All terms are defined in the context of Child Welfare and applicable Federal and State Law.
Definitions may vary in another context.
A parent's or custodian's act of leaving a child without adequate care, supervision, support, or parental contact for an excessive period of time; an expressed or implied intention to sever the parent-child relationship and avoid the obligations arising from the relationship.
To abolish by authoritative action; to do away with.
A biological or legal parent who does not live in the same household as the child.
The acknowledgment and verification that an organization fulfills explicit specified standards. For example, public and private child and family service agencies may apply for accreditation with several accrediting bodies—including the Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children—conduct a self-assessment, and undergo periodic accreditation reviews to ensure that they meet quality standards.
The process whereby immigrants adapt to and integrate with the host society’s culture by modifying their own.
The term used to describe the level of effort that any party seeking to effect a foster care placement of, or termination of parental rights to an Indian child under State law is required to make in order to satisfy the court that:
- proactive efforts have been made to provide remedial services and rehabilitation designed to prevent the breakup of the Indian family; and
- these efforts have proved unsuccessful.
Permission to spend specified amount approved by a legislative branch or governmental body in addition to a previously approved budget.
A finding of the court, which shows that allegations made in a petition are proved.
A person not married to a child’s mother when the child was born, whose relationship to the child has been established by court order or paternity affidavit.
Costs associated with the proper and efficient administration of the Title IV-E State Plan including the salary and the training of employees and current or potential foster or adoptive parents (Social Security Act 474).
Administration for Children and Families (ACF):
An agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that provides national leadership and creates opportunities for families to lead economically and socially productive lives. ACF's programs are designed to help children develop into healthy adults and to help communities become more prosperous and supportive of their members. ACF is responsible for Federal programs that promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities.
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ):
A Hearing Officer hired or appointed by a governmental agency to preside over and issue decisions in administrative appeals.
The legal process by which a child becomes the legal child of a person or persons other than biological parents.
Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS):
A federally regulated system for collecting reliable information regarding children under the care and supervision of the State and are receiving Title IV-B and/or Title IV-E federal funds for placement and care.
Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA):
Law enacted in 1997 that established national goals for children in the child welfare system related to safety, permanency, and well-being; brought about reform, designed to strengthen the child welfare system nationally.
Adoption Assistance Agreement:
A written agreement, binding on the parties to the agreement, between the State agency, other relevant agencies, and the prospective adoptive parents of a minor child which at a minimum:
- specifies the nature and amount of any payments, services, and assistance to be provided under such agreement; and
- stipulates that the agreement shall remain in effect regardless of the State of which the adoptive parents are residents at any given time.
Adoption Assistance Program (IV-E AAP):
A program by which the local office, through the use of Title IV-E funds, provides financial assistance to parents who adopt or plan to adopt an eligible child.
An adoption that is terminated prior to finalization, often after the child is placed in the adoptive home, necessitating in a new placement plan for the child.
A term used to describe an adoption that ends after it is legally finalized, resulting in the child's return to (or entry into) foster care or placement with new adoptive parents. This process requires court action.
An organization that provides adoption information to educate prospective adoptive parents and connect waiting families with waiting children. Often these organizations serve to promote the adoption of children with specials needs and use print, radio, television, and the Internet to recruit prospective adoptive families for specific children. An adoption exchange can be local, State, regional, national, or international in scope.
A person, not part of a licensed agency, who acts as an intermediary between birth parents and prospective adoptive parents in arranging independent adoptions, often for a fee. It may also refer to a person who facilitates post adoption contact/reunion in adoption searches. Some States explicitly prohibit the use of facilitators in arranging adoptions, and others have laws that regulate the use of facilitators in an effort to ensure that no person, either the intermediary or a member of the birth family, profits from the placement of the child.
The legal document through which prospective parents request the court's permission to adopt a specific child.
The point at which a child begins to live with prospective adoptive parents, prior to finalization of the adoption.
The birth parent's decision to allow his/her biological child to be adopted into an adoptive family.
Those court proceedings leading to the adoption of a child by a qualified pre-adoptive person(s). An individual who is at least 18 years of age may be adopted by a resident of Indiana:
- upon proper petition to the court having jurisdiction in probate matters in the county of residence of the individual or the petitioner for adoption; and
- with the consent of the individual acknowledged in open court.
Legal withdrawal of an agreement to adoption by the birth parents. Circumstances and time limits for revocation are established by States.
Any brother or sister of whole or half blood who is 21 years of age or over.
Affidavit of Diligent Inquiry (ADI):
A sworn statement that the individual made reasonable efforts to locate someone.
A document that the parties agreed to, which has been ordered by the court.
Alcohol-Related Birth Defects:
Physical or cognitive deficits in a child that result from maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy. This includes but is not limited to fetal alcohol syndrome.
A charge or complaint about an act or condition which needs to be proved at a hearing.
