ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act: A law that ensures equal rights and accessibility for people with disabilities.

ACT: Assertive Community Treatment: ACT is an intensive and highly integrated approach for community mental health service delivery. ACT programs serve outpatients whose symptoms of mental illness result in serious functioning difficulties in several major areas of life, often including work, social relationships, residential independence, money management, and physical health and wellness.

ASAN: Autistic Self Advocacy Network: ASAN seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement in the world of autism. Drawing on the principles of the cross-disability community on issues such as inclusive education, community living supports and others, ASAN seeks to organize the community of Autistic adults and youth to have our voices heard in the national conversation about us.

CASAC: Certified Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor: Someone approved to work in addiction recovery

CASSP: Child and Adolescent Service System Program: A comprehensive mental heal program for children and their families.

CBO: Community-Based Organization: Nonprofits that operate in a specific local community

CCSI: Coordinated Children’s Services Initiative: Part of the council on children and families, a comprehensive mental health program for children, youth and families.

CPS: Child Protective Services: Part of Office of Children and Family Services, this sub-agency investigates child abuse and neglect situations, as well as encouraging people to report child abuse and providing rehabilitation  for both families and children.

DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Considered the bible of the American Psychiatric Association, this book catalogs the various recognized mental disorders and provides criteria for diagnosis.

DT: Day Treatment: Provides treatment in a non-hospital setting

ECT: Electroconvulsive Therapy:

EI: Early Intervention: Federally funded program intended to promote screening of children at risk, and securing services and supports at the earliest possible age.

FASD: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder:

HCBS: Home and Community Based Services: Opportunities for people on Medicaid to receive services in a non-institutional setting

HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act: The law that protects confidential medical information.

ICM: Intensive Case Manager: A worker who helps implementation of care plans for someone with serious mental health needs.

IEP: Individualized Education Plan: A plan that states a student’s unique educational services. Most students with disabilities have one.

ILC: Independent Living Center: a nonprofit agency supporting people with disabilities to help them live on their own. ILCs are run by people with disabilities, and are not places to live, just places to help you live on your own. ILC’s commonly organize support groups, provide transportation, and help train people in daily living skills. See the Rehab Act’s definition. (Title VII, sec. 702,1)

JRC: Judge Rotenberg Center: A residential school in Massachusetts known for giving electrical shocks to its students and depriving them of food for punishment. Their practices have been deemed torture by the United Nations.

NCD: National Council on Disability: NCD is an independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other federal agencies regarding policies, programs, practices, and procedures that affect people with disabilities. NCD is comprised of a team of fifteen Presidential appointees , an Executive Director appointed by the Chairman, and eleven, full-time professional staff.

OSP: Out of State Placement Committee: This committee was established by legislation in 2005. This law improves the monitoring of out-of-state residential placements, promotes coordination across all levels of government and establishes a process for identifying and considering in-state resources prior to making an out-of-state placement. 

SED: Serious Emotional Disturbance: A youth with a psychiatric disorder that meets one of several criteria, which can include disruption of daily life and uncontrolled emotion.

SSI: Supplemental Security Income: A program that provides money to people with disabilities who can only work part-time.

SPOA: Single Point of Access: A program making living in the community easier for adults with serious mental health needs.

SOC: Systems of Care: The philosophy that the various child-serving systems should communicate with one another and with child-serving resources like schools, community centers. Etc. It also means following certain values like being youth guided, family driven and sensitive to culture.

TAY: Transition Age Youth: Generally referring to young people between the ages of 14 and 26. The age of transition varies by system.

TIC: Trauma Informed Care: A treatment approach that takes into account the effects of multiple types of trauma.


For New York State government agency acronyms visit our links page.