When someone is directly and intentionally harmed. Types of abuse include the following:

  • Physical abuse: Any non-accidental incident that results in marks, bruises, or injuries. This includes injuries resulting from excessive corporal punishment.
  • Sexual abuse: When nonconsensual sexual contact of any kind occurs.
  • Emotional abuse: Any kind of mental injury. An example would be a youth who experiences repeated negative comments about himself or herself, or is blamed for a family's problems.
When a court grants parental rights for a child to a new parent or parents. This can occur only if the birth parents agree to give up their parental rights or if their rights have been terminated by a court.
The support or promotion of a person or cause. Many people involved in the child welfare system advocate for children and their families. Self-advocacy is when someone advocates for his or her own rights
When a youth reaches an age where he or she can leave foster care and live as a legal adult. This age is typically 18. However, some PCSAs may maintain custody beyond age 18 if the youth has not earned a high school diploma or GED or under other special circumstances.
Sometimes called "birth family," this is the group of people a youth is related to by blood. It includes the mother who gave birth to the youth, the man who fathered the youth, and any brothers or sisters born to the youth's mother and/or father.
A voluntary program for young adults who leave foster care in Ohio at ages 18, 19, or 20 and who are in school, working, participating in an employment program, or have a medical condition that prevents them from going to school or working.
Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program; an innovative program that can help low-income 14- to 24-year-olds build career paths, find employment, and break the cycle of poverty.
A written document that outlines the goals that must be achieved in order for a youth in foster care to be returned home and for the family's case to close.
Case plans are meant to provide a clear and specific guide to how you and your family can grow and/or address behaviors and conditions to ensure you and your family's success.
An individual who is employed by a public agency to provide supportive or protective services to children, families, and substitute caregivers.
The use of physical discipline such as spanking, hitting, whipping or beating. Ohio law forbids foster caregivers from using corporal punishment.
A volunteer who a court assigns to a youth to represent the youth's best interests. A CASA researches the youth's case and speaks at court hearings, case plan reviews and other important events. He or she should ask for the youth's opinions, but their opinions may differ.
A lawyer who represents the defending party in a court case. The defending party is the side with charges brought against it. In many child welfare cases, the biological parent(s) is (are) the defending party.
When a youth has broken a law or laws; including truancy.
When a parent is unable to care for a child through no fault of their own. Reasons for dependency could include mental illness or alcohol or drug addiction.
A secured facility where a youth may await a hearing if he or she has been arrested and accused of a crime.
A federally funded, state-administered program for youth who have aged out of foster care or who were adopted after the age of 16. It provides financial assistance for higher education or vocational training.
When a youth ages out of foster care and gains the legal rights of an adult. In Ohio, there is no legal process for any youth under the age of 18 to be emancipated.
A new federal law that allows caseworkers to access educational records, making it easier for youth in foster care to change schools.
The interview between a youth and the youth's caseworker, which must occur within seven days of the youth leaving a foster care placement. The interview evaluates the placement to ensure it will be safe for future youth in care.
A meeting between the youth in foster care, the caseworker, and the foster family at the beginning of a placement.
A written document that includes a young adult's proposals for housing, education, employment, health care and financial management after foster care.
An adult who has completed training and been issued a certificate by ODJFS allowing them to provide substitute care for youth.
A form used to apply for federal financial aid to attend college and/or vocational schools.
A lawyer appointed by a court to represent and protect the best interests of a youth.
A caseworker who helps foster youth age 14 and older prepare for independent living.
A plan outlining how a youth in foster care will learn the skills needed before emancipation. The plan is based on the youth's life skills assessment and what the youth wants to do after emancipation, such as find a job or attend college or vocational school.
Services to help youth 14 and older in foster care prepare for self-sufficiency.
Knowledge and abilities needed to be self-sufficient.
A questionnaire that youth in foster care complete at age 14 to determine which life skills they have and the skills that they need to develop. Two common assessments are the Annie E. Casey and Daniel Memorial tools.
A plan developed through a school for a youth who receives special education services.
A public officer who hears and makes decisions on cases in a court of law; also known as a magistrate.
Someone who represents a person in a court of law; also called an attorney.
A book maintained by a youth in foster care and his or her substitute caregiver(s). A lifebook may contain pictures, stories, and mementos about the youth, his or her biological and/or foster family, and life in general. This book stays with the youth between placements and after emancipation.
A trusted adult who can provide guidance, support and help when needed. A mentor can help teach professional, educational and/or life skills. A mentor could be a trained professional, or the relationship could be more informal. Youth advisory board members often serve as mentors to other youth in foster care.
A survey given to randomly selected youth in care at age 17 to evaluate the effectiveness of independent living services. Those chosen are asked to take follow-up surveys at ages 19 and 21.
When a parent is able to care for a child but does not; for example, when a parent fails to provide proper food, shelter, clothing, medical care.
An agency's guidelines for foster parents regarding "normal and beneficial" activities that youth in their care may participate in.
The state agency that supervises county agencies serving youth in foster care, including agencies that operate residential or group homes, residential centers and other programs.
The optimal future living situation for a youth in foster care, as outlined in the case plan. The permanency goal often is reunification. When reunification isn't possible, the goal may be adoption or emancipation.
Group of people working together to help find permanent homes for youth in foster care. The youth themselves are participants.
When a PCSA is given custody of a youth in foster care, after a court determines that he or she should not return to his or her biological family. A youth can remain in PCSA custody until being adopted or emancipating.
When a PCSA is granted custody of a youth 16 or older, but parents' rights still are maintained.
Services provided to young adults who have emancipated from foster care to help support their own efforts at self-sufficiency.
An alternative to detention in a detention center if a youth has been found guilty of a crime if a judge sentences a youth to probation, he or she will be required to do certain things and have ongoing contact with a probation officer.
A lawyer who represents the prosecuting party in a court case. The prosecuting party is the side bringing charges. In many child welfare cases, a county agency is the prosecutor.
An agency that administers a county's child welfare services, including foster care and adoption. A PCSA holds legal custody of a youth while he or she is in foster care. A PCSA also investigates allegations of abuse, neglect, and dependency.
A defense lawyer appointed to represent someone who can't afford to hire his or her own lawyer.
A meeting between a youth in care and his or her caseworker to assess independent living skills.
A foster caregiver or a kinship caregiver.
When youth in foster care briefly stay in an alternative foster care setting before returning to their regular foster home; this is sometimes called "going to respite."
The return of a youth in PCSA custody back to his or her biological family.
A meeting held every six months to review a family's case plan. The youth, his or her biological family, caseworker, substitute caregiver(s), CASA, GAL, and others are invited.
A card with an identifying number assigned by the federal government to U.S. citizens who apply for them so that any wages earned can be recorded. Social Security numbers are needed to get a job, to collect Social Security benefits and to receive some other government services.
Additional services provided by schools to help eligible students with their academic work.
Money youth in care may receive as an incentive or reward if they participate in an independent living activity or attain a goal.
Addiction or overuse of alcohol and/or legal or illegal drugs.
A person or facility caring for a youth in PCSA custody. Can be a foster parent, kinship caregiver or group home.