A person whose biological relationship to a child is claimed, but has not been established by court order or paternity affidavit and who was not married to the child’s mother on or before the date when the child was or is to be born.
Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA):
A planned, permanent arrangement that is the goal for a youth after reunification, adoption, legal guardianship, and relative placement have been ruled out. This plan usually involves the designation of a specific adult or couple who will exercise certain powers and responsibilities and likely live with the young person. Furthermore, the caregiver's familial relationship will continue beyond the youth's formal involvement in foster care.
A type of certification for documents in inter country adoptions. An apostille is necessary if the country participates in the Hague Convention. Documents are certified by State Department officials who have been designated as competent to issue certifications by apostille.
The initiator of an appeal of an action or decision of the court, person or agency with authority to review the decision.
Permission by a legislative branch or governmental body to spend a specific amount for a certain purpose or purposes.
An account used to keep track of appropriation used and amount of appropriation left.
Federal law which provides for special education programs and related services without charge by public schools in Indiana. Article 7 guarantees that children with disabilities between the ages of (3 to 21) will be provided a free and appropriate public education.
The process of gathering and analyzing information about the child, his/her family, and the circumstances that lead to DCS involvement.
Federal regulations specifically require that health care providers (e.g., hospitals) report to child protection service agencies “circumstances which they determine to constitute known or suspected instances of unlawful medical neglect of handicapped infants”. This is a federal statutory definition and does not apply to or mean an infant abandoned by his/her parent.
A background investigation of prospective foster and adoptive parents and all adults residing in prospective foster and adoptive households. The background investigation includes a check of Federal and State criminal records and child abuse and neglect registries. A background check will consist of any or all of the following sources of child protection, juvenile or criminal history:
- National Criminal History;
- Indiana State Limited Criminal History;
- Sex and Violent Offender Registry;
- Child Protection Services History;
- Indiana State Juvenile History;
- Juvenile Court Records;
- Local Police Records.
Best Interest (BI):
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt:
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A child who is at serious risk of removal from home as evidenced by the state agency either pursuing his/her removal from the home or making reasonable efforts to prevent such removal (Social Security Act Section 471(a)(15)(B)(i)).
One who provides for the physical, emotional, and social needs of a dependent person who cannot provide for his or her own needs. The term most often applies to parents or parent surrogates, daycare and nursery workers, health-care specialists, and relatives caring for children or elderly or ill family members.
Services that include the assessment and identification of client needs, the identification of available resources to meet client needs, the development of an individualized service plan; the coordination, monitoring and evaluation of services for each client, and advocacy for a client to assure that services and resources are accessible and provided.
- Legal Guardianship;
- Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA); or
- Fit and Willing Relative.
Written information and documentation of facts to be preserved as evidence either for service delivery, accountability for court proceedings, or both.
Chafee Independent Living Program:
Child Abuse or Neglect (CA/N):
Child Advocacy Center:
Child and Family Services Review (CFSR): |
- permanency; and
- child and family well-being.
Child and Family Team Meeting (CFTM):
- learning what the family hopes to accomplish;
- setting reasonable and meaningful goals;
- recognizing and affirming the family strengths;
- assessing family needs;
- finding solutions to meet family needs;
- designing individualized supports and services that match the family’s needs and build on their strengths;
- achieving clarity about who is responsible for agreed upon tasks; and
- agreeing on the next steps.
Child at Imminent Risk of Placement:
A child less than 18 years of age who, in the near future, reasonably may be expected to face out-of-home placement as a result of at least one of the following:
- dependency, abuse, or neglect;
- emotional disturbance;
- family conflict so extensive that reasonable control of the child is not exercised;
- delinquency adjudication.
- receiving and caring for dependent children, children in need of services; or
- operating for gain a private business of boarding children who are unattended by a parent/guardian/custodian.
Child Fatality Review Panels:
Multidisciplinary teams whose specific task is to identify missed prevention opportunities in child fatalities. The goal of a child fatality review panel is to learn, through confidential case review, what could have or should have been done to prevent the deaths.
Child in Need of Services (CHINS):
- placing or finding homes for children;
- placing or assisting in placing children in homes of persons other than relatives; or
- causing or assisting in causing the placement of children for adoption or in another planned permanent living arrangement.
Child Protection Index (CPI):
Child Protection Team (CPT):
Child Support Payments:
(42 USCS § 651).
Child Welfare Services:
- protecting and promoting the welfare of all children;
- preventing the neglect, abuse, or exploitation of children;
- preventing the neglect, abuse, or exploitation of children;
- supporting at-risk families through services which allow children, where appropriate, to remain safely with their families or return to their families in a timely manner;
- promoting the safety, permanence, and well-being of children in foster care and adoptive families; and
- providing training, professional development and support to ensure a well-qualified child welfare workforce.
Clear and Convincing:
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR):
Co-Facilitator [of Child and Family Team Meeting]:
- achieves early permanency for children within or outside the birth family;
- decreases a child’s length of stay in foster care;
- develops a pool of resource families that can be of assistance to both child and family; and
- maintains family relationships.
