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Minimum Standards for Licensed Private Child-Placing Agencies [22 VAC 40 ‑ 131]
Action Adopt new standards for licensed private child-placing agencies.
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 4/1/2011
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2/16/11  10:56 am
Commenter: Abigail Kauffman Wyche *

Provisions for short-term, respite and non-custodial care
 
Position Paper
Proposed Chapter 131
Standards For Licensed Child-Placing Agencies
 
Support for Revisions to Licensed Child Placing Agency Minimum Standards:
Volunteer Families, a Virginia Licensed Child Placing Agency (License #co-339-10), is pleased with the effort to revise minimum standards for licensure. As the only agency in the Commonwealth whose expressed mission is to provide a maximum of 21 days of emergency shelter and respite, Volunteer Families especially supports the distinction made in the new standards related to SHORT-TERM FOSTER CARE. After nearly 32 years of service to over 17,000 of Virginia’s at-risk children and youth, we have a great deal of evidence to support that short-term care meets a significant need. We also believe the services that we are able to provide as a licensed agency are in clear congruence with the Virginia Department of Social Services’ new practice model and the National child welfare movement to increase permanency for foster youth. Offering emergency shelter and ongoing respite to at-risk families, before an incidence of abuse or neglect occurs, will help keep families intact in the long run, while immediately serving the best interests and safety of children. However, the previous standards adopted in 1989, set up significant barriers for agencies like ours to meet requirements and conduct our work efficiently and effectively.
Primary Concerns Regarding Revisions:
 
While we support the short-term foster care distinction, there are several areas in which we believe the recent revisions do not go far enough in removing barriers to quality service provision. The following are Volunteer Families’ suggestions for rewording specific sections of the standards:
 
PROPOSED SECTION 22 VAC 40-131-29 Medical, dental, and psychiatric examinations and care
“Each child shall have a medical examination conducted by or under the direction of a licensed physician no earlier than 90 days prior to placement, except in the following situations.”
1.       “An emergency-placed child shall have up to 60 days following placement to receive a medical examination if a written medical examination no earlier than 90 days prior to placement is not available.”
2.       VOLUNTEER FAMILIES SUGGESTED ADDITION: “In the case of temporary parental entrustment of a child into short-term care or respite, the licensed agency will identify obtaining medical care for the child as a primary service plan goal, and assist the parent and child with meeting that goal in no less than 60 days following placement, if a written medical examination no earlier than 90 days prior to placement is not available.”
REASONING: Frequently, the families seeking short-term care and respite through parental entrustment are by definition in crisis. While agencies like Volunteer Families prioritize the physical health of children, we do not want to restrict families from receiving the emergency help that they seek. This is especially true if the very nature of the situation which has brought them to our door step has also limited their ability to obtain medical care in the last 90 days. As a part of their service plan, we can help these families connect to appropriate medical services, but once their temporary entrustment end, we have no authority to force parents to take their children to a doctor. Since placements with our agency last no longer than 21 days, that places a more stringent burden on our agency to arrange appointments and provide transportation than is placed on other licensed child placing agencies (60 days, as listed in exception #1 above). We also recommend making the above exception applicable to dental exam requirements. 
PROPOSED SECTION 22VAC40-131-230 Monitoring and Re-evaluation of the Host Home
F. “The licensee shall document the following for each re-evaluation conducted:
2. The results of an evaluation of the providers' performance to include his:
d. Ability to establish and maintain a consistent and stable environment for each child and including in this evaluation, the identification and resolution of problems or significant changes that occurred in the family since the last evaluation”
VOLUNTEER FAMILIES SUGGESTED ADDITION: “Exception - For re-evaluations of providers of short-term foster care only, instead of addressing the provider’s consistency and stability for each child placed since the last evaluation, the licensee should conduct an overall evaluation of the providers ability to assist the children in their home with transitioning to and from care.”
REASONING: Since the primary goal for short-term care is to provide safe and nurturing shelter during a transitional period in the life of a child, it is of greater importance that the providers understand how to help children successfully transition between home settings, than to provide long-term stability. In addition, because short-term providers typically care for more children over a 36 month period than long-term providers, it is more practical to conduct an overall assessment of the provider’s performance in this area than to look at each child’s case at the time of re-evaluation when they provides does short-term care only.
 
PROPOSED SECTION 22VAC40-131-250 Intake, Acceptance, and Placement
H. 3. A (2). VOLUNTEER FAMILIES SUGGESTED ADDITION: Except in the case of parental placement in short-term foster care or respite, for a child under one year old the admission examination shall consist of a hospital summary and a physician signed report of interim care no older than 30 days that documents the absence of abnormalities or if abnormalities are present the report shall contain an explanation of abnormalities observed. 
REASONING: While it is important for the licensee to capture as much medical information as possible at the point of intake, in the case of parental placement, there may be no to suspect that there are any abnormalities in the child’s development or that the child has been hospitalized since birth. Parental placements are often made without any reported allegations of abuse or neglect by the parent.
N. VOLUNTEER FAMILIES SUGGESTED ADDITION: Except when the placement of the child is an emergency placement or placement intended to last no longer than 30 days, the licensee shall prepare the child for placement and arrange a pre placement visit for the child in the prospective home. If a pre placement visit did not take place prior to the child’s placement, the reasons why it did not occur shall be documented in the child’s file. 
REASONING: The intent of pre-placement visit is to help ensure that a child and a foster family are well-matched for long-term placement. While the licensee can and should use a variety of tools to match children and families prior to placement, a pre-placement visit may not be necessary prior to intended to last longer than 30 days.
PROPOSED SECTION 22VAC40-131-260 Social History
B. The social history shall be documented in the record of each child and shall include the following:
8. Education and occupation of the child's parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents;
VOLUNTEER FAMILIES SUGGESTED ADDITION: a. Exception – in the case of emergency or short-term placement, education and occupation information for the parents and siblings ONLY are required.
9. Medical and psychiatric history of the child's parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents as it relates to the suitability of the child for placement;
VOLUNTEER FAMILIES SUGGESTED ADDITION: a. Exception – in the case of emergency or short-term placement, medical and psychiatric information for the parents and siblings ONLY are required.
REASONING: This level of detail on the history of extended family members may not be available, nor pertinent, to the child’s short-term care.
Request for Official Clarification:
PROPOSED SECTION 22VAC40—131-250 Intake Acceptance and Placement
C. Prior to any placement of a child in an independent living arrangement, the licensee shall secure written authority to make the placement. The written authority to place includes one of the following:
1. A court order, issued by any court of competent jurisdiction, that commits the child to the care of the licensee;
2. A permanent entrustment by the parent or parents or other person having legal custody of the child;
3. A temporary entrustment by the parent or parents or other person having legal custody of the child;
4. A placement agreement from an child-placing agency or person having legal custody of the child; or
5. A placement agreement signed by the local department of social services having jurisdiction when a noncustodial agreement has been signed between a parent or legal guardian and the local department or another public agency.
VOLUNTEER FAMILIES QUESTIONS:
Under these standards, can a parent (legal guardian) enter into a “placement agreement” directly with Volunteer Families (LCPA) without the involvement of a local department of social services or the court? How does a placement agreement with a parent differ from a temporary entrustment? What should be contained in a placement agreement made directly between an LCPA and a legal parent?
PROPOSED SECTION 22VAC40-131-370
O. If services are provided to the child's birth family, the licensee shall maintain a file on each child's birth parents. The file may be separate from the child's file or combined and maintained in the child's file. The file shall include:
1. An up-to-date face sheet documenting:
a. Names, addresses, telephone numbers, and marital status of each parent;
b. Names of known members of the birth family;
c. Current whereabouts, addresses, and telephone numbers, when available, of each known member of the birth family; and
d. A cross reference to the file of the child unless the birth family's information is maintained in the child's file.
VOLUNTEER FAMILIES QUESTIONS:
Does case management (linking to services) offered to the family as a part of the service plan for the child constitute “services provided to the birth family?”
 
