Glossary of Terms
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Assessment: Broadly, an evaluative process of identifying and defining needs. Numerous types of assessment exist including, but not limited to, technical assistance, psychosocial, medical, community and risk assessments.
Community Assessment: An evaluative study that uses objective data to assess the current social conditions of a specified community or targeted area.
Individual/Family Assessment: A practice skill and process used in working with individuals or families when a “case” is developed to identify the current social, emotional, psychological, and physical conditions of the individual of family. This assessment process can be conducted both formally or informally depending on the nature and setting of service. Clinical settings require formal assessments using specific, validated tools or instruments. From a research perspective, a client-level assessment is an evaluative study that uses objective data to assess the current social, emotional, psychological, and physical conditions of an individual or family.
Case-Analysis: Process of assessing system response to children and families by collecting information on case flow through and across different agencies such as police departments, child protective services, prosecutor’s office, courts, human service agencies, and intervention and treatment providers. Case analysis is an analytical tool that is individualized to each community. Existing data sources are used to assess such aspects of system operation as timelines of response, referrals to services providers, case “recidivism” (that is, re-entry of child or family into system after case closure), and case dispositions. Through sample analysis at varying points of time, communities can also examine trends such as increases or decreases in types of cases and their dispositions.
Collaboration: A mutually beneficial well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations to achieve common goals. Collaboration is the process of various individuals, groups, or systems working together but at a significantly higher degree than through coordination or cooperation. Collaboration typically involves joint planning, shared resources, and joint resource management. Collaboration occurs through shared understanding of the issues, open communication, mutual trust, and tolerance of differing points of view. To collaborate is to “co-labor.”
Disaster: Events that are relatively sudden, highly disruptive, time limited (although the effects may be longer lasting) and public (affecting children from more than one family). A disaster may be due to:
Exposure to Violence: Exposure includes witnessing (through domestic violence or community violence) or experiencing (through child abuse and neglect) a violent incident(s) by a child in their home or community.
First Responders: Emergency personnel called to the scene of a crisis or responding to emergency calls for assistance. First responders could include emergency medical technicians, police, hotline/crisis line personnel; fire and rescue; child protective services and others.
Impact of Children Exposed to Violence: The impact of children exposed to violence any consequence short or long-term, both positive and negative, of the child or family being exposed to violence, either as victims or witnesses. Typically, however, impacts of exposure to violence are implicitly taken as a negative effect. The impact can be evident at multiple levels including the individual, the family, and the community. Systemic and cultural issues are important contextual aspects. The impact on children can be observed as threats to their biological, cognitive, emotional, educational, social, and psychological development.
Intervention: Specific services, activities or products developed and implemented to change or improve program participants’ knowledge, attitudes, behavior or awareness. Intervention is a purposeful response to an event where a child was exposed to violence. The intervention can be acute, when services are provided at the scene of the exposure, or the intervention can be provided after the event has already occurred. Interventions can take many forms and involve the action of a variety of professionals. Clinicians, teachers, parents, clergy, police, courts, and a variety of other individuals may provide interventions. The goals of an intervention are at least two; to provide support to the individual or persons who have been affected by the exposure to violence, and to find immediate solutions to practical problems that arise from, or gave rise to, the traumatic, disruptive, violent experience.
Prevention: Reduction of risk of occurrences, or delay of occurrences, of an adverse health, mental health, or other outcome. Prevention strategies can be characterized as universal, selective, or indicated (or respectively, primary, secondary, and tertiary) based on the level of risk associated with the groups or individuals for whom the intervention is intended.
Protective Factors: Characteristics, variables and/or conditions present in individuals or groups that enhance resiliency, increase resistance to risk, and fortify against the development of a disorder or adverse outcome. Examples would be constitutional factors like attractiveness or engaging personality, and bonding to family, school, and other social institutions.
Risk Factors: Characteristics, variables and/or conditions present in individuals or groups that increase the likelihood of that individual or group developing a disorder or adverse outcome. Since both the potency and clustering of risk and protection can vary over the potency and clustering of risk and protection can vary over time and developmental periods, successful, developmentally appropriate prevention and interventions take this into account. Examples would be the availability of alcohol; unclear family rules, expectations, and rewards; and permissive community laws and norms.
Treatment: Treatment is a form of intervention that is typically long-term and characterized by an ongoing relationship with a particular type of service provider, most often a counselor, mental health clinician, or medical personnel. The goal of treatment is intended to provide long-term support and remediation of symptoms.