Contrary to the Welfare (CTW):
Correctional Facilities for Juveniles:
County General Fund:
County Welfare Budget:
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA):
- has completed a training program approved by the court;
- has been appointed by a court to represent and protect the best interests of a child; and
- may research, examine, advocate, facilitate, and monitor a child's situation.
Children and Family Services Review (CFSR):
The ability of individuals and systems to respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and faiths or religions in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families, Tribes, and communities, and protects and preserves the dignity of each. Cultural competence is a continuous process of learning about the cultural strengths of others and integrating their unique abilities and perspectives into our lives.
- a license applicant or licensee of:
- a foster home or residential child care facility that is required to be licensed or is licensed,
- a child care center that is required to be licensed or is licensed,
- a child care home that is required to be licensed or is licensed, or
- a person who is responsible for care, supervision, or welfare of children while providing services as an owner, director, manager, supervisor, employee, or volunteer at:
- a home, center, or facility described in the first bullet point above,
- a child care ministry that is exempt from licensing requirements and is registered or required to be registered,
- a home, center, or facility that serves migrant children,
- a school, or
- a child caregiver; or
- an individual who has direct contact, on a regular and continuing basis, with a child for whom care and supervision is provided at a house, center, or facility described above.
Custody Study: An investigation into the personal lives of parties seeking custody of children that determines the parties’ overall ability to properly care for the child in an environment that will serve the child’s best interests. Most of these investigations that are conducted by DCS are specifically ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction. The court names the parties to be investigated and the person, or agency, or both, to complete the investigation.
Decree of Adoption:
The document signed by a judge to finalize an adoption. It formally creates the parent-child relationship between the adoptive parents and the adopted child, as though the child were born as the biological child of its new parents. It places full responsibility for the child on the new parents.
Placement of a child who is or appears to be a child in need of services in a shelter care facility.
A court hearing required within 48 hours after Detention.
Efforts made to locate or identify the biological parents of a child, initiated as soon as the division is made aware of the existence of the parent, with progress reports at each court hearing until the parent is identified and located or the court excuses further search.
Training that develops self-control, character, orderliness, and efficiency.
The Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) prohibits the use of the following types of punishment by resource families:
- corporal punishment;
- physical exercise (e.g., push-ups, running, etc.);
- requiring or using force to make the child take an uncomfortable position;
- verbal remarks that ridicule the child and/or his/her family;
- denial of an emotional response;
- denial of essential services (e.g., health care, food, clothing, bedding, sleep, mail or family visitation, etc.);
- threats of removal or denying reunification;
- placement in a locked room; and
- holding with physical, mechanical or chemical restraints.
Note: DCS allows the following techniques for discipline by substitute caregivers:
- verbal and written contracts (i.e., the use of lesser forms of discipline including contracts and behavior management, before corrective action is used) to agree upon desirable behaviors;
- behavior management through incentives and rewards; and
- the substitute caregiver with input from the DCS Family Case Manager (FCM), Child and Family Team (CFT), and other professionals (e.g., child’s psychologist) as needed will develop a behavior management program for the child.
- corrective action for undesirable behaviors.
- corrective action does not include physical discipline.
 Corporal punishment: Physical hitting or any type of physical punishment inflicted in any manner upon the child’s body. See policy - Chapter 8, section 18: Discipline in Resource Homes for further details.
A decision by a judge regarding:
- a child’s care, treatment, or rehabilitation;
- participation by the parent/guardian/custodian in the plan of care for the child;
- efforts made, if the child is a child in need of services, to prevent the child’s removal from the parent/guardian/custodian; or
- efforts made, if the child has already been removed, to reunite the child with the parent/ guardian/custodian in accordance with federal law; and
- family services that were offered and provided to a child in need of services or the child’s parent/guardian/custodian in accordance with federal law.
Hearings held by the juvenile or family court to determine the legal resolution of cases after adjudication. Dispositional hearings may determine where the children will live for the time being, who will have legal custody of them, and what services the children and family will need to reduce the risk and to address the effects of maltreatment.
A pattern of assault and/or coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks as well as economic coercion, that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partners in which the perpetrator and victim are currently or previously have been dating, cohabiting, married, or divorced.
Dually Licensed Home:
A home that is licensed to provide both foster care and licensed childcare.
The principle that every person has the protection of a day in court, representation by an attorney, and the benefit of procedures that are speedy, fair, and impartial.
Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Program (EPSDT):
A Medicaid program that requires all States to evaluate, treat, and ameliorate any physical or mental conditions found in eligible children under age 21. State programs are required to inform all eligible persons and their families of the benefits available and help them obtain appropriate treatment.
A graphic representation of a family in relation to their environment.
A conference called by a local school corporation to determine if the school district has exhausted all local options for providing the special education and related services required by a special needs child.
