Commonly used Terms and Acronyms

Acronyms can be very confusing. Here is a list of acronyms and terms generally used by Children’s Division staff as published in the Missouri Resource Parent Handbook issued by the Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division.


AC: Alternative Care

ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder

ADHD: Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder

ASFA: Adoption and Safe Families Act

BD: Behavior Disorder

BFC: Behavior Foster Care (previous placement type term now called Elevated Needs-Level A)

CA/N: Child Abuse and Neglect

CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocates

CD: Children’s Division

CFCIP Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (formerly Independent Living Program)

CRU: Central Registry Unit

CSA: Community Service Aide

CSS: Children’s Service Supervisor

CTS: Children’s Treatment Services

DCN: Departmental Client Number (MO HealthNet and Case Number)

DJO: Deputy Juvenile Officer

DMH: Department of Mental Health

DOB: Date of Birth

DSS: Department of Social Services

DVN: Departmental Vendor Number

EPSDT: Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment

FACES: Family and Children Electronic System

FC: Foster Care

FCOOHC: Family-Centered Out-of-Home Care

FCS: Family-Centered Services

FP: Foster Parent

FSD: Family Support Division (previously CSEU and IM)

FST: Family Support Team

GAL: Guardian ad Litem (Lawyer to represent the child)

HCY: Healthy Children and Youth

ICPC: Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children

ICWA: Indian Child Welfare Act

IEP: Individualized Educational Plan

IFRS Intensive Family Reunification Services

IIHS/IIS: Intensive In-Home Services (formerly called Family Preservation Services)

ILA: Independent Living Arrangement

IOC: Inter-Office Communication

JO: Juvenile Office/Officer LD: Learning Disorder

MEPA: Multi-Ethnic Placement Act

OHI: Out of Home Investigation

PPR: Permanency Planning Review PS: Protective Services

SSI: Supplemental Security Income

SSN: Social Security Number

STARS: Specialized Training, Assessment, Resources, Support and Skills

TANF: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families

TPR: Termination of Parental Rights

WIC: Women, Infants and Children

Adoption Subsidy: A financial grant made to a family adopting a child with special needs to assist in meeting the cost of care, treatment and/or the legal process of adoption.

Adjudicatory Hearing: A court hearing in which the evidence is presented in support of the petition alleging the child is homeless, abused, neglected or dependent. The parents have an opportunity to respond and a judgment is made regarding the petition. Also known as a jurisdictional hearing.

Adoption and Safe Families Act: This law was signed in 1997 and profoundly affected adoption of foster children.

This law redefined:

1. Reasonable Efforts, Case Plans and Reviews. It specified certain situations in which reasonable efforts are not required.

2. Termination of Parental Rights: Termination of parental rights proceedings must be initiated for children who have been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months.

3. Notice and Opportunity to Be Heard: At all foster care reviews and hearings, foster parents, preadoptive parents, and kinship caregivers must be given notice and an opportunity to be heard.

4. Earlier, More Decisive Permanency Planning Hearings: Permanency Planning Hearings must be held within 12 months of the child’s original placement. At these hearings a decision must be made to return the child home, initiate a termination of parental rights proceeding, or place the child in another permanent placement.

Alternative Care (AC) also known as FCOOHC (Family-Centered Out-of-Home Care): For the Division this means all child caring facilities, residential facilities, licensed resource families, licensed relative, licensed kinship families, public or private institutions, and adoptive families (until the decree of adoption is granted) into which the Division will place and maintain a child in custody.

The various types are defined as follows:

1. Foster Family Care is a placement made into a licensed foster family and the foster parent(s) are reimbursed for the child’s care, food, and shelter (includes emergency foster family care).

2. Adoptive Family Care is that which the family assumes all legal and social obligations and privileges of parents and plans to adopt the child after the legally specified six-month period. It includes families receiving an adoption subsidy.

3. Relative Family Care as used for foster care in Missouri means a grandparent or any other person related to another by blood or affinity or a person who is not so related to the child but has a close relationship with the child or the child’s family. The status of a grandparent shall not be affected by the death or the dissolution of the marriage of a son or daughter. The licensed person(s) receives a maintenance payment to help cover the cost of the child’s care, food, and shelter.

4. Residential Treatment Facility is that in which care and treatment is provided for children and youth, usually with behavioral and/or emotional or developmental problems in a living facility for 13 or more children on a 24-hour basis. A varied range of treatment services such as counseling, educational services, skill development, etc., will be supplemental to the maintenance aspects of care, depending on the level of service offered by the specific facility.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit- Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A childhood syndrome characterized by hyperactivity and short attention span.