 
PROPOSED SECTION 22VAC40-131-410
Article 2
Short-term Foster Care
22VAC40-131-410. Applicability.
In addition to applicability requirements specified by 22VAC40-131-20, programs licensed to provide short-term foster care services shall also comply with the requirements of this article.
22VAC40-131-420
22VAC40-131-420. Children placed in short-term foster care.
A. The licensee shall allow foster parents access to alternate planned and crisis foster care for their foster children.
B. Foster children in need of alternate planned or crisis foster care services shall only be placed in a home that has:
1. Been approved by a Virginia child-placing agency as a provider for the receiving of placed children; and
2. Received training as required by this chapter.
C. The licensee shall inform the provider of the child's treatment and service plan at the time of placement of the child.
D. The licensee shall oversee and provide support and supervision as necessary to the provider in the home provider's implementation of the child's treatment and service plan.
 
VOLUNTEER FAMILIES QUESTIONS:
What is the intended purpose of the above section?   How does this section apply, or not apply, to agencies which ONLY provide short-term foster care?

2/16/11  2:10 pm
Commenter: Bob Snodgrass, People Places, Inc. *

General Feedback on CPA Standards
 
General Feedback on CPA Standards  (Contact:  Bob Snodgrass, People Places, Inc.)
 
Comments are in bold and underlined beneath the appropriate outline topic.
 
Part I
 
Definitions
  1. Adoptive home
  2. Adoptive parent
  3. Adoptive placement
  4. Adult
  5. Annual
    Thanks for the extra month.  Will help with Medicaid coverage.
  6. Applicant
  7. Background checks
  8. Behavior support
  9. Birth parent
  10. Caretaker
    OK as long as interpretation of IV. means only those adults "having the responsibility of providing care ...".  Otherwise might have situation where granddad with advanced Alzheimer's is considered a caretaker
  11. Career and technical education
    Not sure how this term is used in the Standards.  Doesn't appear again.
  12. Case Management
  13. Casework
  14. Casework staff
  15. Child
  16. Child-placing activities
    This seems an unusually broad definition considering the itemizations.  We could have a situation where a child is in family counseling around the general topic of adoption and that counselor should have a CPA license.  Or an Intensive In-home provider is doing work including casework with a child in regular foster care and should have a CPA license.  Suggest that the very first sentence of the definition is sufficient here because it limits the definition to those involved in child placing not the broader realm of child services.
  17. Child-placing agency
  18. Child's family
  19. Commissioner
  20. Complaint
  21. Corporal punishment
  22. Department
  23. Dual approval process
  24. Emergency placement
  25. Employee, staff or staff person
  26. Foster care placement
    Don't we need to include one more condition here similar to (i) but not involving the local board but instead another non-DSS agency rep on the FAPT?
  27. Foster care services
    See omission above in #26.
  28. Foster home
  29. Foster parent
  30. Independent living arrangement
  31. Independent living services
  32. In-service training
  33. Intercountry placement
  34. Interstate compact on the placement of children
  35. Licensee
  36. Licensing representative
  37. Local board
  38. Local department
  39. Mental abuse
  40. Mutual selection
  41. Parent
  42. Parental placement
  43. Permanent entrustment agreement
  44. Permanent foster care placement
  45. Physical abuse
  46. Physical neglect
  47. Physical restraint
  48. Placing agency
  49. Pre-service training
  50. Provider
  51. Records
  52. Resource parent
  53. Seclusion
  54. Serious incident reports
  55. Service plan
  56. Sexual abuse
  57. Short-term foster care
  58. Special needs
  59. State Board
  60. Treatment
  61. Treatment foster care
  62. Treatment foster parent
  63. Treatment team
  64. Youth
Scope and Applicability
 
Part II
 
Organization and Administration
  1. Sponsorship
  2. Licensee
  3. Office Settings and Conditions
  4. Posting of the License
  5. Conflict of Interest
  6. Licensed capacity and Maximum Caseload Numbers
  7. Policy and Procedures
  8. Program Evaluation and Improvement
    Very nice addition to standards!
  9. Received Date for Materials
Part III
 
Personnel
  1. Access to Written Personnel Policies
  2. Job Descriptions
  3. Staff
    • Executive Director
    • Program Director
    • Child-placing Supervisor
    • Case Worker
    • Case Worker Trainee
    • Students or Interns receiving Professional Training
      H.1. Requirement to be supervised by an MSW.  This is the only mention of this specific degree requirement in the new standards.  Is this intentional?  Is a Child Placing Supervisor not sufficient if the college/university is OK with that qualification (particularly given the new experience requirements)?
    • Volunteers
    • Consultants
  4. Staff Development
    D.E. uses expression "a child-placing agency-managed" file to describe where training documentation is to be kept.  We assume this expression means the Personnel Record for the employee as that is what is prescribed in the Personnel Records section below.
  5. Personnel Records
Part IV
 
Program Statement and Description
B.2. prohibiting discrimination based on ....., 'sexual orientation' and cannot deny the opportunity to become a foster or adoptive parent.  That's about as clear as you can get regarding state endorsement of approving gay & lesbian individuals or couples as foster and adoptive parents.  Are we reading that correctly?  At least this will put an end to any ambiguity around the issue.
 
