Helpful Terms and Descriptions


1. Adoption - is the method approved by law to establish the legal relationship of a parent and child who are not so related by birth, with the same natural rights and obligations that exist between children and their birth parent(s).

2. Adoption Approval - the recommendation by Children and Family Services resulting from the home study assessment process including, but not limited to: collected information, conducted interviews and the completed home inspection.

3. Home Study Resource Managers - are certified adoption assessors and social workers who assess families who wish to foster/ adopt, by visiting the home and talking to family members to complete the home study process.

4. Adoption Workers
- social workers/certified adoption assessors who are responsible for the needs and well-being of the child(ren) in permanent custody including regular visits with the child(ren).

5. Adoption Subsidy - financial assistance for families who adopt children with special needs or circumstances. Also referred to as subsidized adoption.

6. Case Plan - a goal-oriented, time-limited, individual plan of action for a child and the family which identifies problems to be resolved. The plan also details steps of resolution with the aid of supportive services within the family’s community.

7. Cluster
- a network of foster/ adoptive parent support groups for and facilitated by foster and adoptive parents with the intention of fellowship, mentorship, family fun activities and an education/ training piece for peer problem solving and decision-making skills.

8. Custody - when Juvenile Court removes a child from his/her legal guardian and gives certain rights and responsibilities to an individual or an agency. There are different forms of custody including: emergency, temporary, permanent and legal.

9. Family Assessment - is the social review, study and preparation of a family who wishes to become adoptive/foster parents.

10. Family Service Worker - the FSW is the social worker assigned to the family case managing the case plan, safety/risk assessments, services and supports for the family and children involved.

11. Fingerprints - a requirement for the purpose of all child placements including foster/adoptive families, related caregivers and interested individuals. Fingerprints are run through the BCI/FBI. Valid state ID is required.

12. Foster Care - a safe, stable, loving and nurturing placement for a child until he/she can return home to his/ her biological parent(s).

13. Foster Care License - at the successful conclusion of your foster home study, your family is licensed by the State of Ohio as a substitute care provider.

14. Resource Manager (FHRM) - an experienced social worker/adoption assessor who manages licensed foster/approved adoptive homes. They may act as a mentor, advocate, educator, coach and supporter.

15. Interested Individual - a court-ordered placement of a child with a non-blood relative where a relationship may have been established.

16. Legal Risk - a situation where an adoptive family cares for a child as a foster family because a motion for permanent custody has been filed which may make the child(ren) available for adoption. The adoptive family has an understanding that there is a risk that the permanent custody may not be granted.

17. Legal Custody - court-awarded custody to an individual, however, this is not the same as permanent custody.

18. Neighborhood Family to Family Site - community sites which partner with CCDCFS to work with birth families and to support foster families in area neighborhoods. In Cuyahoga County, they are referred to as Neighborhood Collaborative Partners.

19. ODJHS - Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

20. On-going Training - is required in order to keep a foster home licensed and in good standing. 20 hours of training is required each year. The home is recertified every 2 years.