Change of Venue: Moving a case to another jurisdiction for legal reasons.
Child abuse: The harming of a child through physical, sexual, mental, or emotional injury.
Child Neglect: The failure to properly care for a child. This can include failure to provide enough food, shelter, clothing, or appropriate supervision. It can include failure to provide adequate education or medical care. It can also include alcohol or drug use.
Child Protective Proceeding: A case brought under Article 10 of the Family Court Act, involving child abuse or child neglect.
Child Protective Services Worker: The person from the county or city child protective agency (In New York City this is New York City Children’s Services) who investigate charges of child abuse and child neglect.
Child Support Enforcement: The Child Support Services (CSS) program establishes and enforces child support, monitors collections and disbursement of child support payments, establishes paternity (legal fatherhood) for children born outside of marriage, and locates absent parents when necessary. In New York City, CSS is part of the Department of Social Services.
For information about child support and enforcement, call the New York State Child Support Hotline at
Citation or Cite: A group of numbers, letters, and names used to identify a previously decided legal case.
Commit: The power of a court to order a person to a correctional institution, mental hospital or juvenile facility.
Consent: Agreeing to something. A court order made “on consent” means that the parties agree to what is in the order.
Contempt of Court: An act done with the intent to disrespect, hinder, or prevent an order from the court. Contempt also means when a person does not do what a court order says they must do.
Counsel: Another word for attorney or lawyer.
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA): An agency that is appointed by a judge to monitor and report to the Family Court on foster care placement cases. An individual who works for or volunteers with the agency may also be referred to as “a CASA.” Ask your local Family Court if this agency is available in your county.
Court Attorney: A lawyer who works for a judge helping with legal research, drafting decisions, conferencing cases, and reviewing orders.
Court Clerk/Court Assistant: A court employee who works with a judge. The employee prepares court orders for signature, schedules cases, and helps ensure the availability of interpreters.
Court Officer/Deputy Sheriff: A uniformed guard who maintains order in the courtroom and public areas of the courthouse. Court officers are assigned to every courtroom. They may call parties into the hearing, administer oaths, and bring respondents to the courtroom from detention facilities in the building.
Cross-Examination: The questioning of a witness called by the other party to a case.
Cross-Petition: Called a counterclaim in other courts. A petition by the respondent that is in conflict with the original petition filed by the petitioner.
Custodial Parent: The parent who lives with the child.
Custody and Detention: The act of arresting a young person. After the juvenile is taken into custody, he or she may be detained, or held, for a limited period of time in a locked facility.