Glossary


Adoption:
The legal process that permanently gives parental rights to adoptive parents. Once an adoption is finalized, children cannot be taken from their adoptive parents.
Adoption Subsidy:
Financial payment that is designed to help an adoptive family provide for the care of a child. It may be short-term or long-term, and the amount and types of services included will vary, depending on the needs of the child.
Caseworker:
Sometimes called “adoption worker,” “adoption caseworker,” “licensing worker,” or “social worker.” Person who prepares adoption home studies for prospective adoptive parents, assists in the licensing process, and provides post-adoption counseling.
Concurrent Planning:
Plan for foster care in which family reunification is worked toward at the same time as an alternate permanency plan for the child is developed. If efforts at reunification fail, the child is permanently placed with a relative or adopted by a non-related family. Concurrent planning can reduce the amount of time a child spends in foster care.
Developmental Delays:
Children with developmental delays do not develop as quickly as might be expected. They may be slow to crawl, walk, talk, write, color, or be toilet trained. Some will eventually catch up with other children their age, while others may be permanently effected.
Drug Exposed:
Term used to describe children who were exposed in utero to illegal drugs. Some children in the foster care system have had some prenatal drug exposure.
Fetal Alcohol Effects:
Minor physical and developmental effects on a child because a birth mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Children may have minor facial differences, be hyperactive, have difficulty staying on task, and have some learning disabilities.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:
Variable group of birth defects and long-term mental/emotional impairments that may be suffered by a child as a result of heavy alcohol consumption by a mother during pregnancy. Children with FAS may have significant learning and behavioral disorders (including attention deficit and hyperactivity), poor social judgment, and impulsive behaviors. They may also exhibit certain characteristic differences of the face and head.
Finalization:
The finalization of an adoption occurs when a child becomes legally adopted ó complete with a new birth certificate and any new names agreed to. The whole adoptive family often celebrates by attending the court procedure that officially binds them together as a family.
Fost-Adopt:
Fost-adopt parents are foster parents and prospective adoptive parents at the same time. Children need safe, stable families. The fost-adopt program allows children to be placed in families that are ready to adopt them if their birth parents are not able to make the changes necessary to reunite the family.
Foster Care:
A foster family home is a private residence (apartment or house) that has been licensed to serve as a temporary setting for children who are dependants of the courts. It provides a supportive and stable environment for children who cannot live with their biological parents while family problems are being resolved. There are many different types of foster care including short-term, long-term, therapeutic, and respite.
Group Home:
Alternative to traditional in-home foster care. Children live with a group of unrelated children in a homelike setting. The period of time a child spends in a group home varies. Some group homes have special staff to work with children with emotional and behavioral issues.
Home Study:
Sometimes called “adoption study.” Written report by a social worker to help the court determine if prospective foster or adoptive parents are qualified. In developing the home study, a social worker meets with prospective parents several times, visits the home to inspect the accommodation and check for safety features, and investigates medical, family, and criminal backgrounds. If other people live in the home in addition to the prospective parents, they are also investigated.
Independent Adoption:
Adoptive parents and birth parents identify each other without the intervention of a public agency. These adoptions are often facilitated by an intermediary such a lawyer, a physician, or a private adoption agency.
International Adoption:
Adoption of a child born in another country or who is a citizen of another country. International adoptions require fulfilling any legal requirements of the child’s country of birth and gaining immigration approval from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), as well as meeting the regular state and federal laws related to adoption.
Legal Guardian:
Person who performs custodial and parental responsibilities of a legal parent, while the court or biological parents retains some decision-making authority. Guardians do not have the same rights of inheritance as birth or adoptive parents, and face on-going court supervision. The court can terminate a guardian’s relationship to a child; otherwise the relationship legally ends when the child reaches the age of majority.
Licensing Process:
Process required prior to adopting or fostering a child from a public agency. Licensing procedures vary from county to county but generally require an orientation, foster and adoptive parent training, a home study, finger printing, a criminal record check, and CPR/First Aid certification.
Orientation:
An orientation session provides answers to prospective parents’ questions about foster care, fost-adopt, or adoption. Orientations are usually scheduled twice a month in each county.
Private Adoption Agency:
Private agencies are usually licensed by the state but operate using fees from adoptive families and charitable contributions. They may have a specific focus such as a religious orientation, special needs children, a specific ethnic population of children, or children in a specific age range.
Public Adoption Agency:
Adoption through a state or county agency such as the Department of Social Services. Public agencies are funded by public money.
Special Needs:
Generally refers to children that are typically more difficult to place because they have some physical, emotional, or developmental issue; are older; or are biracial or multi-ethnic. The term may also be used to describe siblings that would do better if adopted by the same family.
Therapeutic Foster Home:
Family setting that meets the needs of children with emotional problems. The foster parents have been trained and work with a therapist to implement a treatment plan for each child.