Part V
 
Provider Homes
  1. Home Study Requirements
    "verifications of provider couple's marriages and divorces" ... This is the standard which we took in the past to mean that if the provider is a couple and they cannot verify they are married, then we cannot use them.  We assume that this interpretation is now incorrect considering the new anti-discrimination clause referred to above.
  2. Home Environment
    S. "Applicant shall document that household pets etc"  The devil will surely be in the Guidance on this one.
  3. Initial Approval or Disapproval of Home
    H.  "Following approval ... shall provide orientation etc."  The usual practice in TFC is to do orientation and pre-service training before or during the actual home study process since training serves also as an opportunity for mutual selection.
  4. Provider training and Development
  5. Training and Development for Providers of Short-term foster care
  6. Monitoring and Re-evaluation of Provider Homes
    K.1&2 "Document each visit and contact with provider etc."  Assume this standard relates only to visits and contacts with families who have no placements and during process of evaluating.  Visits and contacts made on behalf of placed children are documented and kept in the child's record.
  7. Capacity of Provider Home
Part VI

Children's Services
  1. Intake, Acceptance and Placement
    D. "Prior to provision of IL services ... if 18 ...shall enter into a contractual agreement ..."   If this new requirement does not apply to individuals receiving only routine IL skills training which all TFC programs are encouraged to deliver to all youth, then the statement should read "Prior to provision of IL placement services ..."
  2. Social History
  3. Interstate Placements
  4. Foster Home Agreements
    The current Foster Home Agreement which now includes the new Code of Ethics is 5 pages long.  Over 20 additional items have been added here and it likely that this new agreement might reach 10 pages or more.  This does not seem reasonable especially for certain placements such as weekend respites.  Items such as permissions (for out-of-state travel & fundraising) are most always not relevant for these short placements.  We currently keep such agreements in the child's record and inform foster parents as needed.  Often agreements such as these have to be 'agreed upon' for each instance of out-of-state travel etc., so DSS may be reluctant to sign away such permissions to a foster parent on a non-specific basis.
  5. Medical, Dental, and Psychiatric Examinations and Care
    Thanks for the 60 days.  That will be a big help.
    K.2.  run-on sentence.
    The section on medical requirements for providers seems out-of-place here in the Children's Services section.
  6. School Enrollment
  7. Clothing and Spending Money for Children
  8. Reports and Policies to protect Children
  9. Visitation and Continuing Contact with Children
    F.  "More than half of contacts made with child shall be in placement setting" ... Reword to say that more than 6 of these contacts shall be in placement setting.  Otherwise, if I see the child in the office 10 times in a month, I need to do 6 home visits that month.  We're sure the intent here is that more than half the minimum required face-to-face contacts shall be in the placement setting.  Otherwise it would surely discourage seeing the child in places other than the placement setting in order to keep the number of home visits required to a reasonable number.

    G.1. "... 7 days between ... contacts".  While we understand and agree with the intent here, this will be very difficult to monitor and pose real practical problems from time to time.  Maybe we could have two months/year exception to the rule to make it more doable.
  10. Service Plans
    B.2. "Within 45 days ... an individualized service plan and an individualized comprehensive treatment plan."  The use of the conjunction 'and' implies two plans.  Would be a little less confusing to state 'an individualized service plan or individualized service and treatment plan' to distinguish the Service Plan from the Service/Treatment Plan.

    C.  "in .. case of short-term foster care placement ... shall develop and implement plan within 72 hours."  Is this intended to apply to programs offering respite care to bio families from the community?  If so, then the requirement to have a full-blown service plan written in 72 hours will greatly discourage agencies from developing or continuing this service.  The purpose of these programs is to offer families temporary respite and relief, not to treat their child which would be difficult in so short a period of time.  It takes our staff at least one full day to write the initial comprehensive service plan.
  11. Quarterly Progress Summaries
  12. Discharge from care
  13. Case Record Requirements ... mixes all three sets of records (client, provider & birth family)
    N.1-10 Child's file: Items 1 thru 10 are a little confusing as organized here.  For instance it is not clear which items address required content for the face sheet (1 only or 1 thru 5)

    P. "... file on each adoptive family"  In typical foster to adopt situations, it has always been confusing as to whether one or two files for the provider are required.  Only one seems needed.

    Q. "Narrative Case notes ..." Would seem better to put this section under the Child's file section.

    R.  Would seem better to put these final rules above in the general rules section for all records/files.
  14. Behavior Support & Crisis Intervention
Part VII
 
Article I
 
Permanent Foster Care
  1. Applicability
  2. Children placed in Permanent Foster Care
    This section appears to apply only to custodial agencies.  TFC and other non-custodial foster care programs facilitate placements in Permanent Foster Homes which they have approved, but do no legal or other work (Agreements etc.) related specifically to the permanency issue.  Might be a good idea to clarify this fact here and in the adoption section below.
Article 2
 
Short-Term Foster Care
  1. Applicability
  2. Children Placed in Short-term Foster Care
Article 3
 
Independent Living Arrangements
  1. Applicability
  2. Youth placed in Independent Living Arrangements
Article 4
 
Treatment Foster Care
  1. Applicability
  2. Children Placed in Treatment Foster Care
Article 5
 
Adoption
  1. Applicability
  2. Fees for Adoption Applications and Services
  3. Adoption Counseling and Services for Birth Parents
  4. Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
  5. Provisions for Adopting Children with Special Needs
    A. Assume here that the custodial agency has the responsibility to register child with the Adoption Resource Exchange.  Should be clarified.

