I’ll try to identify Florida-specific terms (where I’m aware) and I’ll do my best to include other states’ terms (where I know them) because I realize not all my readers are lucky (?) enough to live in sunny Florida.
Whew! Did you get all that? Good! Now hold on tight, because we’re just getting started!
Advisory hearing (Advisory): first hearing after the Judge has ordered a TPR/Adoption case plan goal. At the Advisory, bio-parents can surrender, contest the TPR, or not show and have their rights involuntarily terminated by default.
Bio-parents/Bio-mom/Bio-dad/Bio-family: biological parents/mom/dad/family of foster child. For the purposes of Starfish Confidential, this refers to families where parental rights are still intact. Once rights have been surrendered/severed/terminated, I switch to Birth-parents/Birth-mom/Birth-dad/Birth-family.
Concurrent case plan: See concurrent Reunification/TPR/Adoption.
Note: when a child enters care with a concurrent case plan, either due to family history with DCF or the extent of abuse/neglect, it usually means that the circumstances aren’t egregious enough to go for immediate TPR, but CPC doesn’t have a high expectation of reunification. Therefore, while reunification services are offered, CPC wants the child placed in a home that is willing to adopt him/her to avoid a future move if the child is made available for adoption.
Family Care Bed: a foster care bed reserved for a child with significant developmental delays.
Family Care: category of foster care, homes and beds for foster children with identified significant developmental delays.
Family Care Home: a foster home with special training and licensure to accept children with significant developmental delays.
Frequently Asked Fostering Questions (FAFQs): My own version of “FAQs”, where I try to answer the questions that people ask foster parents everyday.
Guardian ad Litem (GAL): court-appointed advocate for the foster child. The GAL‘s entire purpose is to speak for the foster child’s best interest. We love our GALs and the kids in care need more – if you can’t foster, please consider becoming a GAL! Certain states/regions call this role a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), and GAL (or Attorney ad Litem – AAL) refers to an attorney assigned to the child.
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC): essentially, the process of an interstate home-study, ICPC is a contract among states and US territories authorizing them to work together so that children who are placed across state lines for foster care or adoption receive adequate protection and support services. The ICPC establishes procedures and fixes responsibility for child placement. (Not to be confused with ICP: Insane Clown Posse.)
Judicial Review (JR): periodic court hearing for purposes of updating the Judge on the case. There is a system to the frequency, but I haven’t figured it out yet. I do know that they occur with more frequency as the case ages.
Medical Bed: a foster care bed reserved for a child in medical foster care.
Medical Foster Care: category of foster care, homes and beds for foster children with identified special medical needs.
Medical Foster Home: a foster home with special training and licensure to accept children with special medical needs – these can range from broken limbs to g-tubes and ventilators. A medical foster home may have one or more medical beds as well as one or more traditional beds.
Normalcy: buzz word that means even foster children and foster parents deserve the ability to have normal lives. In Florida, Normalcy means that foster parents can authorize sleepovers at a friend’s house or extracurricular activities. The new big change (in Florida) is that foster parents are now allowed to use our own judgement when selecting babysitters – I no longer have to have someone fingerprinted and background-checked before letting them watch my Littles for a few hours so I can have dinner with The Daddy Guy. (To my knowledge, Florida is leading the charge on Normalcy.)
Permanency: buzz word that means the case is closed – the child has been adopted or reunified.
Surrender: bio-parent voluntarily gives up their parental rights.
Termination of Parental Rights (TPR): process by which the Court involuntarily severs parental rights.
TPR trial: bench-trial in which the Department presents it’s case for TPR. This step is skipped in the bio-parents surrender or have their rights terminated by default.
TPR/Adoption: Case Plan Goal. When reunification is no longer seen as an option, the focus shifts to severing parental rights, freeing the child for adoption and locating an adoptive family.
Therapeutic Bed: a foster care bed reserved for a child in therapeutic foster care.
Therapeutic Foster Care: category of foster care, homes and beds for foster children with identified special behavioral needs.
Therapeutic Foster Home: a foster home with special training and licensure to accept children with special behavioral needs.
Traditional Bed: a foster care bed reserved for a child in traditional foster care.
Traditional Foster Care: category of foster care, homes and beds for foster children without identified special medical or behavioral needs.
Have I forgotten anything? Or gotten anything wrong? Let me know in the comments!