Monday, November 10, 2014

Terminology of Foster to Adopt

I throw around a lot of terms and I know what they mean but I am guessing some of you may not.  So here is a handy glossary

Foster to Adopt - the process of adopting a child from the social welfare system.   These kids may be in the system for many different reasons.

Reunificiation -  when a child is first removed from the home the primary goal is for them to return to their parents.   In some instances this is possible in others it is not.

Legal risk - a child who is not legally free for adoption.  They may still be working towards reunificiation.  In some instances the court and case workers will know that reuinification will not happen but the court process still needs to be followed.

Legally free -  a child who's goal is to fine an adoptive home as reunification is no longer an option. The child is a ward of the state.

Termination of Parental Rights -  in many instances the courts will terminate the rights of a parent, at this point the child is legally free.  In some instances the family may still have contact but in other instances there will be no contact. This is an involuntary termination.

Relinquishment of Parental Rights - voluntary decision by a parent to give up rights to make decisions about the child.  At this point the child is legally free.  As above familial contact may be maintained based on the best interest of the child.  This is a voluntary termination.

Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) - the lawyer that is appointed to a child when they enter the child welfare system.  The GAL is responsible for making legal decisions on what is best for the child.

Social Worker - The individual appointed to the child to assist in finding foster and adoptive placements.   When a child becomes legally free his or her social worker may change to

Case Worker -  The individual working with potential adoptive families to find a child for placement.

Our Team - I use this term to refer to the GAL, social worker and our case worker.   This team also includes a family therapist and an individual therapist.

Respite -  Temporary care-giving relief provided by an individual or couple certified to provide foster care.  This typically is in the 24 hour range.

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