Abandonment: Desertion of a child by a parent or adult primary caregiver with no provisions for continued childca
Abuse and Neglect: Physical, sexual and/or emotional maltreatment. Child abuse and neglect is defined as any recent act
Access Veto Systems: Type of reunion registry system. The veto is a document filed by one party to the adoption which reg
Active Registries: Reunion registries which do not require that both parties register their consent. Once one party is
Adjudicatory Hearings: Held by the juvenile and family court to determine whether a child has been maltreated or whether an
Adoptee: Any person who has been adopted.
Adoption: Legal process where parental rights are transferred from birth parents to adoptive parents.
Adoption Agency: Organization placing children in homes, under the jurisdiction of state or licensing laws.
Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA): Signed into law November 1997 and designed to improve the safety of children, to promote adoption an
Adoption Assistance: Monthly or one-time only subsidy payments to help adoptive parents raise children with special needs
Adoption Assistance Programs (AAP): Federally funded state administered subsidy program for special needs children who might otherwise r
Adoption Attorney: Lawyers who arrange adoptive placements and specialize in adoption.
Adoption Benefits: Compensation to workers through employer-sponsored programs. Some examples of such benefits are fina
Adoption Consultant: Anyone who helps with the placement of a child, but specifically someone who makes it his or her pri
Adoption Disruption: The interruption of an adoption prior to finalization - sometimes called a 'failed adoption' or a 'f
Adoption Dissolution: The interruption or 'failure' of an adoption after finalization that requires court action.
Adoption Exchange: An organization which recruits adoptive families for children with special needs using print, radio,
Adoption Facilitator: Unlicensed organizations or individuals offering adoption services, which is illegal in 20 states.
Adoption Insurance (adoption cancellation insurance): Insurance which protects against financial loss which can be incurred after a birth mother changes h
Adoption Petition: The legal document through which prospective parents request the court's permission to adopt a speci
Adoption Placement: The point at which a child begins to live with prospective adoptive parents: the period before the a
Adoption Plan: A plan created between a birth mother and a social worker specifying all aspects and desires with re
Adoption Professional: Employee of a licensed adoption agency or a trained and educated adoption authority who has training
Adoption Reversal: Reclaiming of a child (originally voluntarily placed with adoptive parents) by birth parent(s) who h
Adoption Service Provider (ASP): A licensed agency or individual who is State certified to assist birth parents and adoptive parents
Adoption Subsidies: Federal or state adoption benefits (also known as adoption assistance) designed to help offset the s
Adoption Tax Credits: Non-refundable credit which reduces taxes owed by adoptive parents who claim adoption expense reimbu
Adoption Tax Exclusions: IRS provisions in the federal tax code which allow adoptive parents to exclude cash or other adoptio
Adoption Triad-Triangle: The three parties involved in an adoption: adoptee, adoptive parents and birth parents.
Adoptive Parent: Person(s) who legally assume parental rights/responsibilities for adopted child.
Adult Adoption: The adoption of a person over the age of majority (as defined in state law).
Agency Adoption: Adoption that is facilitated by a State Licensed Agency that provides counseling to birthparents, ho
Agency Placement: Completion of an adoption.
Alcohol-Related Birth Defects: Physical or cognitive deficits in a child which result from maternal alcohol consumption during preg
Anti-Social Behavior: Actions deviating sharply from the social norm. Children with such behaviors commonly skip school, g
Apostille: A simplified certification of public (including notarized) documents used in countries that particip
Artificial Insemination: Impregnation of a woman by one of many possible artificial reproductive technologies (ARTs).
Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART): Medical technologies that assist in the impregnation of a female. Technologies include oocyte (or eg
Attachment: The ability of a child to form significant and stable emotional connections with other people, begin
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD): A lifelong developmental disability (with onset in infancy, childhood or adolescence) that affects a
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A lifelong developmental disability (with onset in infancy, childhood or adolescence) that involves
Autistic Disorder: A pervasive developmental disturbance with onset before age three, characterized by markedly abnorma
Bi-Racial: Refers to a child that has heritage of two races, usually African-American and another race.
Biological Child: The child of parents by birth.
