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.
Hague Adoption Certificate
Issued by the U.S Department of State, it attests that the child's adoption has been completed in the United States in accordance with the Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA).
Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption
Is an international agreement to establish safeguards to ensure that intercountry adoptions take place in the best interests of the child.
Hague Custody Declaration
Issued by the U.S. Department of State when a child emigrates from the United States (outgoing adoption case) to another Convention country and certifies that custody of a child for purposes of adoption has been granted in the United States in accordance with the Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000.
An engagement approach that helps institutions work with children, youth, and families from a perspective that addresses harm and restores well-being. It is a nonclinical, strengths-based approach that advances a holistic view of healing by recentering culture and identity as a central feature. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Family and Youth Services Bureau)
A collective trauma experienced by a specific cultural, racial, or ethnic group over multiple generations. It is related to major events that oppressed a particular group of people because of their status as oppressed, such as slavery, the Holocaust, forced migration, and the violent colonization of American Indian/Alaska Native peoples. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families)
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
A virus spread through bodily fluids that affects specific cells of the immune system. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of the cells that the body cannot fight off infection and disease. When this happens, HIV infection leads to AIDS. (Adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Services provided primarily to families in their homes. In child welfare, this may include home visiting, parent aides, respite care, and homemaker services.
The process of gathering information, preparing, and evaluating the fitness of prospective foster, kinship, and adoptive parents. The primary purpose of a home study is to ensure that each child is placed with a family that can best meet his/her needs. Home study requirements vary greatly from agency to agency, State to State, and (in the case of intercountry adoption) by the child’s country of origin.
Method of delivering preventive and family support services directly to the family in the home. Home visiting programs support positive parent-child relationships, promote optimal child health, development, and academic success, enhance parental self-sufficiency and parenting skills, connect the family with community resources, and prevent child abuse and neglect. They focus on the importance of children's early years and on the role parents play in child development.
A crime involving the exploitation of someone for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. (Human Trafficking Hotline)