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Following is a list of the key terms, laws, and acronyms used throughout this web guide. It also lists the principal agencies that are involved in juvenile court proceedings or in child welfare.

AMC - Attorney for the Minor Child

An attorney appointed to represent a child’s legal interests.

CAPTA - Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act

A federal law that sets standards for states in administering their child protection services. See Child Protection Records.

Child Advocate

The Office of the Child Advocate monitors and evaluates public and private agencies that are charged with the protection of children, and reviews state agency policies and procedures to ensure they protect children's rights and promote their best interest. See http://www.ct.gov/oca/site/default.asp External Link – You are leaving the CT Judicial Branch website.

Child Protection

A matter heard in the Juvenile Division of the Superior Court concerning a child who has allegedly been abused, neglected, or uncared for. See Child Protection Proceedings and Child Protection Records.


When a child, who has been either convicted as delinquent or found by the court to be abused, neglected or uncared for, is placed into the care of DCF.

CSSD - Court Support Services Division

A division within the Judicial Branch that provides supervision and coordination of services for juveniles involved in a Delinquency or FWSN case.

DCF - Department of Children and Families

The child welfare agency of the state. See http://www.ct.gov/dcf/site/default.asp External Link – You are leaving the CT Judicial Branch website.


A matter heard in the Juvenile Division of the Superior Court concerning a juvenile’s criminal conduct. See Delinquency Proceedings and Juvenile Justice Records.


Detention facilities are administered by the Judicial Branch to hold juveniles who are accused of criminal conduct and need residential supervision for their safety and the safety of the community while their case is pending. See Delinquency Proceedings and Juvenile Justice Records.


The granting of adult status to an individual who is sixteen or seventeen years old.

FERPA - Family Educational Rights Protection Act

A federal law governing the accessibility and confidentiality of educational records. See Education Records.

FOIA - Freedom of Information Act

A state law that requires government offices to conduct their business open to public scrutiny. See The Freedom of Information Act.

FWSN - Family With Service Needs

A matter heard in the Juvenile Division of the Superior Court concerning a child who has allegedly engaged in risky or anti-social non-criminal behaviors. Also known as a status offense. See Status Offense Proceedings and Juvenile Court Records.

Foster Parent

A licensed adult who assumes the care of a child who has been committed to the custody of DCF.

GAL - Guardian ad Litem

An individual who represents a child’s best interest in a court proceeding, whose role is to assess for the court what is best for the child, which may not coincide with the legal interests of a juvenile who is of sufficient age to express his or her own interests in the outcome of a case.


An adult responsible for the care of a minor. A guardian may be appointed temporarily by the court when a child’s parents are unable or unwilling to care for the child.

HIPAA - Health Information Portability and Accessibility Act

A federal law designed to facilitate the electronic exchange of medical information among providers, insurance companies, and other health organizations without compromising any confidentiality of the information. See Confidentiality Provisions of HIPAA.

IDEA - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

JPO - Juvenile Probation Officer

An individual employed by the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch to evaluate all juveniles referred to the court for criminal conduct or other behavioral problems and to provide supervision and coordination of services to these juveniles as well as monitor compliance with orders issued by the court. See Delinquency Proceedings and Status Offense Proceedings.

Juvenile Court

A division of the Superior Court that handles matters involving those under the age of 18, including Child Protection, Delinquency, Status Offenses (FWSN), and Emancipation. See Juvenile Court Records.

Juvenile Justice

The term used to describe the collection of state agencies responsible for dealing with the criminal conduct of juveniles. See Juvenile Justice Records.

Mandated Reporting

The legal requirement that certain professionals who have contact with children in the course of their work report suspicions of child abuse or neglect to DCF. See What Mandated Reporters Need to Know External Link – You are leaving the CT Judicial Branch website on the website of the Department of Children and Families.

McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act

Non-judicial Supervision

Monitoring by a probation officer of a child those delinquency or FWSN case is being handled non-judicially.

OTC - Order of Temporary Custody

A court order that allows DCF to remove a child from his or her home to protect the child from the risk of imminent harm. See Child Protection Proceedings.

 Permanent Legal Guardian

A guardian appointed for a child to assume the care of a child until the child reaches the age of 18, rather than the child’s parents. When this type of guardianship has been granted by the court, the parent(s) will not be permitted to regain custody of the child.

PPRA - Pupil Protection Rights Act


A legal protection for confidential communications that take place within certain relationships. See Privileged Communications.


A period of supervision of a juvenile who has been convicted of a delinquent act. Supervision is provided by a juvenile probation officer.

Status Offense

Also known as FWSN. See Status Offense Proceedings.

Statutory parent

An agency, usually DCF, given guardianship of a child when the child’s biological parents have had their parental rights terminated. The responsibility of the agency as a statutory parent is to find an adoptive home or other permanent home for the child. 


Monitoring of child adjudicated as being a child from a Family With Service Needs. See Child Protection Proceedings.

TPR - Termination of Parental Rights

The complete legal severance of the parent-child relationship. See Child Protection Proceedings.


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