Bipolar Disorder: A category of mental illnesses in which mood and affect are disturbed - characterized by irregular c
Birth Certificate (amended): Legal document after the adoption is finalized, replacing the original birth certificate, as indicat
Birth Certificate (original): Legal document issued at time of birth with the child's biological history including the identity of
Birth Father: Biological father of a child that is adopted or planning to be adopted.
Birth Mother: Biological mother of a child that is adopted or planning to be adopted.
Birth Parent: A child's biological parent.
Black Market: Adoption performed outside the law, often referred to as the illegal buying and selling of children.
Boarder Babies: Infants abandoned in hospitals because of the parents' inability to care for them. These babies are
Bonding: The process of developing lasting emotional ties with one's immediate caregivers: seen as the first
Case Closure: The process of ending the relationship between the CPS worker and the family that often involves a m
Case Plan: The casework document that outlines the outcomes, goals and tasks necessary to be achieved in order
Case Planning: The stage of the CPS case process where the CPS caseworker develops a case plan with the family memb
Caseworker Competency: Demonstrated professional behaviors based on the knowledge, skills, personal qualities and values a
Central Auditory Processing Disorder: A condition in which an individual has difficulty comprehending and integrating information that is
Central Registry: A centralized database containing information on all substantiated/founded reports of child maltreat
Cerebral Palsy: A non-hereditary condition which results from brain damage before, during or after birth. Children w
Certification: The approval process (detailed in State laws or regulations) that takes place to ensure, insofar as
Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA): The law (P.L. 93-247) that provides a foundation for a national definition of child abuse and neglec
Child Protective Services (CPS): The designated social services agency (in most states) to receive reports, investigate and provide i
Closed Adoption: Adoption in which confidentiality of both adoptive parents and birth parents are protected under the
Co-Parenting: A long-term (formal or informal) agreement to support the needs of children with developmental disab
Concurrent Planning: A process used in foster care case management by which child welfare staff work toward family reunif
Conduct Disorder: A condition characterized by a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior which violates the basi
Confidential Intermediary: State employee or trained volunteer sanctioned by the courts, who is given access to sealed adoption
Confidentiality: The legally required process of keeping identifying or other significant information secret: the pri
Consent: Legal process through which a birth parent voluntarily agrees to make an adoption plan for their chi
Consent Form: The legal document signed by the biological mother and father allowing their child to be placed for
Consent to Adopt or Consent to Adoption: Legal permission for the adoption to proceed.
Cooperative Adoption: Adoption in which adopted child has access to both adoptive parents and birth parents who participat
Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA): Court-appointed special advocates (usually volunteers) who serve to ensure that the needs and intere
Cultural Competence: A set of attitudes, behaviors and policies that integrates knowledge about groups of people into pra
Custody: Authority by a person or guardian embodying all of the rights and responsibilities.
De Facto: A term meaning 'in actual fact,” 'in deed,' or 'actually,” regardless of legal or normative stan
De Facto Adoption: A legal agreement to adopt a child according to the laws of a particular state which will result in
Decree of Adoption: A legal order that finalizes an adoption.
Dependent Child: A child who is in the custody of the county or state child welfare system.
Designated-ldentified Adoptions: Process in which birthparents choose the individual or couple who will adopt their child and designa
Developmental Disability: Any handicapping condition related to delays in maturation of or difficulties with skills or intelle
Differential Response: An area of CPS reform that offers greater flexibility in responding to allegations of abuse and negl
Disclosure: The release or transmittal of previously hidden or unknown information.
Dispositional Hearings: Held by the juvenile and family court to determine the disposition of children after cases have been
Disruption: An adoption or potential adoption that fails before finalization.
