Health Equity
Advisory member for Scott Center for Observation and Treatment, first Vice President of the
Association of Black Social Workers UK chapter, and College of Social Work DSW

Ashaad’s research interest includes child welfare, improving access to mental health for
disadvantaged populations, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well
as the benefits of mentoring programs. His capstone is titled: Too much medication: Addressing
the overmedication of youth in foster care. This project focuses on impacts of medication on
children in foster care and ways to reduce high amounts of medication prescribed to these youth.

Ashaad has been featured in the South Carolina NASW newsletter for his article titled: A focus
on the child in child welfare. He has also been published in Social Work Today for his article
titled: Back to school anxiety post COVID-19.