Behavior Disorder (BD): A childhood syndrome characterized by the child’s inability to control their behavior over a period of time in various settings.

Care, Custody and Control: Care, custody and control means the exercise of supervision over a child under age eighteen through the ability to control, dictate, coerce, persuade or require a child to act or perform in some desired manner. This type of control or supervision can only be exercised by a person who has parental authority or by a person to whom such authority has been granted by the person who actually has such authority. Parental authority as used here, is the responsibility for the care, nurturance and socialization of the child, including providing for physical and emotional needs of a child.

Case Manager: The worker in the county of juvenile court jurisdiction who has the responsibility of coordinating all services delivered to a child and his/her family. The case manager may or may not provide all of these services directly, but must ensure that the services needed to accomplish the objectives of the case plan are made available through direct provision, referral, or purchase (includes all types of contracted services). For adoptive placements, the case manager is the worker assigned to the adoptive family, effective on the date the child is placed with a specific family.

Case Plan: A written document which describes the social and child welfare services and activities to be provided by the Division and other state and local agencies for the purpose of achieving a permanent familial relationship for the child.

Child Abuse/Neglect (CA/N): *Abuse is defined as any physical injury, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse inflicted on a child other than by accidental means by those responsible for the child’s care, custody and control, except that discipline including spanking, administered in a reasonable manner, shall not be construed to be abuse. Note: Resource parents are not permitted to spank or use any form of corporal punishment on children in foster care. *Neglect is defined as failure to provide, by those responsible for the care, custody and control of the child, the proper or necessary support, education as required by law, nutrition or medical, surgical or any other care necessary for the child’s well-being.

Central Registry Unit (CRU): A unit of workers within the Missouri Children’s Division whose responsibilities include the management of the Child Abuse Hotline.

Chafee Foster Care Independent Living Program: (formerly called the Independent Living Program [ILP]): The Chafee Foster Care Independence Program operates to empower youth ages 14-21 who have experienced out-ofhome placement, to develop their potential to become self sufficient yet interdependent with the community and to successfully transition into adult living.

Supervisor: This person who supervises the case manager of the child/family.

Manager: This person is the case manager for the child/family. This person provides direct services to parent(s)/child(ren) in their county of residence or county of alternative care placement.

Children’s Treatment Services (CTS): Funding provided by the Missouri Children’s Division for additional services to protect and nurture children and meet their developmental needs.

Community Service Aide (CSA): A position which allows for technical assistance to the case manager, such as transportation and donation management.

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA): Volunteers that work with Juvenile Court staff to ensure that appropriate plans are made for children.

Court Jurisdiction: The authority of the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court to act. A child is subject to determination of delinquency, dependency, neglect, abuse, termination of parental rights and adoption. For domestic relations cases (divorce/custody suits) the jurisdiction is under the Circuit Court.

Custody: Missouri statutes refer to several different types of custody. The following definitions are taken from the statutes or interpreted for Division purposes. Legal custody: “…the right to the care, custody and control of a child and the duty to provide food, clothing, shelter, ordinary medical care, education, treatment and discipline of a child. (Section 211.021 RSMo)

1. Judicial Custody: The ability of a juvenile officer or law enforcement officer, pursuant to the juvenile code, to take temporary custody of a child who is in immediate danger and place him/her in the control of child protective services for no longer than 24 hours. (Section 210.120 RSMo)

2. Physical Custody: Those persons or agencies designated to provide 24- hour care for a child on a continuous basis. Generally, it is used to differentiate the person or agency caring for the child from that person or agency having “legal custody” of the child.

3. Protective Custody: Emergency measure taken to detain a child, for 24 hours, often in a hospital or foster home, until a written detention request can be filed. Police, law enforcement officers, or doctors have statutory authority (Section 210.125 RSMo) to detain minors who are in imminent danger.

Date of Birth (DOB): This is the date (month, day, and year) on which a person is born.

Department of Mental Health (DMH): A department within Missouri government which provides mental health services.

Department of Social Services (DSS): A department within Missouri government that oversees the Missouri Children’s Division.

Departmental Client Number (DCN): This is the 8-digit case number assigned to a client (child/adult) of the Missouri Children’s Division. This is also the MO HealthNet number.

