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- » Caregivers of Young Children: Preventing and Responding to Child Maltreatment: Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Terms
Bad Touch - a term used by primary prevention programs for children to describe hitting, punching, biting, erotic touch, and other acts that hurt children.
Child Protective Services (CPS) - the designated social service agency (in most States) to receive, investigate, and provide rehabilitation services to children and families with problems of child maltreatment. Frequently, this agency is located within larger public social services agencies, such as Departments of Social Services or Human Services.
Confidentiality - a provision in all State child abuse and neglect reporting laws that protects the privacy of children and families by not permitting information about the finding of the child maltreatment report to be released to other agencies without permission of the family. In some States, members of multidisciplinary teams may receive information without a release of information.
Confusing Touch - a term used by primary prevention programs for children to describe any type of contact that "does not feel right."
Good Faith - the standard used to determine if a reporter has a reason to "suspect" that child abuse or neglect has occurred. In general, good faith applies if any reasonable person given the same information would draw a conclusion that a child "may" have been abused or neglected.
Good Touch - a term used by primary prevention programs for children to describe hugs, encouraging pats, and other gestures that are not erotic.
Immunity - established in all child abuse laws to protect reporters from civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution resulting from filing a report of child abuse and neglect. This immunity is provided as long as the report is made in "good faith."
Juvenile and Family Courts - established in most States to resolve conflict and to otherwise intervene in the lives of families in a manner that promotes the best interest of children. These courts specialize in areas such as child maltreatment, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, divorce, child custody, and child support.
Mandated Reporter - one who in his/her professional capacity is required by State law to report "suspected" cases of child maltreatment to the designated State agency. Some States clearly spell out that teachers, principals, nurses, and counselors are included, while other States designate all school personnel.
Multidisciplinary Team - established between agencies and professionals within the child protection system to discuss cases of child abuse and neglect and to aid decisions at various stages of the child protection system case process. These teams may also be designated by different names, including child protection teams or case consultation teams.
Out-of-Home Care - child care, foster care, or residential care provided by persons, organizations, and institutions to children who are placed outside of their families, usually under the jurisdiction of the juvenile and family court.
Parent/Caretaker - person responsible for the care of the child.
Penalty for Failure to Report - All State child abuse reporting laws delineate penalties for failing to report suspected instances of child abuse to the designated State agency. The penalty usually consists of a charge of a misdemeanor, which can result in a fine or time in jail.
Reporting Laws - all States have child abuse and neglect reporting laws that mandate who must report "suspected" child abuse and neglect cases, which agencies are charged with investigating alleged instances, and the responsibility of State and local agencies in responding to these children and families.
Reporting Policies/Procedures - written referral procedures established by schools and other professional agencies with a mandated responsibility to report suspected child abuse and neglect cases that delineate how to initiate a suspected child maltreatment report and to whom it should be made.
Substantiated - a finding made by CPS after investigating a child abuse or neglect report indicating that credible evidence exists that child maltreatment did occur. The criteria used to substantiate a report are different in each State. Other terms used by some States are "founded," "supported," or "indicated."
Survivors - a term frequently used to refer to adults who were abused or neglected as children.
Unsubstantiated - a finding made by CPS after investigating a child abuse or neglect report indicating that there was insufficient evidence to support that child maltreatment occurred. In some States, the term "unfounded" is used.
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