    B.  Most TFC agencies that do adoption do foster to adopt.  Parents are approved as TFC/foster parents first but willing or can be talked into adopting the placed child if the fit is right.  Their primary interest is not first in adoption and therefore it would seem to be inappropriate to register them with the Exchange.  There are a few parents whose interest is primarily in adoption and it would be totally appropriate to register them on the Exchange.  Can this be clarified here?
  6. Selecting an Adoptive Home
  7. Adoption Placement Agreement
  8. Placements requiring Legal Risk Agreement
  9. Adoptive Placement of Children over one year of age;  additional provisions
  10. Parental Placement Adoption Services
  11. Parent-recommended Homes for Adoptive Placements
  12. Post-placement responsibility for Adoptive Home Placements
  13. Intercountry Placement Adoptions
  14. Interlocutory Orders of Adoption
  15. Subsequent Adoptive Placements

3/16/11  10:08 am
Commenter: Nanette Jarratt, United Methodist Family Services *

Feedback Regarding Proposed CPA Standards
 

First and foremost, UMFS acknowledges all the effort that was taken in drafting the 2011 proposed standards. UMFS Staff appreciate all of the opportunities for open communication the State has provided during this revision process.

 

Regarding the overall content of the proposed standards, most appears clear and reasonable. Specific areas where we felt further clarification and guidance would be helpful are noted below:

 

22VAC40-131-190. Home Environment.  

S. The applicant shall maintain documentation that household pets receive tests, inoculations, and licenses as required by law.

Clarification needed: does this mean that all vet records are needed for all indoor and outdoor pets or just what are the parameters around this? Also, what specific documentation would be needed in the resource/adoptive parent files to meet this requirement?

 

22VAC40-131-210. Provider training and development.

Clarification needed as to whether these training topics are required for International families as some of the topics are only pertinent in domestic adoption cases.

 

22VAC40-131-180. Home Study Requirement

O. A home study conducted for the purpose of parental placement or placement of a child by the licensee shall remain valid for a period of 36 months from the approval date of the study. For adoption cases, before finalization of an adoption in which more than 18 months have passed since the completion date of the study, the licensee may obtain additional state criminal background checks on the applicants and all other adults living in the home of the applicant.

Question: so is it optional to run background checks after 18 months if the adoption hasn’t finalized rather than a requirement?

 

22VAC40-131-340. Service Plans

Question: does this include children through Child Specific Recruitment (Adoption) programs? (They may not be physically with us, but are receiving services.)

 

22VAC40-131-510.Provisions for adopting children with special needs:

A. The licensee shall ensure that children with special needs, as defined by § 63.2-1300 of the Code of Virginia, who are legally free for adoption are registered with the Adoption Resource Exchange of Virginia within 30 days of termination of parental rights unless an adoptive family has been identified.

Concern: we have no authority over DSS workers to ensure that this will happen within that timeframe

 

D. The licensee shall ensure that necessary and appropriate services and treatment are provided to children with special needs, including arranging for necessary services after the final order.

Concern: could be a huge undertaking depending on the case – what are the parameters or guidance around this?

 

22VAC40-131-250. Intake, acceptance, and placement.

H. Prior to accepting a child for placement in a foster care home, treatment foster care home, short-term foster care home, or an independent living arrangement, the licensee shall gather, review, and document the following information in the child's file:

Question: this makes it sound like the documentation needs to be done for the items laid out in numbers 1 through 8 before the placement of the child is made. We currently collect all this information prior to; however; the documentation of it is typically completed within 5 days of the placement. It may be challenging completing it all prior to placement, especially in those instances when there’s an urgency for placement

 

Question: There didn’t seem to be a place within the proposed standards that provided guidance around what documentation is required when a child is placed but is discharged prior to 30 days. If a child comes in to care  due to an Emergency Removal Order, is placed in a TFC home, and then the Judge orders them back home at the Preliminary Hearing or a placement disrupts  prior 30 days , what paperwork is required to be completed?

 

One final question: If these pass, what is our timeframe for implementation?

Thank you for your time and consideration. We’ve appreciated the opportunity to review the proposed standards and provide our comments.

 

Respectfully,

Nanette Jarratt

John Jenks

United Methodist Family Services

 


3/28/11  3:39 pm
Commenter: Stanton Phillips - Adoption Attorney *

Unintentional Error Resulting in Private Agencies Going to Court Frequently
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The following section needs to be corrected as underlined, otherwise private agencies will need to bring court actions to terminate parental rights where the law does not currently require them. This will add an unecessary expense on private agencies.

 

 
22VAC40-131-250. Intake, acceptance, and placement.
E. Prior to placement of a child for adoption, the licensee shall secure written authority to make the placement. The written authority shall be in the form of one of the following:
1. An order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction documenting the termination of parental rights and responsibilities of each parent;
2. A notarized entrustment agreement signed by both parents or other person having legal authority to consent to the adoption (STRIKE:custody) of the child;
3. A notarized entrustment agreement signed by one parent no other parent or individual has the legal right to consent to the adoption;
4. An order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction approving the transfer of the child's custody from one agency to another; or
5. When allowed by law, a notarized written agreement approving the transfer of the child's custody from one agency to another.
REASON: (2) Custody is not legally enough. (3) Need to add, otherwise agencies forced to pursue court action for termination of parental rights when an individual’s consent is not required by law. (5) Court approval is not normally required when a child is transferred between private agencies; also no court order required in common practice of Korean agency transferring custody to US Agency.

.


3/29/11  10:49 am
Commenter: Robert Mackay, LDS Family Services *

Faith Based Services should be Preserved
 

The proposed rules prohibit agencies from discriminating based on race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability and family status.  This blanket prohibition fails to recognize that some agencies are sponsored by religious organizations and that the mission of such Agencies is to place children with members of a specific Church or religious philosophy.  LDS Family Services is one such Agency.  Its mission is to place children with members in good standing of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The Agency was formed by that Church and is sponsored by that Church for such a purpose.  Under constitutional principles of free exercise of religion, LDS Family Services is entitled to discriminate on the basis of religion.  The same is true of other agencies. 

The proposed rule should be revised to reflect the right of religiously-affiliated agencies to discriminate in adoptive and foster placement on the basis of religion.


3/29/11  2:41 pm
Commenter: Ryan Hanlon *

Separate licensing regulations for different types of agencies
 

To Whom It May Concern,

The proposed changes to the child-placeing agency standards don't address the signficant differences between the types of agencies that are all licensed by the same regulations.

A foster care agency a domestic placement agency and an international placement agency conduct very different work and shouldn't be subjected to the same licensing standards. 

