Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. Appendix B. Glossary of Terms


Concurrent planning

The process of planning two strategies for permanency for a child from the start of a case - a primary plan which usually involves a goal of reunification and working with and providing services to the family to achieve this goal, and at the same time, planning and working toward an alternative permanency goal for the child (e.g., permanent relative placement, guardianship, or adoption) in case the primary plan is not achieved.

Family group decision making

a case planning method that brings together a family in which abuse and neglect took place, with their relatives, friends, and other supports, to develop a plan to stop the maltreatment.

Family to Family

A foster care reform initiative developed by the Casey Family Services that includes a wide variety of strategies and approaches to serve families and children and promote family reunification. The initiative's framework is focused on a family-centered approach that is tailored to meet individual needs, while being community-based, and sensitive to cultural differences. States or localities apply for grants through the Annie E. Casey Foundation to support restructure of foster care according to the guidelines of the initiative.


A legal means for an adult to assume parental responsibility and authority for a child without severing parental rights of the birth parents. Subsidized guardianship provides a subsidy to the guardian.

Kinship care

The practice of a blood relative assuming parental responsibility for a child. Kinship care arrangements are often informal (outside the child welfare system) but have been and continue to be used by states for temporary or permanent living arrangements for children who cannot live with their birth parents. Subsidy for the relatives is generally not provided unless relatives are licensed foster parents. Relatives may also apply for TANF assistance.

Managed care

A strategy utilized by states to control the costs of child welfare services. Traditionally, the state pays service delivery agencies a per capita rate (set amount of funding) for cases rather than a fee-for-service funding structure (where agencies submit bills and are reimbursed on the basis of the number and type of services they provide). Under managed care, the service delivery agencies assume a risk that the costs to provide services for families and children will not exceed their funding. The strategy provides an incentive for agencies to serve the child and family promptly and have the child exit the system, thereby achieving both cost savings and expedited permanency for the child. States maintain the legal custody and responsibility for the safety and well-being of children. There are a number of variations in managed care adapted by states and localities.

Performance-based contracting

Contracting methods intended to ensure that required performance quality levels (i.e., number of children exiting foster care, number of families reunified, etc) are achieved and that payment is related to the degree that services performed meet contract standards.

TPR mediation

A process whereby a third-party professional helps to resolve conflict between birth parents and agency workers during the process of terminating parental rights.