Emotionally Abused Child:
The person responsible for building the team, directing the process, and resolving differences.
The nuclear unit of parent(s) and child(ren) regardless of their physical location or legal status.
The family’s capacity, availability, and willingness to meet the child’s basic care and developmental needs reliably on a daily basis.
Family Network Diagram (FND):
A pictorial representation of a family’s connections to their extended family, persons, and/or systems in their environment. The FND is a combination of two different tools, the Genogram and the Ecomap.
Family Preservation Services:
Services provided to prevent a child from being removed from his/her parent/guardian/custodian and/or to reunite the child with his/her parent/guardian/custodian when removal has occurred.
Family Support/Community Services Plan:
A written agreement between DCS and the parent/guardian/custodian specifying what extended family supports or community services will be utilized and how those will ensure the immediate safety of the child. The plan should contain steps, which should have completion deadlines that do not extend beyond the end of the assessment. All actions should relate directly to the child’s immediate safety.
Offense defined in criminal law for which a convicted person could be imprisoned for more than one year. (IC 35-50-1-2)
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS):
Refers to a set of physical and mental birth defects found in babies whose mothers drank alcohol regularly and heavily during pregnancy.
Fit and Willing Relative:
Permanent placement of a child, as a plan of permanency, with a relative who is able and willing to care for the child.
Five-Year Child and Family Services Plan:
A plan for delivery of Child Welfare Services (CWS) that can be funded through Title IV-B of the Social Security Act. The plan is the vehicle through which federal money is allocated to the Department of Child Services under this title. The plan is signed by the Department of Child Services Administrator, sent to the Governor who also must sign, and then submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The federal agency officially notifies the state of the plan approval. The plan will cite statutes, rules, or policies in order to show what Child Welfare Services will be provided in that five (5) year period. Annual program and fiscal updates are required.
The temporary care of a child by individuals who have no legal or custodial rights to the child. Foster care is generally supervised by the State or a licensed child placing agency (LCPA) that has legal custody of the child. Should the placement become more long-term because it is in the best interest of the child, it is deemed to be a planned, or permanent living arrangement.
Foster Care Adoption:
The adoption of a child from the foster care system after a determination has been made that the child cannot safely reunite with his/her birth family and the parental rights of the birth parents have been terminated.
Child who has been placed in the State's or county's legal custody because the child's custodial parents/guardians are unable to provide a safe family home due to abuse, neglect, or an inability to care for the child.
State- or county-licensed adults who provide a temporary home and everyday nurturing and support for children who have been removed from their homes.
Foster Family Home:
A place where an individual resides and provides licensed care and supervision on a 24 hour basis to a child.
A graphic representation of a family tree that displays the interaction of individuals within a family. The Genogram should go back at least three generations. It goes beyond a traditional family tree by allowing the user to analyze family, emotional and social relationships within a family group. It is used to identify repetitive patterns of behavior and to recognize hereditary tendencies.
Emotional reaction to a significant loss. For children and families in the child welfare system, it can be the acutely sad and painful emotions experienced when they are separated from each other.
A type of child-caring institution licensed to care for ten or fewer children age six (6) or older who are apart from their parents or guardian 24 hours a day. Children who are appropriate candidates for placement in a group home have demonstrated the ability to follow directions and take appropriate action for self-preservation. (IC 31-27-5)
A person appointed by a court to have the care and custody of a child, or the child’s estate, or both.
Guardian Ad Litem (GAL):
A lawyer or layperson who represents a child in juvenile or family court. Usually this person considers the best interest of the child and may perform a variety of roles, including those of independent investigator, advocate, advisor, and guardian for the child.
The transfer of parental responsibility and legal authority for a minor child to an adult caregiver who intends to provide permanent care for the child. This can be done without terminating the parental rights of the child's parents. Transferring legal responsibility removes the child from the child welfare system, allows the caregiver to make important decisions on the child's behalf, and establishes a long-term caregiver for the child. In subsidized guardianship, the guardian is provided with a monthly subsidy for the care and support of the child.
A multinational agreement (The Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter country Adoption) that sets out internationally agreed-upon rules and procedures for adoptions between countries that have a treaty relationship under the Convention. It provides a framework for member countries to work together to ensure that adoptions take place in the best interests of a child and to prevent the abduction, sale of, or traffic in children. The Convention also establishes a central authority in each country to ensure that one authoritative source of information and point of contact exists for prospective adoptive parents to receive reliable and accurate information.
Hard to Place Child:
A child with unique needs, because of:
- ethnic background;
- physical or mental disability;
- age; or
- because the child is a member of a sibling group that should be placed in the same home.