Sincerely,

Ryan Hanlon


3/29/11  2:48 pm
Commenter: Ryan Hanlon, America World Adoption *

Family Status
 

The proposed regulations say that a licensee cannot discriminate based upon family status.  That seems like too broad of a regulation to put on social workers/agencies.  I think it would be wholly inappropriate to do a family assessment and not be allowed to consider family status as part of a determination for a child placement.  I can imagine many scenarios when a single individual may not be qualified for the same placement as a couple due to the ages, specials needs and number of children being placed. 

 

 


3/30/11  9:09 am
Commenter: Melanie G Yost, CPA *

New proposed licensing regulation regarding adoption agencies
 

I am writing about my concern about the proposed reg concerning faith based adoption agencies. 

I love my country and especially the principles on which it was founded.  Our founding fathers gave the credit to God for many things.  See www.wallbuilders.com for examples of some of these historical documents

I am very concerned in the way our country is heading and I believe that is why we are no longer the most prosperous country in the world.  We have gotten away from our roots and how we were founded.  Do we want to turn this country around and become the greatest country in the world??  If so, let's get back to how it started. 

Please carefully look at the regulation that is being propsed that would limit Christian adoption agencies from accepting Christian applicants.  You may run those great agencies out of your state and make a bigger splash nationwide!!  When other states allow them to continue and you don't, you could get a much worse black eye.


3/30/11  9:11 am
Commenter: Mandy Maddox *

Adoption Rights
 

Good morning,

I am writing in response to an article I read concerning revisions to the legal regulations that govern the licensing of adoption agencies in the state.  This article explained that faith-based agencies will be denied the right to provide services in accordance with their religious and moral beliefs.This issue hits very close to home for me as my sister and brother-in-law are currently in the adoption process and waiting to bring their little boy home. 

I am asking you to please protect the rights of these agencies and look at what is best for the child.  There are many loving individuals who are looking for a child to bring home and these agencies all offer different service.  Please allow this type of screening at particular agencies.  Please let me know if there is any more I can do.  This saddens me and I hate to see this option taken away from a child.

Thank you for your time.

Mandy Maddox


3/30/11  9:41 am
Commenter: Tracy Wages *

opposition to Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B)
 

 

I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of citizens of faith working together to care for and protect children. In fact, a significant number of children who are adopted today are adopted with the help of faith-based organizations. These groups have been successful at protecting children and providing them with permanent, loving homes because of their tireless advocacy on behalf of children. The proposed regulation, however, would forever silence one of the strongest voices for children in the Commonwealth.

This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.

I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.

I will be following this issue and your response closely.

 


3/30/11  10:02 am
Commenter: Diane Goins *

New regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services
 

To Whom it May Conern:

I am writing to express my opposition to the new regulations proposed by the Virginia

Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies,

and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the

free exercise of religion and is an attempt to aleviate the rights of one group of citizens at the

expense of another. What's worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world 

will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law. I urge you to do 

everything in your power to appose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based 

organizations to continue to serve children.

Sincerely,

 Diane Goins


3/30/11  10:40 am
Commenter: Jami Gardner *

Attention Virginia Department of Social Services
 
I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of citizens of faith working together to care for and protect children. In fact, a significant number of children who are adopted today are adopted with the help of faith-based organizations. These groups have been successful at protecting children and providing them with permanent, loving homes because of their tireless advocacy on behalf of children. The proposed regulation, however, would forever silence one of the strongest voices for children in the Commonwealth.

This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.

I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.

I will be following this issue and your response closely.


3/30/11  11:36 am
Commenter: Leigh Ann Thomas, Adoptive Parent *

Proposed Regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B)
 

I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of citizens of faith working together to care for and protect children. In fact, a significant number of children who are adopted today are adopted with the help of faith-based organizations. These groups have been successful at protecting children and providing them with permanent, loving homes because of their tireless advocacy on behalf of children. The proposed regulation, however, would forever silence one of the strongest voices for children in the Commonwealth.

This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.

I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.

I will be following this issue and your response closely.

Leigh Ann Thomas

Adoptive Parent, AWAA


3/30/11  12:09 pm
Commenter: Nancy Jo Gibson *

Christian Adoption Agencies within the state of Virginia
 

I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of citizens of faith working together to care for and protect children. In fact, a significant number of children who are adopted today are adopted with the help of faith-based organizations. These groups have been successful at protecting children and providing them with permanent, loving homes because of their tireless advocacy on behalf of children. The proposed regulation, however, would forever silence one of the strongest voices for children in the Commonwealth.

This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.

I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.

I will be following this issue and your response closely.

Nancy Jo Gibson


3/30/11  1:40 pm
Commenter: Mary Rockey *

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170 (B)
 
 

I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of citizens of faith working together to care for and protect children. In fact, a significant number of children who are adopted today are adopted with the help of faith-based organizations. These groups have been successful at protecting children and providing them with permanent, loving homes because of their tireless advocacy on behalf of children. The proposed regulation, however, would forever silence one of the strongest voices for children in the Commonwealth.

This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.

I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.

I will be following this issue and your response closely.

          Sincerely,

          Mary Rockey


3/30/11  2:08 pm
Commenter: Cindy Foote *

22 VAC 40-141-170(B)
 

I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.

This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.

I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.

      I will be following this issue and your response closely.

Concerned,

Cindy Foote

 

    

 


3/30/11  2:12 pm
Commenter: Sarah Cameron *

I am against 22 VAC 40-131-170(B)
 

I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of citizens of faith working together to care for and protect children. In fact, a significant number of children who are adopted today are adopted with the help of faith-based organizations. These groups have been successful at protecting children and providing them with permanent, loving homes because of their tireless advocacy on behalf of children. The proposed regulation, however, would forever silence one of the strongest voices for children in the Commonwealth.

This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.

I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.

I will be following this issue and your response closely.


3/30/11  2:19 pm
Commenter: Eric Scholten *

Licensing of Adoption Agencies
 
Dear Sir,
 
My wife and I are currently adopting a 4-yr-old from Virginia through Bethany Christian Services located in Virginia Beach.
 
I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.
 
Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.
 
The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of citizens of faith working together to care for and protect children. In fact, a significant number of children who are adopted today are adopted with the help of faith-based organizations. These groups have been successful at protecting children and providing them with permanent, loving homes because of their tireless advocacy on behalf of children. The proposed regulation, however, would forever silence one of the strongest voices for children in the Commonwealth.
 
This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.
 
I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.
 
I will be following this issue and your response closely.