Dissolution: The term dissolution is used to describe an adoption that fails after finalization, resulting in the
Dossier: The collection of paperwork used in an international adoption that has been properly authenticated a
Down Syndrome: A genetic disorder (caused by the presence of an extra chromosome), which results in physical and me
Dual Track: term reflecting new CPS response systems that typically combine a non-adversarial service-based asse
Emotional Disturbance: Severe, pervasive or chronic emotional/affective condition which prevents a child from performing ev
Employer Assistance: Adoption benefits provided to employees by employers which may include direct cash assistance for ad
Equitable Adoption: The legal process used in some states to establish inheritance rights of a child, when the prospecti
Evaluation of Family Progress: The stage of the CPS case process where the CPS caseworker measures changes in family behaviors and
Extended Family: A child's relatives (other than parents) such as aunts, uncles, grandparents and sometimes close fri
Family Assessment : The stage of the child protection process when the CPS caseworker, community treatment provider and
Family Group Conferencing: A family meeting model used by CPS agencies to optimize family strengths in the planning process. Th
Family Preservation: A program of supportive social services designed to keep families together by providing services to
Family Unity Model: A family meeting model used by CPS agencies to optimize family strengths in the planning process. Th
Fetal Alcohol Effect (FAE): A disorder associated with cognitive and behavioral difficulties in children whose birth mothers dra
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS): Birth defects and serious life-long mental and emotional impairments that may result from heavy mate
Fictive Kin: People not related by birth or marriage who have an emotionally significant relationship with an ind
Final Adoption Decree: Legal document issued by the court that completes the adoption.
Finalization: Court action that grants permanent legal custody of a child to the adoptive parents.
Foster Adoption Placement: Foster placement of a child, with adoption being the final goal, once all legal requirements have be
Foster Care: Substitute parental care for a short, extended or permanent period of time for a child whose biologi
Foster Child: Child who is placed with a state-licensed family or in a group care facility because their biologica
Foster Parent: State-licensed adult who is paid or volunteers to take care of children, but is not related by blood
Foster-Adoption: A child placement in which birth parents' rights have not yet been severed by the court or in which
Full Disclosure: CPS information to the family regarding the steps in the intervention process, the requirements of C
Genealogy: A family's genetic 'line,” family tree or a record of such ancestry.
Grief: A feeling of emotional deprivation or loss. Grief may be experienced by each member of the adoption
Group Home: A homelike setting in which a number of unrelated children live for varying time periods. Group home
Guardian: Person who fulfills some of the responsibilities of the legal parent role, although the courts or bi
Guardian ad Litem: A lawyer or lay person who represents a child in juvenile or family court. Usually this person consi
Home Study: A process whereby an individual or couple undergo a study by a licensed public or private agency to
Home Study: A study of the home of prospective adoptive parents, normally completed prior to placement of a chil
Home Visitation Programs: Prevention programs that offer a variety of family focused services to pregnant mothers and families
I-600 and I-600A Visa Petition: An official request to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to classify an orphan a
Identifying Information: Information on birthparents which discloses their identities.
Immunity: Established in all child abuse laws to protect reporters from civil lawsuits and criminal prosecutio
Independent Adoption: An adoption arranged privately by a non-licensed third party (i.e., doctor or lawyer) or between the
Independent Living: A type of placement that provides life-skills training to youth to assist them to acquire the skills
Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA): Federal Act designed to protect the interest of Native American children and tribes.
Individualized Educational Plan: IEP, a plan for educational support services and outcomes developed for students enrolled in special
Infertility: The inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term.
Initial Assessment or Investigation: The stage of the CPS case process where the CPS caseworker determines the validity of the child malt
INS: INS has changed its name to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, now a bureau under the U.
Institutionalization: The placement of children in hospitals, institutions or orphanages. Placement in institutions during
Intake: The stage of the CPS case process where the CPS caseworker screens and accepts reports of child malt
Intercountry or International Adoption: The adoption of a child who is a citizen of one country by adoptive parents who are citizens of a di
International Adoption: Adoption of a child born outside of the United States.
Interstate Compact: A voluntary agreement between two or more states designed to address common problems of the states c
Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (ICAMA): An agreement between member states that governs the interstate delivery of and payment for medical s
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC): An agreement regulating the placement of children across state lines. All 50 states, the District of
Interview Protocol: A structured format to ensure that all family members are seen in a planned strategy, that community
Juvenile and Family Courts: Established in most states to resolve conflict and to otherwise intervene in the lives of families i
Kinship Care: The full-time nurturing of a child by someone related to the child by family ties or by prior relati
Learning Disabilities (LD): One or more impairments in reading, mathematics or written expression skills which interfere with ac
Legal Custody: Restraint of or responsibility for a person according to law, such as a guardian's authority (confer
Legal Guardian: Any person who can make legal decisions for a minor child.
