Primary Blog/What's With the Jargon?! And Who Are All These People?!

Friday, April 19, 2024

What's With the Jargon?! And Who Are All These People?!

Helping families understand the terms that may be used as well as the people who may be attached for their child welfare/reunification case.

If your child has been removed by the child welfare system there are a lot of people who will suddenly be reaching out to you, and also having contact with your child. It can be confusing and alarming. Additionally, as with any system, the court, child welfare, and behavioral health systems use a lot of abbreviations and acronyms. Recently after a first Child Team Meeting, a parent turned to me and confided "I don't understand half of the sh** they just said."

In the spirit of helping parents be connected and understand all the sh**, here are a list of terms and definitions. Please feel free to comment, or reach out if you have questions or if there's something that's not included here that you think would be helpful.

AAG = Assistant Attorney General. The attorney for the state/DCS/CPS.

BH = Behavioral Health. Generally, the child and parents will each be enrolled in their own BH services, which may include: Case management, family support, skills training, counseling, mentoring, psychiatric, medication management, groups, and parenting classes.

CASA = Court Appointed Special Advocate. Volunteers or paid court team members who advocate for a child’s safety & permanency.

Case Plan = Child welfare's plan for the child’s best interest. Changes to the plan require a Case Plan Staffing to discuss and present to the court.

CFT = Child Family Team. Comprised of the child, parents, other family members or natural supports, DCS, attorneys, CASA, GAL, behavioral health CM/CC, other BH supports, FIC and other supports.

CFT Meeting = Child Family Team Meeting, which is generally held monthly to update team members on progress and create planning toward goals. Often just called a CFT.

CM/CC = Case Manager, Care Coordinator, Clinical Coordinator. These are the behavioral health managers who connect and provide services, and keep records.

DCS = Department of Child Safety. Also known as: CPS – Child Protective Services, DCFS – Department of Children & Family Services. Each state’s agency that collects information about potential neglect or abuse, investigates situations and determines the necessary safety measures for a child.

FCRB = Foster Care Review Board. A panel who meets to review the progress of a Child-Family Team’s efforts in creating permanency for a child who is involved in a dependency and reports their findings.

FIC = Family Involvement Center. They provide parent mentors in the state of Arizona.

FP = Foster Parent, Foster Provider or Foster Placement. This is the person or family who has physical custody of a child who has been removed and placed within the foster care system.

GAL = Guardian Ad Litem. An attorney who is assigned to advocate for the best interest of a child.

Kinship Placement = Family or family-identified community member who has completed the necessary background checks and agreed to accept physical custody of and care for a child during the case.

Permanency Hearing = Court Hearing where the judge determines if the current permanency plan is on track and continues to be in the best interest of the child.

PP5 = Preliminary Protective Conference and Hearing where services are assigned.

PSN = Parent Support Now Program. Provided through FIC in Arizona, the goal is to assist with family reunification.

Report & Review = Hearings that serve as an update to the court.

Reunification – When a child in state custody is returned to their parent(s) home and care.

TDM = Team Decision-Making Meeting. These meetings are facilitated by DCS and are held to determine if removal is necessary, if a change of placement is needed, if a major change is necessary in order to continue with the case plan, or if the case plan needs to be changed

For more terms and additional helpful information order The Reunification Planner or go to

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