3/30/11  3:06 pm
Commenter: Julie Mullins *

legislation dealing with adoption agencies
 

3/30/11  3:26 pm
Commenter: Leanna Johnson *

Opposition to proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B)
 

3/30/11  5:17 pm
Commenter: Valerie Crisp -- Bethany Christian Services *

Comments on Proposed Regulations
 
Bethany Christian Services (Richmond, Fredericksburg, Fairfax, and Charlottesville area)
Valerie Crisp, JD, MA
Domestic Adoption Supervisor
 
22VAC40-131-170
B. The licensee shall prohibit acts of discrimination based on race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or family status to:
1. Delay or deny a child’s placement; or
2. Deny an individual the opportunity to apply to become a foster or adoptive parent
 
 
 
Comment:
The Code of Virginia does not permit the approval of unmarried couples (heterosexual or homosexual) for adoptive placements.  See Code of Virginia reference below
§ 63.2-1225. Determination of appropriate home.
A.     In determining the appropriate home in which to place a child for adoption, a married couple or an unmarried individual shall be eligible to receive placement of a child for purposes of adoption.
 
Comment:
Bethany Christian Services is a private child-placing agency which receives no state or federal funding and is within its rights to exercise its religious freedom by establishing Christian faith criteria for families who desire to participate in Bethany Christian Services’ private domestic infant adoption program. Bethany Christian Services requests that theproposed regulation be stricken or be modified to address a private agency’s right to establish private program criteria as an exercise of its religious freedom.
 
22VAC40-131-210. Provider training and development
A.     The licensee shall ensure that pre-service training is provided for resource foster, treatment foster, short-term foster, and adoptive family home providers. This training shall address but not be limited to the following core competencies:
8.       Support of older youth’s transition to independent living
 
Comment:
Number 8 pertains to support of older youth’s transition to independent living. Bethany Christian Services, in many locations, does not offer services for older youth. Bethany Christian Services requests that this training parameter be amended to include a notation that the training be completed (if applicable) since this training component would not be applicable to the agency’s domestic infant adoption program.
 
22VAC40-131-250 Intake, acceptance, and placement
E. Prior to placement of a child for adoption, the licensee shall secure written authority to make the placement. The written authority shall be in the form of one of the following:
1. An order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction documenting the termination of parental rights and responsibilities of each parent;
2. A notarized entrustment agreement signed by both parents or other person having legal custody of the child...
 
Comment:
The Code of Virginia states that an entrustment agreement for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities with respect to the child shall be valid notwithstanding that it is not signed by the birth father of a child born out of wedlock. Please see the Code of Virginia section below. The regulation in its current form requires that a notarized entrustment be signed by both parents in order for an adoptive placement to occur. Bethany Christian Services places children for adoption without having a notarized entrustment agreement signed by both parents because the Code of Virginia does not require that entrustment agreements be signed by both parents in all cases. Bethany Christian Services requests that this regulation be modified to state that a notarized entrustment agreement signed by a child’s biological mother will be sufficient to permit an adoptive placement.
§ 63.2-1222. Execution of entrustment agreement by birth parent(s); exceptions; notice and objection to entrustment; copy required to be furnished; requirement for agencies outside the Commonwealth.
B.     An entrustment agreement for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities with respect to the child shall be valid notwithstanding that it is not signed by the birth father of a child born out of wedlock if the identity of the birth father is not reasonably ascertainable or such birth father did not register with the Putative Father Registry pursuant to Article 7 (§ 63.2-1249 et seq.) of this chapter or the birth father named by the birth mother denies under oath and in writing the paternity of the child. An affidavit signed by the birth mother stating that the identity of the birth father is unknown may be filed with the court alleging that the identity of the birth father is not known or reasonably ascertainable. A birth father shall be given notice of the entrustment if he is an acknowledged father pursuant to § 20-49.1, an adjudicated father pursuant to § 20-49.8, a presumed father pursuant to § 63.2-1202, or a putative father who has registered with Putative Father Registry pursuant to Article 7 (§ 63.2-1249 et seq.) of this chapter. If the putative father's identity is reasonably ascertainable, he shall be given notice pursuant to the requirements of § 63.2-1250.
 
 

3/30/11  6:30 pm
Commenter: Pastor Jonathan Matías, Grace Church of Alexandria *

Stating Opposition to Proposed Regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B)
 

On behalf of our congregation, I write to oppose regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) for infringement of free exercise of religion according to the U.S. Constitution and Virginia Constitution and for suppressing orphan care in the state of Virginia.

Our Commonwealth ought to be concerned about the plight of orphans in our state and be freeing up avenues for adoption rather than restricting avenues for orphan care. The ability of private (note-private) adoption agencies to pursue their mission of caring for orphans would be greatly curtailed if they were required to accept anyone into their program instead of those they are equipped and prepared to help adopt children. I and our congregation respectfully call upon the Virginia Department of Social Services to withdraw their proposed policy.

Respectfully,
Pastor Jonathan T. Matías
Grace Church of Alexandria
www.graceofalexandria.org
703.639.4077
 

 


3/30/11  7:10 pm
Commenter: Lydia Willette *

Adoption Agencies Rights
 

I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of citizens of faith working together to care for and protect children. In fact, a significant number of children who are adopted today are adopted with the help of faith-based organizations. These groups have been successful at protecting children and providing them with permanent, loving homes because of their tireless advocacy on behalf of children. The proposed regulation, however, would forever silence one of the strongest voices for children in the Commonwealth.

This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.

I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.

I will be following this issue and your response closely.


3/30/11  7:45 pm
Commenter: Harriett Hanke, America World Adoption Association *

re: Faith-based adoption agencies
 

In our United States of America, religious freedom should mean that a faith-based organization can pursue a ministry of adoption. Within that ministry of adoption, the faith organization has the responsibility of establishing acceptable standards for families who wish to adopt based on the values of the faith based organization. Currently, families have a choice to use the state or non-faith based organization if they do not wish to be limited by the standards of the faith-based organization. Virginia, as well as the rest of the United States needs to continue to offer the option of using faith or non-faith based organizations in which to adopt their children. This would continue to be a hallmark of our religious freedeom! 

I am very proud of America World Adoption and the superior standards we use to place children in outstanding homes! We, to date, have placed over 3,000 precious children and they are thriving with these families. Please carefully consider what it means to offer religious freedeom in our Commonwealth.  Thank you! Harriett Hanke

 


3/30/11  8:11 pm
Commenter: Jim Calnan *

Violation of the righst of faith-based child welfare agencies.
 