A living arrangement where youth are placed when they cannot safely remain with their biological families. Sometimes called a "placement." Types of substitute care include the following:

  • Kinship care: When a relative or close family friend assumes the full-time care of a child. The kinship caregiver must meet certain requirements and be approved by the PCSA.
  • Foster care: Care in a family home setting with parents who have completed training and been certified by ODJFS.
  • Treatment foster home: A type of foster home for youth with special needs, in which the parents have completed specialized training.
  • Residential or group home: A supervised living arrangement for multiple youth in care when individual placements cannot be found.
  • Transitional living: When several older youth in care live together with adult support to prepare for independent living.
  • Independent living: When a youth ages out of foster care and lives in his or her own residence as a legal adult.
When a PCSA assumes responsibility for youth who cannot safely remain with their biological families. Youth in temporary custody are placed in substitute care settings.
A person licensed to help others address mental health or substance abuse issues; sometimes called a counselor.
A written strategy developed by a therapist or clinician to address a youth's mental health or substance abuse issues; sometimes called a service plan.
A discussion to address a youth's treatment plan for mental health or substance abuse issues; may include the youth, the caseworker, the substitute caregiver and one or more health care professionals.
Leaving school without permission or not attending school as required.
Parameters developed by the youth and his or her caseworker, biological family and juvenile court, outlining how often the youth can visit his or her biological family, how long the visits can be, where the visits can be held, who may visit, and if the visits need to be supervised or restricted.
Post-emancipation services provided by county public children services agencies to young adults who have emancipated from foster care and are not yet 21.
Group of people working together to help find permanent homes for youth in foster care, the youth themselves are participants.

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