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.
temporarily accredited agency (in intercountry adoption)
An agency that has been accredited on a temporary basis by an accrediting entity to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention. (Adapted from U.S. Department of State)
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
A program that provides assistance and work opportunities to needy families by granting States the Federal funds and wide flexibility to develop and implement their own welfare programs. The focus of the program is to help move recipients into work and to turn welfare into a program of temporary assistance. (Adapted from Office of Family Assistance)
termination of parental rights (TPR)
Voluntary or involuntary legal severance of the rights of a parent to the care, custody, and control of a child and to any benefits that, by law, would flow to the parent from the child, such as inheritance.
therapeutic foster care
Intensive care provided by foster parents who have received special training to care for a wide variety of children and adolescents, usually those with significant emotional, behavioral, or social problems or medical needs. Therapeutic foster parents typically receive additional supports and services.
TPR (See termination of parental rights.)
transition, independent living, and self-sufficiency services
Those programs, services, and opportunities intended to support young people in out-of-home care to develop to their full potential; contribute to their schools, programs, and the community; and succeed in work, family, and community life as adults. Also see independent living program. (Adapted from Family and Youth Services Bureau)
transitional foster care
Synonymous with short-term foster care, an initial placement option for unaccompanied children under 13 years of age, sibling groups with one sibling under 13 years of age, pregnant/parenting teens, or unaccompanied children with special needs. Unaccompanied children are placed with foster families in the Office of Refugee Resettlement network of care but may attend school and receive most service components at the care provider site. (Office of Refugee Resettlement)
Any disturbing experience that results in significant fear, helplessness, dissociation, confusion, or other disruptive feelings intense enough to have a long-lasting negative effect on a person’s attitudes, behavior, and other aspects of functioning. (American Psychological Association)
A practice in which all parties involved recognize and respond to the impact of traumatic stress on those who have contact with the system, including children, caregivers, and service providers. Programs and agencies within such a system infuse and sustain trauma awareness, knowledge, and skills into their organizational cultures, practices, and policies to maximize physical and psychological safety, facilitate the recovery of the child and family, and support their ability to thrive. (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
treatment foster care (See therapeutic foster care.)
An American Indian or Alaska Native Tribal entity that is recognized as having a government-to-government relationship with the United States, with the responsibilities, powers, limitations, and obligations attached to that designation, and is eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. (U.S. Department of Interior Indian Affairs) A list of the federally recognized Tribes may be found in the U.S. Department of Interior website.