I am a parent currently in the international adoption process with a wonderful faith-based organization that has its headquarters in Virginia.  The primary reason my family is utilizing this Virginia adoption agency is because it's a faith-based organization.  

I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of citizens of faith working together to care for and protect children. In fact, a significant number of children who are adopted today are adopted with the help of faith-based organizations. These groups have been successful at protecting children and providing them with permanent, loving homes because of their tireless advocacy on behalf of children. The proposed regulation, however, would forever silence one of the strongest voices for children in the Commonwealth.

This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.

I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.

I will be following this issue and your response closely.


3/30/11  9:02 pm
Commenter: Debra B. Anderson *

22 VAC 40-131-170 (B)
 

I AM WRITING TO EXPRESS MY OPPOSITION TO NEW REGULATIONS PROPOSED BY THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES THAT VIOLATE THE RIGHTS OF FAITH-BASED CHILD WELFARE AGENCIES, AND WILL DENY COUNTLESS ORPHANED AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN THE RIGHT TO A PERMANENT, LOVING FAMILY. 


3/30/11  9:52 pm
Commenter: Andrew French *

Adoption Agencies should be allowed to be religious
 

I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of citizens of faith working together to care for and protect children. In fact, a significant number of children who are adopted today are adopted with the help of faith-based organizations. These groups have been successful at protecting children and providing them with permanent, loving homes because of their tireless advocacy on behalf of children. The proposed regulation, however, would forever silence one of the strongest voices for children in the Commonwealth.

This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.

I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.

I will be following this issue and your response closely.


3/30/11  11:15 pm
Commenter: Abigail Shaw *

Adoptions
 

In regards to the proposed changes in the faith based adoptions agencies, I feel the change would negatively impact the adoption process if an agency were forced to accept all applicants.  My chiltd was born into a Christian environment and raised in a Christian orphanage.  Ideally, it made her transition much easier.  I feel that choosing an agency is a free choice, and I choose a faith based organization that allows me to feel comfortable with a full range of emotions with adoption and the counseling that is needed.  Please allow me to continue this.


3/31/11  2:00 am
Commenter: A Pruitt *

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170
 

am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.
Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of citizens of faith working together to care for and protect children. In fact, a significant number of children who are adopted today are adopted with the help of faith-based organizations. These groups have been successful at protecting children and providing them with permanent, loving homes because of their tireless advocacy on behalf of children. The proposed regulation, however, would forever silence one of the strongest voices for children in the Commonwealth.
This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.
I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.
 

I will be following this issue and your response closely.
 

3/31/11  2:24 am
Commenter: Joseph Scholle, William and Mary Students for Life *

Adoption
 

I think that the regulation should not require faith-based adoption organizations to stop screening their potential parents. It would do a disservice to the children, those putting up kids for adoption, and those looking to adopt.


3/31/11  9:28 am
Commenter: Bill Shirley *

Regulation of Private Christiam Adoptive Agencies
 

I am writing to express opposition to the proposed Virginia Social Services regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170 (B).  It requires a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency's religiious and moral beliefs.

Agencies that do not comply would be in danger of losing their license.  This is a clear violation of the First Amendment provision that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Let's stand for freedom.

Bill Shirley

 


3/31/11  9:39 am
Commenter: Megan Lindsey, JD; National Council For Adoption *

Concern Re: 22 VAC 40-131-170(B)
 

The National Council For Adoption (NCFA) expresses concern with the proposed changes to the Minimum Standards for Licensed Private Child-Placing Agencies [22 VAC 40 ? 131]  regarding discrimination on the basis of religion and sexual orientation (22 VAC 40-131-170(B)).  While NCFA prefers no religious position nor do we take a strong position regarding the issue of sexual orientation in adoption, we recognize that many well reputed child placing agencies are faith-based and have sincerely held religious beliefs that are in conflict with these prohibitions were they to be enforced to the extreme. In light of the fact that there are many agency alternatives in Virginia to deal with differing viewpoints, we believe that it would not be in the best interest of children to compromise the great work many faith-based agencies do by eliminating their ability to work on behalf of children while still acting in agreement with their sincerely held religious beliefs. We fear this prohibition has the potential to put faith-based adoption service providers in conflict with state regulations based on deeply held religious beliefs and strongly suggest the inclusion of language that allows for a conscientious-objection for faith-based agencies regarding whether or not to work with adoptive families that are outside of their religious faith or to place children with homosexual families.

 

NCFA believes that there is no right to adopt, only the right of the child to be adopted. The purpose of adoption is to provide the best possible parents for children, not to provide children for adults who desire to parent. Adoption policy and practice should be guided only by the best interests of the child and eliminating faith-based organizations ability to continue in the great work they do is not in the best interests of the many children whose interests faith-based agencies represent.   

 


3/31/11  11:03 am
Commenter: Victoria Cobb, President, The Family Foundation *

Response to Proposed Adoption Standards
 

FROM: Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation

DATE: March 31, 2011

RE: Response to Proposed Adoption Standards

Section 22VAC40-131-170(B) of the proposed regulations states, “The licensee shall prohibit acts of discrimination based on race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or family status to: delay or deny a child’s placement; or deny an individual the opportunity to apply to become a foster or adoptive parent.”

This proposal goes far beyond any policy in the Virginia Code.  The Virginia Code clearly details who is eligible to adopt.  In § 63.2-1201.1, it plainly states, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit any child to have more than two living parents by birth or adoption, who have legal rights and obligations in respect to the child, in the form of one father and one mother.”  Furthermore, in § 63.2-1225, the Code states, “In determining the appropriate home in which to place a child for adoption, a married couple or an unmarried individual shall be eligible to receive placement of a child for purposes of adoption.”  There is no mistaking intent: in Virginia, only married couples (one mother and one father, as decided by Virginia’s Marriage Amendment to the Constitution) or single individuals can adopt a child.  The current proposal, which includes prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation, stands in direct opposition to the confines of the Code. 

Nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, whether enshrined in law or implemented through internal constructs, and regardless of their legal weight, highlight the inevitable and unavoidable clash between the unalienable fundamental right of religious liberty and the postmodern era of sexual freedom. While one may agree or disagree with the actions of individuals or private organizations that express their faith in these ways, their fundamental right to do so is now at risk.

