- Is the victim of sexual activity as defined under Chapter 2907. of the Revised Code, where such activity would constitute an offense under Chapter 2907. of the Revised Code except that the court need not find that any person has been convicted of the offense in order to find that the child is an abused child.
- Is endangered as defined in section 2919.22 of the Revised Code, except that the court need not find that any person has been convicted under section 2919.22 of the Revised Code in order to find that the child is an abused child.
- Exhibits evidence of any physical or mental injury or death, inflicted other than by accidental means, or an injury or death which is at variance with the history given of it. Except as provided in this definition, a child exhibiting evidence of corporal punishment or other physical disciplinary measure by a parent, guardian, custodian, person having custody or control, or person in loco parentis of a child is not an abused child under this definition if the measure is not prohibited under section 2919.22 of the Revised Code.
- Because of the acts of his parents, guardian, or custodian, suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child’s health or welfare.
Adoption: The creation, by a court, of parental rights and responsibilities between a child and an adult or adult couple.
Adoption agency: Entity that provides one or more of the following services: homestudy services for potential adoptive parents, counseling for birth parents, placement services for children in need of adoption, post-placement/pre-legalization services and post legalization/finalization services. In Ohio, these agencies must be licensed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Adoption Assistance programs: (Title IV-E/federal) Created by the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, this program provides federal financial support for children who are described as having special needs who are adopted. In addition to a monthly monetary payment, children who are “IV-E eligible” are entitled to a state medical card and certain services under the federal Title XX program. (See State Adoption Maintenance Subsidy Program for information on state financial programs.)
Adoption exchange: An organized way for “waiting children” to be listed along with “waiting families”, with the goal of making matches between the children and families. There exist local, regional, statewide and national exchanges designed for this purpose. The primary goal of the exchange is to ensure that a permanent home is identified for a child as quickly as possible. (See OAPL.)
Adoption Registry: Once a person whose adoption was legalized in Ohio reaches adulthood, they may sign up with this registry (which is maintained by the Ohio Department of Health) requesting identifying information about their birth family. If that adopted person’s birth family member also registers, requesting a match, the next steps can occur. It is called a mutual consent registry because both the adopted person and the birth family member must file requests prior to anything happening. If both contact the registry, a multiple-step process occurs. The probate court in the county where the adoption was finalized will decide if the Department of Health can connect the individuals who have filed matching registrations. For more information about this registry call (614) 644-5635.
Adoption triad: The three primary persons affected by the adoption: the birth parents, the child and the adoptive parent(s).
Attachment: An emotional bond between two people that lasts over a long period of time sets up a relationship and helps each person reach their potential and feel both secure and connected.
Birth parent: Also called “biological parent”. The term used for the two persons who genetically created a child. These two persons have rights and responsibilities defined by law and the Constitution of the United States.
Closed adoption: An adoption in which all of one triad member’s identifying information is concealed from all other triad members.
Dependent child: pursuant to section 2151.04 of the Ohio Revised Code means any child:
- Who is homeless or destitute or without adequate parental care, through no fault of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian; or
- Who lacks adequate parental care by reason of the mental or physical condition of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian; or
- Whose condition or environment is such as to warrant the state, in the interests of the child, to assume the child’s guardianship; or
- To whom both of the following apply:
- The child is residing in a household in which a parent, guardian, custodian, or other member of the household committed an act that was the basis for an adjudication that a sibling of the child or any other child who resides in the household is an abused, neglected, or dependent child; and
- Because of the circumstances surrounding the abuse, neglect or dependency of the sibling or other child and the other conditions in the household of the child, the child is in danger of being abused or neglected by that parent, guardian, custodian, or member of the household.
Facilitator: A doctor, attorney, minister, or other individual who informally aids or promotes an adoption by making a person seeking to adopt a minor aware of a child who is, or will be, available for adoption.
Finalization: ( See legalization.)
Foster-Adopt placement: Definition varies somewhat from community to community but, in general, this term is used to describe legal risk placements (see definition below) and/or the adoption by foster parents of a child, currently placed in their home, whose initial plan was reunification with birth parents, whose plan has now, after diligent attempts at reunification have failed, been changed to the goal of adoption. In this case, the child is in foster care status upon entering the caregiver’s home. The caregiver is a licensed foster parent who has completed or is in the process of completing an approved adoption homestudy process. In Ohio, many agencies offer a combined homestudy process in which the applicant becomes a licensed foster parent and is also approved to adopt at the end of the process.
Guardian ad litem: A person, sometimes an attorney, appointed by the court to make sure that the child’s best interests are addressed in court hearings and other proceedings.
Homestudy: A process by which a potential adoptive parent educates themselves about the challenges and rewards offered through parenting an adopted child. The process by which a potential adopter, with the assistance and guidance of an adoption agency, assesses their own skills, life experiences and strengths to determine the type of adoptive child they could best parent.
Identifying information: Information such as name, address, place of employment and Social Security number which could significantly assist one individual in locating another individual.
Independent adoption: An adoption facilitated by an attorney.
Interstate adoption: The adoptive placement of a child who is a resident of one state with an adoptive parent (or parents) who is a legal resident of a different state.
ICPC: The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. An agreement enacted in all 50 states which coordinates most types of placements of children across state lines. This includes, but is not limited to, the adoptive placement of children. The Compact guarantees that each state’s laws and procedures are met and the child’s placement is supervised according to state laws and proper court procedures.
