A few people asked me recently about the difference between a framework and a child theme , I got this answer off the studiopress website which explained it pretty well to me back in the day
A website framework (ours is called Genesis) is a powerful type of WordPress theme — a “supertheme”, if you will.
A child theme sits on top of that framework and handles all the design and layout aspects of your website.
In talking about all this, it helps to think of your website as a car.
WordPress acts as the engine of your car.
Genesis (the framework) is the frame and body of the car, and is the basic design, security, and SEO foundation of your website. In handling all the core code, Genesis also helps to “future-proof” your site, so all your customizations won’t disappear when it comes time for your one-click software upgrades.
Lastly, a child theme is the pure design element that rests on top of your framework — the cherry red paint job on that car. Or blue. Or black. Pink. Green. You get the idea, whatever works for you …