Adoption Home Study-The written document
that explains the thorough background of a potential adoptive family,
outlining their suitability as a potential adoptive home, as well as their
current family and home dynamics.
Adoptive Match – Assessment or “match” made by the DCFS Placement and Recruitment Unit (PRU) between a “Waiting family” who has completed an Adoption Home Study and a child / children who need an adoptive home
Adoption Placement Papers – Paperwork indicating that the case plan for a child/children is permanency, specifying that the signing family intends to adopt said child/children.
CSW – Children’s Social Worker, a LA County DCFS employee who serves as case manager. CSWs visit the foster child/children once per month in their foster homes, have the authority to place or remove a child/children from the foster home, meets regularly with the birth family, provides resources to help facilitate reunification, i.e. bus tokens, referrals to drug treatment, testing, classes, etc., has discretion to liberalize and/or restrict visitation, and makes recommendations to the court as to whether they believe the child/children should remain in foster care or be returned home to their family.
Case Plan – The requirements set by the court, which must be fulfilled by the birth family, in order to reunify with a child / children.
Concurrent Planning-The long-term case plan for a child that includes both the possibility of reunifying with the birth family, and the possibility of being adopted by the foster family. DCFS has incorporated concurrent planning in order to minimize the number of disruptions a child needs to experience before being reunified or adopted. In order for a foster family to be considered for concurrent planning, they must have completed an Adoption Home Study.
County Counsel – Legal counsel representing the Department of Children and Family Services.
Court Order- A legal order given by the dependency court pertaining to the child/children’s case that must be followed as directed by the issuing judge.
DCFS – Los Angeles County, Department of Children and Family Services, also referred to as “The County”.
Dependency Court – The legal court system handling all dependency court cases. This is not civil or criminal court.
Detention – The action of removing a child from their current caretaker. Children can be detained if there is a reasonable suspicion that a child has been abused, abandoned, neglected, or when it is assessed that a child is at imminent risk of harm should they remain in the care, custody, or control of their caretaker.
Detention Hearing (72 Hour Hearing) – The first court hearing held following a detention. At this hearing the caretaker will be told why their child/children were detained and what they must do to reunify. Further, a determination is made as to whether or not there is an appropriate relative who can care for the child and visitation rights are established.
ER Worker – Emergency Response Worker; a DCFS employee that responds to the initial allegation of abuse or neglect by going to the home and determining if the child is in imminent risk of harm. The ER Worker is the worker that makes the critical decision whether or not a child should be detained.
Finalization - A court proceeding that makes an adoption legal and binding.
Legal Guardianship-The long-term placement plan for children who cannot be reunified with their birth family but either cannot or are not willing to be adopted.
MediCal – The insurance coverage for all medical, dental, and psychological services needed by foster and adoptive children.
Monitored Visitation- Court ordered visitation that takes place between a child and his/her family members or close family friends. These visits are monitored by DCFS approved persons in order to ensure the safety of the child/children.
Respite Care- Supervision of children, provided by an alternate Inner Circle home, while the primary foster parent(s) are out of town or unable to care for the child/children.
Reunification – The act of returning the care, custody, and control of a child to their birth family, a relative, or previous caretaker.
Reunification Services-Services funded and facilitated by Los Angeles DCFS, as per the court ordered case plan, provided with the goal of rehabilitating and preparing the birth family to reunify with their child/children.
Stipend – Money paid to the foster parent(s) as a reimbursement for expenses incurred while caring for the foster child/children
TA – Technical Assistant; a county employee that contacts foster family agencies and county licensed homes when looking for an appropriate foster care placement.
Termination – The end of foster care placement
TPR – Termination of Parental Rights; A court order severing parental rights from the biological parents based on the parents failure to comply with the case plan.
Transfer – The movement of a child from one foster home to another. Transfers are often done to accommodate placing sibling sets together, are done to move children closer to their birth families, and/or to be placed into a permanent adoptive home
Unmonitored Visitation- Court ordered visitation that takes place between a child and his/her family members or close family friends whom the court does not deem necessary to be monitored for the safety of the child/children.