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Morris County

Foster Parents Association


Here's a list of common acronyms and terminology used on a daily basis by those involved with the child welfare system:

  • ACNJ – Association for Children of New Jersey: Non-profit organization advocating for legal rights of children ( or

  • ARC – Adoption Resource Center: Regional DYFS offices (North, Central, South, Metro) responsible for filing a guardianship complaint with the court, which is the first step toward terminating parental rights, and manages the adoption process for children who are available for adoption

  • AREA OFFICE – Department of Children and Families (DCF) office that coordinates services to families in a geographic area; 15 area offices are roughly aligned with NJ Judiciary vicinages (see below)

  • ASFA – Adoption and Safe Families Act: Federal legislation signed into law in 1997 that provides specific time limits for children living in out-of-home care (

  • CASA – Court-Appointed Special Advocate: A volunteer appointed by the court to oversee the progress of a child’s case; not yet available in every county (

  • CASEWORKER – A DYFS staff person who works out of a district office and is responsible for bringing a child to a foster home and managing the child’s case

  • CCIS – Children’s Crisis Intervention Services: Available at different locations in each county, provide immediate care for children experiencing mental health crises

  • CHILD WELFARE TRAINING ACADEMY – DCF Division of Learning and Development; provides training services to DCF staff and volunteers, including resource families

  • CPR BOARD – Child Placement Review Board: A panel of court-appointed volunteers who periodically review the progress of a child’s case and make recommendations to the judge (

  • CWLA – Child Welfare League of America: Non-profit organization advocating nationally for children involved with the child welfare system; developed the PRIDE training curriculum (

  • DAG – Deputy Attorney General: The attorney who represents the state

  • DCBHS – Division of Child Behavioral Health Services: New Jersey agency responsible for providing behavioral health services to children; sister agency to DYFS

  • DCF – The New Jersey Department of Children and Families: Department of which DYFS is a division (

  • DDD – The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities: State agency providing services to developmentally disabled children and adults

  • DHS – The New Jersey Department of Human Services: Formerly the parent department of DYFS

  • DPCP – Division of Protection and Community Partnerships: New Jersey agency responsible for family preservation services; sister agency to DYFS

  • DYFS – Division of Youth and Family Services: New Jersey agency responsible for child welfare services, including foster care (

  • FACILITATOR – A DYFS worker who works out of the regional foster care unit and is responsible for finding homes for foster children; this is the person who will call you to offer you a child for placement

  • FAFS – Foster and Adoptive Family Services: Statewide, non-profit agency dedicated to supporting foster and adoptive families (800-222-0047 or

  • FEP – Family Enrichment Program: Third-party agency contracted by DYFS to provide support services to resource families including individual and family therapy

  • FIS – Family Intervention Services: provide support services to foster families including individual and family therapy and 24-hour crisis response; also conduct most DYFS pre-approval home studies of foster homes (

  • FPA – Foster Parent Association

  • IAIU – Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit: Division of DYFS responsible for investigating reported instances of abuse in foster homes and residential placement facilities

  • IEP – Individual Education Plan: Mandated service plan and record of milestones for children classified in special a education program

  • ICPC – Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children: Statutory law in all 50 states (plus District of Columbia and US Virgin Islands) that establishes uniform legal and administrative procedures governing the interstate placement of children; used by DYFS as part of evaluation of homes in other states (

  • LAW GUARDIAN – The attorney who represents a DYFS child; often sends an investigator to a foster home to visit with and interview child and foster family

  • LO – Local Office (formerly DO or District Office): local DYFS office that manages cases within a district (usually determined by county); this is where a caseworker’s office is located

  • LO MANAGER – Local Office Manager (formerly DO Manager): The highest ranking manager in a DYFS LO
    – Multi-ethnic Placement Act of 1994: Prevents agencies and courts from delaying or denying the placement of a child for adoption or in foster care on the basis of race or ethnicity

  • MICA – Mental Illness and Chemical Abuse treatment programs

  • MSW – Masters of Social Work: Graduate-level degree achieved by some DYFS staff and other child welfare professionals

  • OAL – Office of Administrative Law: DYFS office to which resource homes can appeal when they disagree with a local office’s decision to move a child

  • OOL – Office Of Licensing: DCF office responsible for ensuring that foster homes conform to DYFS safety and licensing standards

  • SHSP – Special Home Service Provider: A special DYFS foster home that is trained and equipped to care for foster children classified as “medically fragile”; often pronounced “ship” home.

  • SPRU – DYFS Special Response Unit: DYFS staff (usually a caseworker and a supervisor) on call after normal business hours for emergency contact; foster parents can offer to be on the SPRU list for emergency placements (not mandatory)

  • SUPERVISOR – Supervises caseworkers and is also familiar with every case for every caseworker for whom they are responsible; acts as a backup for a caseworker (A Casework Supervisor supervises all supervisors in a DO)

  • TPR – Termination of Parental Rights: Court-ordered discontinuation of a birth/legal parent’s legal rights to a child; can be result of a TPR (guardianship) trial or voluntarily surrendered

  • TSVP – Therapeutic Supervised Visitation Program: A visitation program available from various providers in each county that includes therapy and parenting instruction; does not take place in District Office

  • VICINAGE – A geographic area of the New Jersey Judiciary; there are 15 vicinages in the state (

  • YAP – Youth Advocacy Program: Non-profit organization that frequently provides DYFS with additional enrichment funding for foster families

  • YCM - Youth Case Management: component of DCBHS assigned to daily management of childrens’ cases

  • YCS - Youth Consultation Services: provide support services to foster families including individual and family therapy and 24-hour crisis response; also conduct most DYFS pre-approval home studies of foster homes

  • WIC – Supplemental Nutrition for Women Infants and Children: A program administered by NJ Medicaid providing monthly coupons for staple foods (e.g., milk, formula, cheese) for children through age 5