Health Care Provider:
Means any of the following:
- a licensed physician, intern, or resident;
- an osteopath;
- a chiropractor;
- a dentist;
- a podiatrist;
- a registered nurse or other licensed nurse;
- a mental health professional;
- a paramedic or emergency medical technician;
- a social worker;
- a x-ray technician or laboratory technician employed by a hospital;
- a pharmacist; or
- any person working under the direction of any of the practitioners listed above.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA):
Federal legislation primarily concerning transactions that generally involve submitting health claims for payment and transmitting insurance information. The legislation applies to “covered entities” which include health plans, health care clearing houses, or health care providers who transmit any health information in electronic form in connection with a transaction within the scope of HIPPA. The principal purpose of local DCS offices is not to provide for the provision or payment of health care related services. Therefore, local offices are not considered covered entities subject to HIPPA regulations. However, local offices continue to have the same duties and obligations to safeguard identifying information concerning clients in these programs.
A person who identifies his/her ethnicity or ancestry as having roots in Spain. The term is also used by some individuals to identify the common bond of those who speak Spanish.
Services provided primarily to families in their homes. In child welfare, this may include home visiting, parent aides, respite care, and homemaker services.
Process of mutually assessing and preparing prospective foster, adoptive, or kinship families to determine their suitability to foster or adopt and determine the type of child whose needs would best be met by them. A home study may include a range of evaluative activities, visits to the family's residence, and educational activities.
Immediate threat of injury or harm to a child when no interventions have occurred to protect the child.
Legal protection from civil or criminal liability provided to a person making a report of child abuse or neglect. (IC 31-33-6)
Suggested, indicated, or understood although not clearly or openly expressed.
Independent Living (IL):
Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA):
Indiana Child Welfare Information System (ICWIS):
Indiana Code (IC):
Indiana Drug Endangered Child Response Protocol:
Individual Education Plan (IEP):
Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):
Informal Adjustment (IA):
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC):
Investigation [assessment] Decision:
Jurisdiction [of a court]:
The specific type of case a court is designated to hear. For example, criminal courts hear criminal cases, and civil courts often hear adoption cases. Geographical factors also have implications for a court's jurisdiction.
Juvenile and Family Court:
Court that specializes in areas such as child maltreatment, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, divorce, child custody, and child support. These courts were established in most States to resolve conflict and to intervene in the lives of families in a manner that promotes the best interest of children.
Antisocial or criminal behavior by children or adolescents.
Refers to a person who is from or whose ancestry originates in Spanish-speaking countries in which the integration of Spanish, indigenous, and African peoples has occurred.
Law Enforcement Agency (LEA):
Law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction where child abuse or neglect occurred. LEA may investigate a report in coordination with DCS.
Learning Disability (LD):
A lifelong neurological disorder resulting in a child having difficulty reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, and/or recalling or organizing information. Children with learning disabilities have normal or above normal intelligences.
Another term for a lawyer or attorney. A legal counsel advises clients about their legal rights and obligations and represents clients in legal proceedings.
A finding by the court related to children who have been removed from their homes. The school district having legal settlement of a student means the student's status with respect to the school corporation that has the responsibility to allow the student to attend its local public schools without the payment of tuition, or to pay transfer tuition under (IC 20-26-11) if the student attends school in a local public school of another school corporation.
The legal status of a child whose birth parents' rights have been legally terminated so that the child is free to be adopted by another family.
Drugs which are inappropriately prescribed or are stolen from the manufacturing facility and illegally distributed.
A license, including a license for foster homes, therapeutic foster homes, and special needs foster homes may be issued to any foster family home applicant or licensee by Central Office through the Residential Licensing Unit Manager upon completion of the application process and submission of the recommendation and approval from the local DCS director or the director’s designee. A licensed child placing agency (LCPA) should submit the recommendation to Central Office for approval by the Residential Licensing Unit Manager.
Licensed Child Placing Agency (LCPA):
A licensed child placing agency (LCPA) is a private agency that is licensed by the State of Indiana through the DCS Central Office Residential Licensing Unit. LCPAs provide training and recommend individuals for special needs and therapeutic foster home licenses. LCPAs also conduct adoption home studies and make recommendations regarding the readiness of the child(ren) and adoptive family in the preparation for adoption. DCS Central Office licenses child placing agencies, but DCS Central Office does not manage or operate the LCPAs.
A type of book designed for developing a record of the life of a child who is in out-of-home care. The book can contain photographs, narration, art work the child has done, etc. There are many such specialty products available for recording the life of a child.
Local Coordinating Committee:
A Local Coordinating Committee may be established in each county. In addition, is comprised of professionals from many disciplines whose purpose as a member of the committee is to review proposed placements that are more restrictive than the ones the children are currently in. The committee meets only when a referring agency, which may be a court, refers such a case to it. (IC 31-38-1)
The act or an instance of losing something or the condition of being deprived of what one once had or ought to have. Children and families involved with the child welfare system typically have suffered many losses.
Individuals required by State statutes to report suspected child abuse and neglect to the proper authorities (usually child protective services or law enforcement agencies). Mandated reporters typically include educators and other school personnel, health-care and mental health professionals, social workers, child care providers, and law enforcement officers or others who have frequent contact with children and families. Some States identify all citizens as mandated reporters.