Legal Risk Adoption: An adoption proceeding that is started even though the prospective adoptive family cannot be guarant
Legal Risk Placement: Placement of a child in a prospective adoptive family when a child is not yet legally free for adopt
Legally Free: A child whose birth parents' rights have been legally terminated so that the child is 'free' to be a
Liaison: The designation of a person within an organization who has responsibility for facilitating communica
Life Book: A pictorial and written representation of the child's life designed to help the child make sense of
Long-Term Foster Care: The intentional and planned placement of a child in foster care for an extended period of time. Afte
Loss: A feeling of emotional deprivation that is experienced at some point in time. For a birth parent the
Mainstreamed: In education, a term that typically refers to the planned and sustained placement of a child with sp
Maltreatment: Physical abuse, child neglect, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. Federal CAPTA legislation (P.L. 104
Mandated Reporter: Individuals required by state statutes to report suspected child abuse and neglect to the proper aut
Matching: The process of finding prospective families specifically suited to meet the needs of a waiting child
Maternity Home: Residences for pregnant women. The number of homes has decreased over the past three decades, and ex
Mental Retardation: Impaired or incomplete mental development characterized by an IQ of 70 or below and characterized by
Minority Children: Children of partial or full non-Caucasian parentage, or mixed Caucasian and non-Caucasian heritage.
Multi-Ethnic Placement Act: A federal law enacted in 1994 and implemented through state policy. The Multi-Ethnic Placement Act o
Multi-Racial: Refers to a child that has heritage of two or more races.
Multidisciplinary Team: Established between agencies and professionals within the child protection system to discuss cases o
Neglect: The failure to provide for the child's basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational or emotiona
Non-Identifying Information: The medical and social history along with other information exchanged between birth parents and adop
Non-Recurring Adoption Costs: One time adoption expenses, which may be at least partially reimbursed by states up to a maximum amo
Non-Sectarian Agencies: Any agency that does not have any religious requirements for its clients.
Occupational Therapy: The science of using everyday activities with specific goals, to help people of all ages prevent, le
Open Adoption: An adoption process in which birth parents meet and know · the adoptive parent(s). Ongoing contact
Open Records: Accessibility to own adoption records by each member of the triad. This includes access to identifyi
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): A recurrent pattern of negative, defiant, disobedient and hostile behavior toward authority figures
Orphan: Child from another country that has no parents or only one parent that cannot care for them.
Orphan (international adoption definition): For immigration purposes, a child under the age of 16: • whose parents have died or disappeared �
Orphanage: Institution that houses children who are orphaned, abandoned or whose parents are unable to care for
Out-of-Home Care: Child care, foster care or residential care provided by persons, organizations and institutions to c
Parens Patriae Doctrine : Originating in feudal England, a doctrine that vests in the state a right of guardianship of minors.
Parent or caretaker: Person responsible for the care of the child.
Petition: Written request to the court for legal custody, guardianship or adoption of a child.
Physical Abuse: The inflicting of a non-accidental physical injury upon a child. This may include burning, hitting,
Post-Placement Visits: Investigation and interviews with an adoptive family once a child has been placed with them.
Primary Prevention: Activities geared to a sample of the general population to prevent child abuse and neglect from occu
Private Adoption Agencies: Non-governmental agencies licensed by the state to provide adoption services, primarily dealing with
Protective Factors: Strengths and resources that appear to mediate or serve as a 'buffer' against risk factors that cont
Protocol: An interagency agreement that delineates joint roles and responsibilities by establishing criteria a
Psychological Maltreatment: A pattern of caregiver behavior or extreme incidents that convey to children that they are worthless
Public Adoption Agencies: Governmental adoption agency or social services department providing adoption services, primarily de
Putative Father Registry: a.k.a. Birth Father Registry, state registry where alleged paternity can be listed and birth fathers
Re-Adoption: Process by where international adoptive parents adopt their children for a second time in front of a
Reactive Attachment Disorder: A condition with onset before age 5, resulting from an early lack of consistent care, characterized
Relinquishment: Legal process by which birth parents voluntarily terminate their parental rights in order to free th
Residential Care Facility: A structured 24-hour care facility with staff that provide psychological services to help severely t
Residential Treatment: Therapeutic intervention processes for individuals who cannot or do not function satisfactorily in t
Respite Care: Temporary or short-term home care of a child provided for pay or on a voluntary basis by adults othe
Response Time: A determination made by CPS and law enforcement regarding the immediacy of the response needed to a
Reunification: The returning of foster children to the custody of their parent(s) after placement outside the home.
