A-Z Glossary

Many adoption, foster care and child welfare vocabulary are subject to interpretation. This glossary identifies commonly held definitions for terminology that can be found in the field. It defines common acronyms and provides comprehensive definitions for a broad range of terms. The glossary will be updated as new terminology emerges in the field and as new legislation is enacted.

A-Z Glossary – Choose a Letter

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There are 19 names in this directory beginning with the letter F.
Facial Dysmorphology
Facial dysmorphology is typically a congenital malformation of the face usually affecting the structure

Facilitator
Within domestic adoption a facilitator is typically a private individual or un-licensed entity that helps to arrange an adoption. The use of facilitators is illegal in the State of New York and many other states as well.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Signed into law in 1993, provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year, for certain family and medical reasons, including the placement of a child with an employee for adoption or foster care. Employers covered by the law include federal, state and local public agencies, schools, and workplaces with 50 or more employees. Eligible employees must have worked for that employer for at least 12 months. The law also requires that group health benefits be maintained during the leave.

Family Assessment
The stage of the child protection process when the CPS caseworker, community treatment provider and the family reach a mutual understanding regarding the behaviors and conditions that must change to reduce or eliminate the risk of maltreatment, the most critical treatment needs that must be addressed and the strengths on which to build.

Family Group Conferencing
A family meeting model used by CPS agencies to optimize family strengths in the planning process. This model brings the family, extended family and others important in the family’s life (e.g., friends, clergy, neighbors) together to make decisions regarding how best to ensure safety of the family members.

Family Preservation
A program of supportive social services designed to keep families together by providing services to children and families in their home. It is based on the premise that birth families are the preferred means of providing family life for children.

Fetal Alcohol Effect (FAE)
A disorder associated with cognitive and behavioral difficulties in children whose birth mothers drank alcohol while pregnant. Symptoms are similar to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) but less severe or comprehensive.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
Birth defects and serious life-long mental and emotional impairments that may result from heavy maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Symptoms of mental and emotional deficits may include significant learning and behavioral disorders (including attention deficits and hyperactivity), diminished cause-and-effect thinking, poor social judgment and impulsive behaviors.

Final Adoption Decree
Legal document issued by the court that completes the adoption.

Final Order of Adoption
A document that states the child is legally adopted by a specific family. This document comes from the country where the child is adopted, i.e., either in the US or in the country where the child was born.

Finalization
The legal process that makes the adoption permanent and binding and grants permanent legal custody of a child to the adoptive parents.

Finalization Hearing
Court action that grants permanent legal custody of a child to the adoptive parents.

Foreign Providers
Individuals or groups working in overseas nations who assist in arranging inter-country adoptions. They are frequently attorneys.

Fost-Adopt Placements
Foster placement of a child with adoption being the final goal once all legal requirements have been met, the couple must be certified as suitable to adopt with their home and licensed as a foster home. There is no assurance that placement will evolve into adoption.

Foster Adoption Placement
Foster placement of a child with adoption being the final goal once all legal requirements have been met, the couple must be certified as suitable to adopt with their home and licensed as a foster home. There is no assurance that placement will evolve into adoption. (Also known as fost-adopt placement.)

Foster Care
Substitute parental care for a short, extended or permanent period of time for a child whose biological parents cannot provide care for.

Foster Child
Child who is placed with a state-licensed family or facility because their biological parents cannot provide proper care.

Foster Parent
State-licensed adult who is paid or volunteers to take care of children, but is not related by blood, marriage or adoption

Foster-Adoption
A child placement in which the court has not yet severed birth parent rights or in which birth parents are appealing the court’s decision but foster parents agree to adopt the child if/when parental rights are terminated. Social workers place the child with specially trained foster-adopt parents who will work with the child during family reunification efforts but who will adopt the child if the child becomes available for adoption. The main reason for making such a placement, also called legal-risk adoption, is to spare the child another move.


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