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.
Occurs when a professional experiences stress or symptoms of trauma when working with children and families who are experiencing abuse, neglect, or family violence.
An official authorization permitting entry into and travel within a particular country or region. When an orphan enters the United States with an immigrant visa, he/she is usually considered to be a lawful permanent resident of the United States, not a U.S. citizen, depending on the type of visa. Also see IR-3 Visa and IR-4 Visa. (Adapted from U.S. Department of State)
Scheduled contact among a child in out-of-home care and his or her family members. The purpose of visitation is to maintain family attachments, reduce the sense of abandonment that children may experience during placement, and prepare for permanency.
Vital records most commonly refer to records such as birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and divorce decrees, wills, and the like. These records are created by local authorities, with possible exceptions for events overseas, in the military, or in the District of Columbia. (Adapted from National Archives)
voluntary adoption registry (See reunion registry.)