The practice of involving trained, neutral, third-party mediators in child welfare cases as a means of resolving disputes and expediting permanency for children in foster care. This process may involve birth parents, kin, and foster or adoptive parents in planning by engaging them in an inclusive, confidential, and nonjudgmental process in which their wishes are considered and respected.
A child who has a medical condition that is:
- documented by a physician and may become unstable or change abruptly resulting in a life-threatening situation;
- chronic and progressive illness or medical condition; or
- requires special service or ongoing medical support.
Failure to seek medical or dental treatment or to comply with medical advice for a health problem or condition that, if left untreated, could become severe enough to represent a danger to the child.
A booklet provided to the child’s substitute caregiver to assist in tracking the child’s medical history. Periodically, the information contained in the Medical Passport is to be entered into ICWIS, after which the Medical Passport booklet is to be returned to the child’s substitute caregiver. When the child leaves out-of-home care, the Medical Passport and other medical documents are to be given to the child without cost.
A home in which the caregivers are dealing/using methamphetamine, where children under the age of 18 are found to be living in the home.
A home in which the caregivers are manufacturing methamphetamine in/around the home, where children under the age of 18 are found to be living in the home.
A group of substances, most of them synthetic, that have a stimulating effect on the central nervous system and are highly psychologically addictive. Methamphetamine can be injected, snorted, smoked, or ingested orally. The popular term "crystal meth" usually refers to the smokable form of methamphetamine. Other amphetamine-type stimulants include anoretics (appetite suppressants) and non hallucinogenic drugs such as "ecstasy".
Multi-Ethnic Placement Act and Inter-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA/IEPA):
Federal requirements established to prohibit discrimination, whether directed at children in need of appropriate, safe homes, at prospective parents, or at previously "underutilized” communities who could be resources for placing children. The three basic mandates include:
- prohibiting the delay or denial of a child’s foster care or adoptive placement on the basis of the child’s or the prospective parent’s race, color, or national origin;
- prohibiting the denial to an individual of the opportunity to become a foster or adoptive parent on the basis of the prospective parent’s or the child’s race, color, or national origin; and
- requiring diligent recruitment of foster and adoptive parents who reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the children in the state who need foster and adoptive homes.
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy:
A syndrome in which a parent or caregiver deliberately makes a child sick or convinces others that the child is sick by misleading (i.e., lying, exaggerating, or reporting fictitious episodes) others into thinking that the child has a medical problem.
National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS):
A voluntary national data collection and analysis system created in response to the requirements of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
Discipline that occurs as a result of circumstances brought about by a child’s actions rather than any intervention by a substitute caregiver.
A "near fatality" is defined by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) as “an act that, as certified by a physician, places the child in serious or critical condition”.
Note: DCS defines near fatality as a situation in which a child has been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) or a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and has been placed on a ventilator due to injuries sustained from alleged abuse/neglect.
The inability or refusal by those responsible for the care, custody, and control of a child to provide necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, or supervision necessary for the child’s well-being.
A parent who does not have legal or primary physical custody of the child.
A voluntary or involuntary removal of a child under circumstances that do not require immediate protection of the health and safety of the child. In such circumstances, appropriate planning can be done.
Behaviors and activities that further the growth and development of another person, family, group, or community.
An occurrence, in the context of child protection service, in which the parent/guardian/custodian allowed that person’s child to receive any injury that the parent/guardian/custodian had a reasonable opportunity to prevent or mitigate. (IC 31-34-1-2)
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A legal term referring to the State's power to act for or on behalf of children who cannot act on their own behalf, in their best interest.
Per Diem Rate:
Periodic Case Review:
- Legal Guardianship;
- Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA); or
- Fit and Willing Relative.
A written request or plea in which a specific court action is requested.
- a statement of the needs of the child for care, treatment, rehabilitation, or placement; and
- recommendation for the care, treatment, rehabilitation, or placement of the child.
Prenatal Substance Exposure:
Preponderance of the Evidence:
Private Adoption Agency:
Program Improvement Plan (PIP):
Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt:
- it appears that the child's physical or mental condition will be seriously impaired or seriously endangered if the child is not immediately taken into custody;
- there is not a reasonable opportunity to obtain an order of the court; and
- consideration for the safety of the child precludes the immediate use of family services to prevent removal of the child.
A pattern of caregiver behavior or extreme incidents that convey to children that they are worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered, or only of value in meeting another's needs. This maltreatment may be perpetrated by parents or caretakers using extreme or bizarre forms of punishment or threatening or terrorizing a child. The term "psychological maltreatment" is also known as emotional abuse or neglect, verbal abuse, or mental abuse.
Putative Father Registry:
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The processes and measures an organization uses to determine that its products or services measure up to the standards established for them. In child welfare agencies, quality assurance programs may contain one or more of the following components:
- a client information/data system;
- a peer review system; and
- a case record review system.
