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.
A state of being the same as another, especially in status, rights, services, and access to opportunities. Actions can be taken to advance equality (sameness); however, if the same strategies are used for everyone, they may not result in the same outcomes due to varying circumstances or different starting places. (Capacity Building Center for States)
The consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Hispanic and Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native persons; Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; people who are LGBTQIA2S+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual, Two-Spirit, or other gender or sexual identity); persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families)
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 Hague 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 indicates that such a provider is not able to act as a primary provider. (Adapted from the U.S. Department of State.)
extended care group home
A type of residential care provider that provides a group home setting in which an unaccompanied child may attend public school. Unaccompanied children who may be in the Office of Refugee Resettlement custody for an extended period may be eligible for this type of placement. (Office of Refugee Resettlement)