Departmental Vendor Number (DVN): This is a 9-digit number that is assigned to all vendors with the Missouri Children’s Division. Vendors include resource families, day care providers, respite providers, etc.

Deputy Juvenile Officer (DJO): This person represents the Juvenile/Family Court in most court hearings. Detention Hearing: A court hearing held to determine whether a child should be kept away from his/her parents until a full trial of neglect or abuse allegations can take place (Missouri Supreme Court Rules 111.07 and 111.08).

Dispositional Hearing: Court hearing to hear evidence on the question of what plan would be in the best interest of the child. (Child has already been found to be within the jurisdiction of the court through adjudication).

Elevated Needs-Level A (formerly BFC): A specialized foster family placement program designed for the child who needs a family setting with greater structure and supervision. Children placed in these settings have severe behavior problems and may have experienced multiple placements.

Elevated Needs – Level B (formerly career): Specialized foster family placement program designed for youth who have serious emotional and/or behavior problems that require the 24-hour availability of highly skilled Level B resource parents who are capable of assuming the role of primary change agent. These youth because of the presenting problems would be placed in a residential treatment or psychiatric hospital or have been discharged from a residential treatment facility or psychiatric hospital and who are unable to function in a traditional resource home.

Family-Centered Out-of-Home Care (FCOOHC): See definition of Alternative Care.

Family-Centered Services (FCS): These are services provided by the Missouri Children’s Division to intact families.

Family Development Specialist (FDS): This is the worker that writes your home study. They may also be known as the licensing worker.

Family Support Division: A division within the Department of Social Services responsible for Income Maintenance and Child Support responsibilities.

Family Support Team (FST) Meeting or team meeting: “A meeting convened by the division or children’s services provider in behalf of the family and/or child for the purpose of determining service and treatment needs, determining the need for placement and developing a plan for reunification or other permanency options, determining the appropriate placement of the child, evaluating case progress, and establishing and revising the case plan.” RSMo 210.110.

Foster Care (FC): This is the term for where some children are placed after they are removed from the custody of their birth parents.

Foster Parent (FP): This is a person, licensed through the Missouri Children’s Division, to provide care for a child who is in out-of-home care. This person may also be called a resource parent.

Guardian: A guardian is an individual appointed by a probate court to have care and custody of the person of a child under the age of 18, or an incapacitated person. The guardian may grant physical custody of the child to someone else, but retains rights of legal custody over the child (Section 475.010 RSMo).

Guardian ad Litem (GAL): An adult individual appointed by a court to protect the best interest of a child under the age of 17 (Chapter 211 RSMo) or 18 (Chapter 475 RSMo 1982 Supp) in a specific legal action; may be, but is not necessarily, an attorney.

Independent Living Arrangement (ILA): A youth living on his/her own under agency supervision. The youth’s custody may or may not be assigned to the Division.

Independent Placement: One in which the biological parents make the placement directly and retain the right to supervise the care of the child and to resume custody.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP): A written statement of the educational plan for a child that has been identified with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The IEP is developed by a team of individuals, including the parents of the child, and is reviewed/revised at least annually.

Intensive Family Reunification Services (IFRS): The Division shall provide services to the family to facilitate successful reunification and monitor the care the child receives. Services identified to support the family during the reunification period should be offered to the family, if needed, when the court terminates jurisdiction immediately. However, acceptance of services is voluntary on the part of the family. Families that can participate in the project must meet the following criteria:

• Goal is to return child(ren) to family AND this is not possible in the next six (6) months without extensive services;

• Safety issues preventing the child(ren)’s return have been identified;

• Family court agrees to return the child(ren) if family reunion is involved;

• Parent(s) and child(ren) are willing to participate in the project; and

• The family has not been involved with Intensive In-Home Services in the past six (6) months.

Intensive In-Home Services (IIHS) formerly known as Family Preservation Services (FPS): These intensive services are provided to intact families to prevent children from coming into foster care. The family is assigned a worker who meets with them 8-10 hours per week for 4-6 weeks.

Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC): A legally binding agreement or contract between individual states which sets out requirements governing the sending and receiving of children across state lines to assure their protection. (Section 210.620 RSMo)

Jurisdiction: The authority retained by the public or private agency, court, person, institution, association or other entity over the child to determine all matters in relation to the custody, supervision, care, treatment and disposition of the child.

