Adoption Glossary - C

As you begin to research adoption, you'll find that it comes with its own adoption terms and jargon. Although some adoption terms may be defined a little differently by another adoption professional, we hope the adoption glossary below will help you make sense of some buzzwords used in adoption. If you're unable to find the information you're looking for in the adoption glossary, call one of our knowledgeable Adoption Specialists at
1-800-ADOPTION.
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CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) - Court-appointed special advocates (usually volunteers) who serve to ensure that the needs and interests of a child in child protection judicial proceedings are fully protected.
Case Closure - The process of ending the relationship between the CPS worker and the family that often involves a mutual assessment of progress. Optimally, cases are closed when families have achieved their goals and the risk of maltreatment has been reduced or eliminated.
Case Plan - The casework document that outlines the outcomes, goals and tasks necessary to be achieved in order to reduce the risk of maltreatment.
Case Planning - The stage of the CPS case process where the CPS caseworker develops a case plan with the family members.
Caseworker Competency - Demonstrated professional behaviors based on the knowledge, skills, personal qualities and values a person holds.
Central Auditory Processing Disorder - A condition in which an individual has difficulty comprehending and integrating information that is heard, although hearing is normal. Central auditory processing disorder occurs when the ear and the brain do not coordinate fully. The causes of this disorder are varied and can include head trauma, lead poisoning, possibly chronic ear infections and other unknown reasons. Because there are many different possibilities or even combinations of causes each child must be individually assessed.
Central Registry - A centralized database containing information on all substantiated/founded reports of child maltreatment in a selected area (typically a State).
Cerebral Palsy - A non-hereditary condition which results from brain damage before, during or after birth. Children with cerebral palsy lack muscle control in one or more parts of their bodies or may experience speech and language difficulties, depending on the area of the brain damaged. Individuals with cerebral palsy can possess very normal mental functions.
Certification - The approval process (detailed in State laws or regulations) that takes place to ensure, insofar as possible, that adoptive or foster parents are suitable, dependable and responsible. "Certification" of documents involves a seal or apostille required by law or regulation affixed to a public document (such as a birth or marriage certificate or court record) to attest to its authenticity or to a general document to attest that the document has been notarized by an authorized official.
Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) - The law (P.L. 93-247) that provides a foundation for a national definition of child abuse and neglect. Reauthorized in October 1996 (P.L. 104-235), it was up for reauthorization at the time of publication. CAPTA defines child abuse and neglect as "at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm."
Child Protective Services (CPS) - The designated social services agency (in most states) to receive reports, investigate and provide intervention and treatment services to children and families in which child maltreatment has occurred. Frequently, this agency is located within larger public social service agencies, such as Departments of Social Services.
Closed Adoption - Adoption in which confidentiality of both adoptive parents and birth parents are protected under the law, the courts seal all records.
Co-Parenting - A long-term (formal or informal) agreement to support the needs of children with developmental disabilities by which extra caregivers support parents by providing ongoing respite parenting when needed.
Concurrent Planning - A process used in foster care case management by which child welfare staff work toward family reunification and, at the same time, develop an alternative permanency plan for the child (such as permanent placement with a relative or adoption) should family reunification efforts fail. Concurrent planning is intended to reduce the time a child spends in foster care before a child is placed with a permanent family.
Conduct Disorder - A condition characterized by a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior which violates the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules. A child or teen with conduct disorder may: display aggressive conduct (bully or threaten others, initiate fights, use weapons that could cause serious harm, force someone into sexual activity, be physically aggressive or cruel to people or animals); engage in non-aggressive behaviors that result in property loss or damage; engage in deceitfulness or theft (steal, lie or break promises to obtain goods or to avoid debts or obligations); persistently engage in serious violations of rules that lead to confrontations with parents, school suspensions or expulsion; problems in the workplace; or legal difficulties (staying out after dark without permission, running away from home, truancy, etc.) Conduct disorder may lead to the development of antisocial personality disorder during adulthood.
Confidential Intermediary - State employee or trained volunteer sanctioned by the courts, who is given access to sealed adoption files for the purpose of conducting a search. A confidential intermediary may be hired by the inquiring party to conduct searches for an adopted adult or birth parent or other birth relatives (depending on state laws), make contact with each party and obtain each person's consent or denial for the release of information. Depending on the particular laws of the state, contact may be attempted once, after a specific time period or the file may be closed permanently if the party being sought cannot be found.
Confidentiality - The legally required process of keeping identifying or other significant information secret; the principle of ethical practice which requires social workers and other professional not to disclose information about a client without the client's consent.
Consent Form - The legal document signed by the biological mother and father allowing their child to be placed for adoption. If birth parent is unavailable, the courts can validate the consents without the birth parents' signature. (A consent is also referred to as a surrender or relinquishment).
Consent to Adopt or Consent to Adoption - Legal permission for the adoption to proceed.
Cooperative Adoption - Adoption in which adopted child has access to both adoptive parents and birth parents who participate in decisions affecting their life.
CPS - Acronym for Child Protective Services.
Cultural Competence - A set of attitudes, behaviors and policies that integrates knowledge about groups of people into practices and standards to enhance the quality of services to all cultural groups being served.
Custody - Authority by a person or guardian embodying all of the rights and responsibilities.



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