Adoption Glossary - P

Parens Patriae Doctrine - Originating in feudal England, a doctrine that vests in the state a right of guardianship of minors. This concept has gradually evolved into the principle that the community, in addition to the parent, has a strong interest in the care and nurturing of children. Schools, juvenile courts and social service agencies all derive their authority from the state's power to ensure the protection and rights of children as a unique class.
Parent or caretaker - Person responsible for the care of the child.
Petition - Written request to the court for legal custody, guardianship or adoption of a child.
Physical Abuse - The inflicting of a non-accidental physical injury upon a child. This may include burning, hitting, punching, shaking, kicking, beating or otherwise harming a child. It may, however, have been the result of over-discipline or physical punishment that is inappropriate to the child's age.
Post-Placement Visits - Investigation and interviews with an adoptive family once a child has been placed with them.
Primary Prevention - Activities geared to a sample of the general population to prevent child abuse and neglect from occurring. Also referred to as "universal prevention."
Private Adoption Agencies - Non-governmental agencies licensed by the state to provide adoption services, primarily dealing with infant adoptions.
Protective Factors - Strengths and resources that appear to mediate or serve as a "buffer" against risk factors that contribute to vulnerability to maltreatment or against the negative effects of maltreatment experiences.
Protocol - An interagency agreement that delineates joint roles and responsibilities by establishing criteria and procedures for working together on cases of child abuse and neglect.
Psychological Maltreatment - A pattern of caregiver behavior or extreme incidents that convey to children that they are worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered or only of value to meeting another's needs. This can include parents or caretakers using extreme or bizarre forms of punishment or threatening or terrorizing a child. The term "psychological maltreatment" is also known as emotional abuse or neglect, verbal abuse or mental abuse.
Public Adoption Agencies - Governmental adoption agency or social services department providing adoption services, primarily dealing with older children in foster care.
Putative Father Registry - a.k.a. Birth Father Registry, state registry where alleged paternity can be listed and birth fathers have the opportunity to protest the birth mother's adoption plans. Approximately one-half of the states have a putative registry.

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