Legalization: (Also called finalization) The legal act that establishes a family connection between the adopting person and the adopted person. Usually done in a courtroom setting, this act grants rights and responsibilities to the adoptive parent and child equal to those rights and responsibilities granted to families created by birth.
Legally free for adoption: A child is legally free when the parental rights of both birth parents have been terminated and the time period for the birth parents to appeal the decision is over.
Legal risk placement: A placement of a child who is not yet legally free with a family who is interested in adopting the child. The placement family is usually both a certified foster family and an approved adoptive home. The risk is that the birth parent’s rights may not be terminated and the court may order the child to be returned to the birth parent or a suitable birth relative. The benefit is that this type of placement decreases the number of different placements a child may have.
Lifebook: A chronological record of a child’s life, usually in a photo album or binder, created by the child and/or the caregivers, that documents for the child, in concrete ways, the events and relationships important to the child. It may include photographs, mementos, or descriptions that help the child understand their biological origins and others who have played a significant role in their life.
Loss: The emotional and psychological state experienced when someone temporarily or permanently is separated from someone or something to which they have an emotional attachment or need. All loss causes trauma and crisis, in varying degrees.
Medicaid: A type of medical insurance provided through the state, using combined federal and state funds, which most children who are considered to have special needs are entitled to receive. This can be used in conjunction with the adoptive family’s medical insurance to meet the child’s needs.
Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA): Sometimes now called “Removal of Barriers to Interethnic Placement,” this is a federal law enacted in 1994 and amended in 1996, which prohibits an adoption agency from delaying or denying the placement of any child on the basis of race, color or national origin.
Neglected child: pursuant to section 2151.03 of the Ohio Revised Code includes any child:
- Who is abandoned by the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian.
- Who lacks adequate parental care because of the faults or habits of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian.
- Whose parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide proper or necessary subsistence, education, medical or surgical care or treatment, or other care necessary for the child’s health, morals, or well being.
- Whose parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide the special care made necessary by the child’s mental condition.
- Whose parents, legal guardian, or custodian have placed or attempted to place the child in violation of sections 5103.16 and 5103.17 of the Revised Code.
- Who, because of the omission of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian, suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child’s health or welfare.
- Who is subject to out-of-home care child neglect.
Nothing in Chapter 2151. of the Revised Code shall be construed as subjecting a parent, guardian, or custodian of a child to criminal liability when, solely in the practice of religious beliefs, the parent, guardian, or custodian fails to provide adequate medical or surgical care or treatment for the child.
Non-recurring costs: One-time expenses incurred by a person adopting a child, such as travel costs, legal costs, and homestudy-related costs. These are frequently reimbursable through federal and local funds when adopting a waiting child.
OAPL – Ohio Adoption Photo Listing: Photos and descriptions of children throughout Ohio who are legally free and waiting for adoption.
Open adoption/Openness: A wide continuum of options within adoption which recognizes the child’s connection to both the birth family and adoptive family; usually an agreement made by the adults involved that can range from the sharing of only very basic information, to exchange of information through a third party, to total information sharing or ongoing contact. In Ohio these agreements are legal, but non-binding.
Parent support groups: Formal or informal groups of adoptive parents and potential adoptive parents coming together to share information and resources. They often also offer friendship, emotional support and recreational activities for adoptive family members. Support groups form for a variety of reasons, usually based on a shared interest or characteristic. Support groups can vary greatly from each other.
PASSS: Post Adoption Special Services Subsidy. Unique to Ohio, this fund is available to any Ohio family who adopts or any family who adopts a child in the custody of an Ohio agency. Eligible are families in which the child who, after the adoption is legalized, develops needs related to preexisting conditions or related to the adoption process itself. Each county is given state funds to pay for specialized services to adoptive families who apply. Ohio families who adopt a child from another state or country are eligible for this program.
Photo listings: Published photographs and descriptions of waiting children and/or waiting approved adopters that are used by agencies and individuals to identify potential matches. Often an adoption exchange will publish a photo listing. (See OAPL – Ohio Adoption Photo Listing.)
Post-legalization services: (Also called post-legal adoptive services) A variety of services offered to adoptive families after the child in the home has had his or her adoption legalized. Many of these services are community-based, and may be formal or informal in nature. This includes such things as ongoing educational opportunities to learn about adoption issues, counseling, respite care, and special medical services.
Putative Father Registry: A mechanism designed to allow birth fathers to identify themselves for the purpose of establishing their legal right to notification should an adoptive plan be under consideration for their child.
Respite care: The assuming of caregiving duties for an individual child on a temporary basis, usually by a non-family member, designed to give the primary caregiver parent a break from the stress of direct care of the child.
Special needs: The term used regarding a child waiting for adoption for whom identifying an adoptive home may be difficult.
State Adoption Maintenance Subsidy Program: In Ohio, financial support may be available to assist families who adopt children defined as having special needs. The family must meet income criteria. The child may also be eligible for Medicaid. These subsidies are frequently used if a child with special needs is ineligible for the federal Adoption Assistance program.
Surrender: (Also known as “relinquishment”) The voluntary termination of parental rights by a birth parent.
Termination of parental rights: The legal severing of ties between a birth parent and a child. These parental rights and responsibilities may be voluntary surrendered by the birth parent or, if the birth parent is proven unable to meet the child’s long-term needs, may by severed involuntarily through the court system.
Triad: (See “adoption triad.”)