Abuse: Any action that creates a substantial injury or a risk of injury to a child. Abuse can be physical,
sexual or emotional. Physical abuse happens when a child is hurt through beating, shaking, kicking,
burning or other types of bodily harm. A child can end up suffering from bruises, fractured or broken
bones, internal injuries or even death. When children are denied the basic necessities they need to
thrive, it is also considered physical abuse. Infants born addicted to drugs are physically abused, as well.
Approved Families: Families that have completed MAPP training, the homestudy process and have
been licensed to adopt.
Birth or Biological Family: Biological mother or father (those who conceived the child) and their
extended family; “blood” relatives.
Children of Color: Children of color are all non-Caucasian children, including biracial children.
Child Welfare System: All agencies that operate to ensure the safety and well being of children. Areas
of child welfare include adoption, child protection, and foster care.
Closed Adoption: An adoption that involves total confidentiality and no contact with birth family. The
birth family and the adoptive family do not share any identifying information about themselves, and do
not communicate with each other, either before or after the placement of the child.
Contracted Agencies: Those agencies that have a contract with the DSS (public adoption agency) to
provide adoption services to DSS clients.
Developmental Delays: Delays in motor skills, speech and/or learning.
Department of Social Services : The Oregon State Child Welfare Agency. The agency focuses on the
safety, permanency and well being of children who have been abused and neglected in family settings or
Domestic Infant Adoption: The adoption of infants born in the United States and generally refers to
children who are voluntarily relinquished by their birthparent/s.
Emotional Disabilities: A disturbance of mood not due to any physical or mental disorder. Children with
emotional disabilities may exhibit lack of respect for authority, behavior problems in school, inability to
cope with change and difficulty getting along with other children. They might also have trouble sleeping,
have mood swings, be impulsive and appear to be unaware or unconcerned about the consequences of
their actions. Children with emotional disabilities may need therapy or counseling.
Emotional Injury: Also referred to as emotional abuse, hurts a child's emotional development. It occurs
when attitudes or actions repeatedly happen in a family that negatively effect the way a child feels about
him/herself. This can impair a youngster's behavior and ability to function. Emotional abuse happens in
all kinds of ways. A lack of love and support can be devastating. This can take the form of emotional
detachment or a severe lack of affection. Extremely harsh, critical treatment of a child can cause
emotional injury, too. This can include severe punishment, rejection and verbal assaults that may include
belittling, or scape goating.
Foster/Adoption (different name in each state, MAPP, PRIDE, Foundations, ect…): A training
course required of all prospective adoptive families and foster families in Oregon. The trainings usually
are in groups of 8-20 individuals, for 3 hours one day a week for 8 weeks. Its purpose is to help families
prepare for adoption or foster care through understanding the losses that waiting children have suffered
and the birth family issues that can exist.
Foster Care: Foster Care is the substitute family and care that children receive when they have been
removed from a situation where either abuse and/or neglect has occurred and neither biological parents
nor other extended family members can meet a child's needs. The State agency has placement and care
responsibility during this time.
Foster Care Adoption: Foster care adoption, also referred to as special needs adoption, is the
adoption of children from state care. These children are typically harder to place based on their race,
ethnicity, age, disability, or part of a sibling group.
Home study: The home study is a process as well as a final written document. After the family’s
completion of Foster/adopt training, the family’s social worker conducts visits to the home in order to
become acquainted with the household and the community to ensure they can provide a safe
environment for a child. It also allows the social worker to gain a better understanding of how the family
functions within the home. The write-up at the end of the process is the family’s home study, which is
either approved or denied by the agency.
International Adoption: The adoption of a child who is a citizen of a different country than the adoptive
Learning Disabilities: Children with learning disabilities may have average intelligence, but they have
difficulty sorting and storing information. They may have visual or auditory perception problems that make
it difficult for them to learn by reading directions or by listening. They learn best by seeing and doing.
More than 40 percent of special needs children have learning disabilities. Special classes can help the
child with school and learning.
Loss Issues: When children lose loved ones through separation, divorce or death, some feel immediate
grief but others may deny their loss. Long-term denial or avoidance of grief can 26 result in severe
problems. Signs that indicate professional help might be needed include extended depression, loss of
interest in daily activities, inability to sleep, loss of appetite, a drop in school performance, hyperactivity,
aggression and inability to concentrate.
Legally Free: Legally free children are those whose birthparents have voluntarily surrendered their
parental rights, or have had them terminated through a court process. These birthparents have no legal
recourse or claim to the involved children.
Legal Risk: Children at legal risk are those for whom the process to terminate birthparents’ rights has
not yet concluded. DSS has determined that adoption is in the child’s best interest and does not want to
delay recruitment of a family while the court pursues termination of the birthparents’ rights. The court case
can last as long as two years or more until the final decision is made. In some cases, the birthparents
retain the right to visit their child during the time the case is technically in foster care status. The majority
of legal risk placements result in the foster child being adopted by the pre-adoptive family.
Neglect: Situation that occurs when a child's basic needs are not provided for. Every youngster needs
food, shelter, medical care, supervision, emotional stability and a chance to grow. When a caregiver
withholds these things, a child is neglected. This may happen deliberately, through negligence or due to
an inability to parent. The environmental circumstances that some parents may face, such as disability,
homelessness or inadequate financial resources, are not seen as sources of neglect.
Open Adoption: An adoption that involves ongoing contact between birth and adoptive families,
sometimes including visits. Each adoption varies in terms of who remains involved and visitations.
Open adoption does not mean shared parenting.
Physical Abuse: Characterized by the infliction of physical injury as a result of punching, beating,
kicking, biting, burning, shaking or otherwise harming a child. The parent or caretaker may not have
intended to hurt the child; rather, the injury may have resulted from over-discipline or physical punishment.
Prospective Adoptive Family: A family that is interested in adoption and is either in the midst of the
adoption process and/or waiting for a match with a child.
Public Adoption Agency: Welfare agency is the adoption unit, which is dedicated to the public
adoption agency is usually the state child welfare agency. For Oregon, this is the Department of Social
Services. Within the state child 27 o the adoption of all the children who have a goal of adoption.
Services are free of charge through public adoption agencies.
Sexual Abuse: Occurs when a child has any sexual contact with an adult. This can happen through
intercourse, which is considered rape under Oregon law. It includes any oral, genital or anal penetration.
Sexual exploitation and molestation are also considered abuse. They are defined as contacts or
interactions with a child that are used to satisfy an adult's sexual needs and desires. This includes
any verbally enticing language as well as fondling, masturbating or exposure of sexual organs by the
adult. Sex between an adult and child is never consensual.
School-Aged Children: Children age 6 and older, and are generally at an age when they are enrolled
Sibling Groups: Children with one or more biological brother or sister.
Special Needs Adoption: Special needs adoption, also referred to as adoption through foster care,
is the adoption of children who are in state care. These children are typically harder to place based on
their race, ethnicity, age, disability, or being part of a sibling group.
Waiting Child(ren): A child who is waiting to be adopted.
Waiting Family: A family who has completed Foster/adoption training and the home study process, has
been approved to adopt and is waiting for an appropriate match to be found.