Large Family Resource Home: A licensed foster home of two parents who are committed to caring for a large family and have completed a mutual assessment process with a trained resource development worker to be approved to provide twenty-four (24) hour care for six to ten (6-10) children including foster youth in the custody of the Children’s Division and all their own children up to 18 years of age. The primary purpose of approving a large family resource home is to safely keep sibling groups together. Eligibility and Qualifications are listed in Section 6 Chapter 15 of the Child Welfare Manual.

Learning Disorder (LD): Certain conditions that affect the child’s ability to learn and process information.

Legal Risk Placement: A child in CD custody who is not legally free for adoption, and who has the goal of adoption. The family accepting the child for placement understands that the goal of adoption may not be reached and/or the child may be returned to the home of the biological family.

Missouri Children’s Division (CD): The state agency that retains the legal custody of children who are in alternative care. This agency is under the Department of Social Services (DSS).

Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA): This is a law enacted by Congress in 1994 that addresses interracial or cross-cultural adoption. This law prohibits a federally assisted agency from denying the opportunity for any person to become an adoptive or resource parent solely on the basis of the race, color, or national origin of the resource/adoptive parent or the child.

Missing Child Report: A report prepared on a standard form supplied by the Missouri State Highway Patrol for the use by private citizens and law enforcement agencies to report missing children or missing juvenile information to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association (MFCAA): The Missouri branch of the National Foster Parent Association.

Normalcy – Reasonable and Prudent Parenting Standard (PL 113-118. HB4980, RSMo 210.655) The standard characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interests of a child while at the same time encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the child, that a caregiver shall use when determining whether to allow a child in foster care under the responsibility of the State to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities.

Out of Home Investigation (OHI): This is an investigation of child abuse/neglect where the alleged perpetrator is a resource family, child care provider, school employee, residential treatment employee or hospital employee.

Permanency Planning Review (PPR)/Permanency Planning Review Team (PPRT)/Permanency Planning Team (PPT): An administrative process conducted every six months for the purpose of objectively determining the safety of the child, the continuing necessity and appropriateness of a child’s placement, compliance with the case plan, the extent and progress made in alleviating the causes necessitating placement in foster care, and to project a likely date by which the child may be safely returned home or placed for adoption or legal guardianship.

Placement: The arrangement for the care of a child with a resource family, relative family, kinship family, adoptive family or in a child-caring agency or institution.

Protective Services Child care (PS): An old term that is no longer used except in reference to child care. Child care provided by CD contractor’s bill under protective services child care.

Reasonable Efforts: The ordinary diligence and care by the Division to identify child protection problems and provide services to solve those problems so as to prevent out-of-home placements and/or promote family reunification.

Resource Family: This is a family that cares for a child who has been removed from his biological parent(s) due to abuse or neglect. This family could be a relative provider, kinship provider, a foster family or an adoptive family.

Safekeeping (now called Family-Centered Services [FCS]): The act or process of preserving a child’s safety and protection including assurance that a child’s needs are met and providing for or facilitating the use of services which will enhance the child’s growth and functioning. This definition applies to child welfare referrals made to the Division that are not appropriate CA/N (child abuse/neglect) hotline calls, yet a child appears to need protection.

Social Security Number (SSN): A 9-digit number assigned to an individual by the Social Security Administration.

Specialized Training, Assessment, Resources and Support (STARS): This is the program adopted by the State of Missouri to train and license resource families.

Status Offender: “…(a) child…charged with an offense not classified as criminal, or with an offense applicable only to children; except that, the juvenile court shall not have jurisdiction over any child sixteen years of age who is alleged to have violated a state or municipal traffic ordinance or regulation, the violation of which does not constitute a felony;….” (Section 211.031(2,e) RSMo)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Income provided to families by the Social Security Administration due to a death or a disability of a family member.

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF): Monetary assistance to impoverished families.

Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) Hearing: A legal proceeding in a juvenile court which considers the need to sever the legal ties of a child from his/her biological parents, adoptive parents or guardian.

Voluntary Guardian ad Litem (VGAL): A volunteer attorney who represents the interest of the child in court proceedings at no charge to the agency. (See definition of Guardian ad Litem-GAL.)

Women, Infants and Children (WIC): A special supplemental food program funded and administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help “at risk” pregnant mothers and their children (up to age 5 years).

Written Service Agreement (WSA): An agreement designed through a mutual process of negotiation between the Division, the parent(s), and the juvenile court (if required by the court) setting out those activities necessary for achievement of reunification of the child with the parent(s).