Many child welfare terms are subject to interpretation. The Glossary identifies commonly held definitions for terms that can be found on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website or in products and materials developed by external entities (e.g., Federal or State Agencies or other reliable organizations). When noted, Information Gateway is cited as the source. The Glossary also provides common acronyms and includes links to information on major Federal legislation and related child welfare terms. The Glossary will be updated as new terminology emerges in the field, as new legislation is enacted, and as child welfare terms take on new meaning.
For additional information on glossary terms, please see our index Search A-Z.
Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Program (EPSDT)
The child health component of Medicaid. It is required in every State and is designed to improve the health of low-income children, by financing appropriate and necessary pediatric services. (From HRSA Maternal and Child Health.)
early childhood intervention
A support system or collection of services for infants and children with developmental disabilities or delays and their families under the IDEA Part C program. The term is also used to describe services and supports that promote healthy development and a readiness to learn in children up to age 5 and that create safe, stable, and nurturing families and communities.
Involves the failure of a parent or caregiver to enroll a child of mandatory school age in school or provide appropriate homeschooling or needed special education training, thus allowing the child or youth to engage in chronic truancy.
A pattern of behavior that impairs a child's emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance.
employer-provided adoption benefits
Benefits paid by employers to families who adopt, which usually mirror those available to new biological parents. Benefits may include paid or unpaid leave when a child arrives in the home, reimbursement of some portion of adoption expenses, or assistance with adoption services.
The legal process used in some States to establish inheritance rights of a child when the prospective adoptive parent had entered into an oral contract to adopt the child and the child was placed with the parent, but the adoption was not finalized before the prospective adoptive parent died. If the parent has died without a will, the child may present a claim to all or part of the estate based on the doctrine. If the parent died with a will and the child was not mentioned in the will, the child may still present a claim for a portion of the parent's estate on the basis of being an omitted or pretermitted child. The child also may be eligible for some government benefits based on the doctrine. Not all States recognize an equitable adoption.
Behavior or professional conduct that aligns with the system of principles and values about right versus wrong. It is developed and guided by the social work professional standards of conduct that upholds the code of ethics. (Adapted from the National Association of Social Workers.)
Pertaining to or characteristic of a people who share a common and distinct culture, religion, language, or other quality.
Involves approaches to prevention or treatment that are validated by some form of documented scientific evidence. This includes findings established through controlled clinical studies, but other methods of establishing evidence are valid as well.
Use of the best available research and practice knowledge to guide program design and implementation within the context of the child, family and community characteristics, culture and preferences. (Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) Grants) Also see evidence-based practice.
exempted provider (in intercountry adoption)
A social work professional or organization that operates under the convention system in the United States and provides adoption services in concert with primary providers. The fact that such a provider is not "accredited" or "approved" does not reflect negatively on the provider's ability to provide a particular adoption service. It simply reflects the fact that such a provider is not in a position to act as a primary provider. (Adapted from the U.S. State Department, Intercountry Adoption.)