Reunification Services: Interventions by social worker and other professionals to help children and their birth parents deve
Reunion: A meeting between birthparent(s) and an adopted adult or between an adopted adult and other birth re
Review Hearings: Held by the juvenile and family court to review dispositions (usually every six months) and to deter
Revoke: Take back consent to an adoption. Some states offer no time for revocation while other states place
Risk: The likelihood that a child will be maltreated in the future.
Risk Assessment: To assess and measure the likelihood that a child will be maltreated in the future, frequently throu
Risk Factors: Behaviors and conditions present in the child, parent or family that will likely contribute to child
Ritalin: A commonly prescribed drug that can help to control some of the symptoms of attention deficit disord
Safety: Absence of an imminent or immediate threat of moderate-to-serious harm to the child.
Safety Assessment: A part of the CPS case process in which available information is analyzed to identify whether a chil
Safety Plan: A casework document developed when it is determined that the child is in imminent or potential risk
Search: An attempt, usually by birthparent, adopted person or adoptive parent (but sometimes by volunteers o
Search and Consent Procedures: Procedures, sanctioned in state law, that authorize a public or private agency to assist a searching
Secondary Prevention: Activities targeted to prevent breakdowns and dysfunctions among families who have been identified a
Semi-Open (Closed) Adoption: Adoption where adoptive family and birth parents may talk, meet and have correspondence after the ad
Semi-Open Adoption: An adoption in which a child's birth parents and pre-adoptive parents may exchange primarily non-ide
Service Agreement: The casework document developed between the CPS caseworker and the family that outlines the tasks ne
Service Provision: The stage of the CPS casework process when CPS and other service providers provide specific services
Sexual Abuse: The employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement or coercion of any child to engage in, or as
Sexual Abuse Symptomology: Indicators and behaviors which suggest that a child may have been sexually abused, including: excess
Social Marketing: The use of marketing principles and techniques to influence a target audience to voluntarily accept,
Social Worker: Person who completes home studies, works with birth parents and adoptive families in adoption situat
Special Needs Children: Children whose emotional or physical disorders, age, race, membership in a sibling group, a history
Speech and Language Disorders: Impairments of speech or receptive language. Speech disorders usually involved difficulties with art
Stepparent Adoption: The adoption of a child by the new spouse of the birthparent.
Substantiated: An investigation disposition concluding that the allegation of maltreatment or risk of maltreatment
Substitute Care: Any kind of care sanctioned by the court of jurisdiction in which the child does not live with the b
Supplemental Security Income (SSI): A Federally funded needs-based disability program for adults and children which provides monthly cas
Surrender: Voluntary termination of parental rights. An action taken by birth parents to voluntarily 'make an a
Surrender Papers: Legal document attesting to the signator's voluntary relinquishment of parental rights to a child.
Surrogate Mother: A woman who carries another woman's child by pre-arrangement or by legal contract.
System: Often referred to as 'the public child welfare system.' Refers to the network of governmental organi
Systems of Care: A system of care is a process of partnering an array of service agencies and families, working toget
Termination of Parental Rights (TPR): The legal process which involuntarily severs a parent's rights to a child.
Tertiary Prevention: Treatment efforts geared to address situations where child maltreatment has already occurred with th
Therapeutic Foster Home: Also knon as Therapy Foster Home. A foster home in which the foster parents have received special tr
Tourettes Syndrome: A treatable neurological disorder that consists of involuntary 'tic' movements or vocalizations that
Traditional Adoption: Most often used to refer to a domestic infant adoption in which confidentiality is preserved. Equiva
Treatment: The stage of the child protection case process when specific services are provided by CPS and other
Treatment Foster Home: A foster home in which the foster parents are trained to offer treatment to children with moderate t
Universal Prevention: Activities and services directed at the general public with the goal of stopping the occurrence of m
Unsubstantiated: An investigation disposition that determines that there is not sufficient evidence under State law o
Voluntary Adoption Registry: A reunion registry system which allows adoptees, birthparents and biological siblings to locate each
Waiting Children : Children in the public child welfare system who cannot return to their birth homes and need permanen
Waiting Period: Typically refers to the time period which must lapse between birth and the time the consent to the a