Note: All State child welfare agencies are required to develop and implement standards to ensure that children in foster care are provided quality services that protect the safety and health of the children. They are also required to operate an identifiable quality assurance system that evaluates the quality of services, identifies strengths and needs of the service delivery system, provides relevant reports, and evaluates implemented program improvement measures.
The differences in the percentage of children of a certain racial or ethnic group in the country as compared to the percentage of the children of the same group in the child welfare system. For example, in 2000, Black children made up 15.1 percent of the children in this country but 36.6 percent of the children in the child welfare system.
The exercise of ordinary diligence and care by DCS to utilize all family preservation services available to:
- enable the child to live at home safely;
- effect the safe reunification of the child and family when it has been necessary to remove a child from the home to ensure immediate safety; or
- make and finalize alternate permanency plans in a timely manner when reunification is not appropriate or possible.
- within 45 days of the removal of the child from the home, if the child is to be eligible for IV-E FC for the duration of the stay in foster care; or
- within 12 months of the date, the child entered foster care and every 12 months thereafter while the child remains in foster care.
A presumption based upon certain known facts that support a belief; however, the presumption may be rebutted, or overcome, through the introduction of contrary evidence.
A party state of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) with which another (sending) party state can arrange for the receipt of any child into the state for placement with state or local public authorities or with private agencies or persons.
A process where a document is reviewed thoroughly to remove text prior to release.
Regional Services Council:
All 18 regions in the state have a regional services council. The purpose of these councils is to:
- assess the services available in communities;
- identify needed services for families and children; and
- ensure that the needed services are available in communities.
Services provided to the child and/or family to address issues identified as leading to involvement with DCS. These services include but are not limited to parenting classes, drug and alcohol treatment, psychological assessment, etc.
Court-ordered payments made to DCS by the parent or guardian that are applied to expenses incurred by the Family & Children Fund for the care of a child in out-of-home care. These payments may be applied to expenses incurred over the entire placement period or any portion of it.
A placement, licensed or unlicensed, in which a qualified adult (e.g., a grandparent, aunt, uncle, adult sibling) provides care for a related child. By law, a court must consider placement in the home of any willing relative of a child in need of out-of-home care before considering placement elsewhere.
Relinquishment of Parental Rights:
A voluntary termination of parental rights (TPR).
Requested Custody Study:
An investigation not ordered by a court, but rather requested by either an out-of-state court or agency or by an attorney representing a person seeking custody whose purpose is to substantiate, prior to court action, a person’s ability to properly care for the child whose custody is being sought.
Includes foster/adoptive parents, foster parents, and relative or kinship caregivers.
A term applied to foster homes, pre-adoptive homes, and relative homes that serve or can serve as resources for children in need of out-of-home placement or adoption.
Includes a foster/adoptive parent, foster parent, and relative or kinship caregiver.
Child care offered for designated periods of time to allow a caregiver to tend to other family members; alleviate a work, job, health, or housing crisis; or take a break from the stress of caring for a seriously ill child. Respite for foster and adoptive parents is a preventive measure that enhances quality of care for the child, gives the caregiver a deserved and necessary break, and ensures healthy and stable placements for children.
The state, quality, or fact of being responsible; a thing or person that one is answerable for; a duty, obligation or burden.
Right to be Heard:
Resource parents of a child in foster care who are required to be notified, also have been given the right to be heard in all court proceedings pertaining to a child in their care.
In child welfare, the likelihood that a child will be maltreated in the future.
A measure of the likelihood that a child will be maltreated in the future, frequently through the use of checklists, matrices, scales, and other methods of measurement.
Behaviors and conditions present in the child, parent, or family that will likely contribute to child maltreatment occurring in the future. Major risk factors include substance abuse, domestic/family violence, and mental health problems.
A function or position. With respect to child welfare, many entities (parent/guardian/custodian, DCS, service providers, etc.) play a specific role in the life of the child.
Absence of an imminent or immediate threat of moderate-to-serious harm to the child.
Secure Private Facility:
Shaken Baby Syndrome:
Shelter Care Facility:
Social Security Act:
Social Security RSDI and Other Benefits:
Social Service Block Grant (SSBG):
Solution Focused Questions:
Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP):
Special needs children include:
- a child two (2) years of age or older;
- a child who is a member of a sibling group of two (2) or more children and who must be placed together with the sibling group in the same home;
- a child with a medical condition or physical challenge, as determined by a physician licensed to practice medicine in Indiana or another state or territory; or
- a child with a mental, emotional, or developmental challenge as determined by a physician licensed to practice medicine in Indiana or another state or territory.
Special Needs Children:
Children in out-of-home care who meet certain criteria related to greater challenges in securing adoptive families for them. This most frequently refers to children who are school-aged, part of a sibling group, or children of color or those with special physical, emotional, or developmental needs. There is no Federal definition of special needs and guidelines for classifying a child as special needs vary by State. The preferred term is "children with special needs".
Special Needs Foster Family Home:
A licensed home in which a qualified adult provides care for a child who has a mental, physical, or emotional disability.
For purposes of determining a child’s eligibility for the expenditure of Title IV-E funds, a specified relative is any of the following or the spouse of any of the following, (even if the marriage is terminated by death or divorce) who is within the fifth degree of kinship to the child and whose relationship is by blood, half-blood or legal adoption.
- mother (stepmother);
- father (stepfather);
- grandmother or grandfather (great, great-great, great-great-great);
- sister or brother (step, in-law, half);
- aunt or uncle (great, great-great, in-law);
- first cousin (once removed).
Note:To qualify for the expenditure of Title IV-E funds, the child must have been removed from the home of a specified relative or have lived with a specified relative within six (6) months prior to the removal. The definition of a specified relative does not include a non-related custodian or legal guardian.
State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP):
Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS):
- running away;
- habitual disobedience;
- curfew violations; and
- underage drinking.
A perspective that emphasizes an individual or family's capabilities, support system, and motivation to meet challenges.
- failure to fulfill role obligations;
- placing oneself or others in danger (e.g., driving under the influence);
- legal consequences; or
- interpersonal/social problems.
An investigation disposition concluding that the allegation of child maltreatment or risk of maltreatment was supported or founded by State law or State policy. A child protective services determination means that credible evidence exists that child abuse or neglect has occurred.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
Surrogate Parent Program:
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A social work practice methodology designed to:
- protect children from abuse and neglect;
- support families in identifying and using their inherent strengths and the resources in their community to resolve the conditions that led to abuse and neglect;
- effect permanent change that enhances the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families;
- maintain and develop essential connections with family when children are unable to remain in their homes; and
- ensure that all children have the opportunity to achieve swift permanency through family preservation, family reunification, adoption or independent living.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF):
A program that provides assistance and work opportunities to needy families by granting States the Federal funds, and wide flexibility to develop and implement their own welfare programs. The focus of the program is to help move recipients into work and to turn welfare into a program of temporary assistance.
Termination of Parental Rights (TPR):
A judicial proceeding in which a court terminates the rights of a parent or guardian to a child either voluntarily by having the parent or guardian sign a relinquishment or a consent for adoption or involuntarily via a court finding that the parent or guardian has abandoned the child, is unfit to care for the child, etc.
Verified evidence given by a competent witness under oath or affirmation as distinguished from evidence derived from writing other sources.
Therapeutic Foster Family Home:
Care provided by foster parents who have received special training to care for a wide variety of children and adolescents, usually those with significant emotional or behavioral problems. Therapeutic foster parents typically receive additional supports and services.
A program under the Federal Social Security Act that provides grants to states for the purpose of enabling the federal government, through the US Department of Health and Human Services to cooperate with and assist state agencies in establishing, extending, and strengthening child welfare services (Part I); and family preservation, support, and reunification services (Part II).
A program under the Federal Social Security Act that provides funding for foster care and payments maintenance and adoption assistance payments for children who meet the program eligibility requirements and funding to assist with costs of administrative and training related to the program.
See Social Services Block Grant (SSBG).
An internal or external injury or wound brought about by an outside force.
Payments to be made by the school corporation having legal settlement when a child is placed out of the school corporation.
United States Code (USC):
Use of appropriate barrier precautions (e.g., gloves) by workers whose occupation involves exposure to blood. The purpose of using universal precautions is to prevent contact with blood or other bodily fluids capable of transmitting HIV infection.
An investigation disposition that determines that there is not sufficient evidence under State law or policy to conclude that a child has been maltreated or is at risk of maltreatment. A child protective services determination means that credible evidence does not exist that child abuse or neglect has occurred.
One who is harmed by or made to suffer from an act, circumstance, agency or condition. A person who is deceived, swindled, etc.
A fundamental right of children in placement to visit with their parents, siblings, grandparents and/or significant others.
Official records usually maintained by States that document births, deaths, marriages, divorces, naturalization, and adoption.
An agreement between the parent/guardian/custodian and DCS concerning a child with an emotional, behavioral, or mental disorder or a developmental or physical disability who is voluntarily placed out of the home for special treatment or care, solely because the parent/ guardian/custodian is unable to provide the treatment or care.
Any division, office or bureau of the department, examples include local office, DCS Central Office, Bureau of Family Protection and Preservation.
Work unit manager:
The manager or supervisor of any work unit, examples include local office director, regional manager, and DCS Deputy Director.
A process that prepares young people to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through a coordinated, progressive series of activities and experiences that help them to become socially, morally, emotionally, physically, and cognitively competent. Positive youth development addresses the broader developmental needs of youth, in contrast to deficit-based models that focus solely on youth problems.
A component of family-centered practice that centers on recognizing youth as experts in determining what is best for themselves and engaging youth in the development of policy, program, and service design and in decision-making, implementation, and evaluation.