This proposed standard places undue restrictions on birthmothers and consequently adoption agencies.  Within the confines of an adoption conducted through a private agency, a birthmother is due the freedom to choose an adoptive parent of the same religious convictions so that her child may be raised accordingly.  Accordingly, private adoption agencies are deserving of the ability to screen adoptive parents based on the agency’s beliefs or the beliefs of their birthmothers.

This proposal, which tramples religious liberty, is a significant overreach through regulation into unchartered waters prohibited by Virginia Code and Constitution.  I respectfully ask the State Board of Social Services and Department of Social Services to rescind this section of proposed regulations.  Thank you for your consideration.


3/31/11  11:06 am
Commenter: J. Mantooth *

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B)
 

I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of citizens of faith working together to care for and protect children. In fact, a significant number of children who are adopted today are adopted with the help of faith-based organizations. These groups have been successful at protecting children and providing them with permanent, loving homes because of their tireless advocacy on behalf of children. The proposed regulation, however, would forever silence one of the strongest voices for children in the Commonwealth.

This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.

I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.

I will be following this issue and your response closely.

I have borrowed the language of another comment here, as it very eloquently expressed my views. My sister-in-law is a social worked for a faith based organization and this would effectively close the doors of her office. She and the others in her office have impacted countless families and continue to beautifully serve women in crisis pregnancies and families desperate to provide loving homes for children.


3/31/11  11:12 am
Commenter: Helen Donovan *

Adoption standards/ attorney
 

JUSTICE- to render what is due

If the government, through some sort of agency, has an interest in regulating the placement of children,   it's interest must be first and foremost pursuing the interest of the children in the context of the common good.  Any political agenda that seeks to further itself at the expense of innocent children is inherently suspect.  The interest of children, as study after study shows, is to be raised in a home of love by a family headed by a mother and father joined in marriage.  Whether someone opposes that traditional idea is quite irrelevant.  What is best for the children is paramount.  No family is perfect and failings occur in all.  But if the goal is to give a child what is best, then denying him or her or them purposefully a mother or father, is to propose the child be shackled with a deprivation unnecessarily.  (The stories on this disaster are coming out as well)  To require that agencies place children "entrusted" to them in a situation where they cannot have the possibility of a mother or a father makes a mockery of adoption.  Would you give up a child if you knew they could/would/should place the child in a disordered home?  Again, if the government, through any agency, seeks to "regulate" adoption, then it has a duty to give the agencies the best chance to place the child(ren) well and not to subvert the needs of children to political correctness.  I have seen the gay guy (is he the Daddy? taking care of "his" new baby girl.  That little girl deserves the chance of a Mom and a home with one.  The state should not deny this little girl such a home or any child.  It is a matter of justice. 


3/31/11  11:31 am
Commenter: Gloria Campbell, Victory Worship Center Children's Pastor *

New Virginia Licensing Regulations Endanger Faith-Based Adoption Agencies
 

Dear Sirs & Ladies,

I am asking that you intervene in opposition to this regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170 (B) being proposed by the VA Department of Social Services. It is a violation of the First Amendment.

Sincerely, Gloria Campbell


3/31/11  11:35 am
Commenter: Fr. Edward Horkan *

protection of religious liberty and family values
 

The proposed regulation would forbid any adoption agency from "discriminating" against people due to sexual orientation or family status.  Most cultures today, and virtually every culture in human history has recognized the common sense that children are better off with both a father and a mother, providing them with a masculine and feminine perspective in their upbrining.  Furthermore, the complemetarity of masculinity and femininity is the foundation of married life, helping both the couple and any children they have experience the fullness of humanity; Virginia law recognizes such common sense in limiting marriage to one man and one woman.  Certainly, there are single mothers and fathers who heroically try to raise children without a spouse, but they can testify that it is especially difficult to do so.  That recognition is the basis behind such groups as Big Brothers and Big Sisters that try to provide for a father or mother figure when one is absent.  These regulations not only ignore such common sense, but even forbid adoption agencies from using it.  They would also of course forbid any religious organization, or any organization with family values, from being in the adoption business without violating their consciences.  That would be a violation of religious liberties in a state that has long prided itself on supporting such liberties, dating from the adoption of the Virginia Statute on Religious Liberties before the First Amendment; in fact, on Thomas Jefferson's gravestone is listed the three accomplishments of which he was most proud: author of the Declaration of Independance and of the Virginia Statute on Religious Liberties, and founder of the University of Virginia.  It would also reduce the adoption services available to children by forcing out agencies that have been very helpful.

     To denounce the distinction between active heterosexuals and active homosexuals or between married and single people as "discrimination" ignores the fact that we draw such distinctions all the time.  By attaching any legal consequences to marriage (e.g., taxation, insurance and inheritance benefits, spousal support obligation) the law itself draws a distinction between married and single people.  By limiting marriage to a man and a woman the law likewise draws a distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality.  Sports, housing and the like also separate men and women drawing distinctions between them.  Some distinctions are irrational, such as limiting adoption to a race or national origin are irrational for these purposes.  But you yourself recognize that other distinctions, such as emotional status, the ability to support children economically, the ability to maintain a clean home, and backgrounds make a difference.  As stated above, it does make a difference whether a child has a mother and a father.  And it does make a difference to anyone with values whether the child's parents will support them.  Even if you do not agree, you should at least recognize that most parents and many in the adoption field do.  For these reasons, this proposed regulation is itself irrational and oppressive to adoption agencies, parents and children.


3/31/11  12:31 pm
Commenter: Randy Secrist, Pastor Elon Baptist Church *

Proposed Adoption Regulations Attack Religious Liberty and Child Safety
 

Please note the strong opposition to this ill considered action.  Not only does it go beyond necessary Virginia law, it is an open invitation to religious discrimination.  Similar actions in England have met with disastrous public results.  We are in a crisis in family stability and structure now, and adding to the potential for placing children in homes other than one man and one woman is a misguided attempt at political correctness at the expense of children.

Please consider liberty instead of actions that have produced documented religious discrimination in other places, and consider the health and well being of children above political pressure groups.  

 


3/31/11  12:43 pm
Commenter: Reverend KJ Fimian *

The Protection of Constitutional Rights pertaining to the Freedom of Religion
 

The proposed law (22VAC40-131-170 Part B) states: "the licensee shall prohibit acts of discrimination based on race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disbaility or family status...".  As a matter of course, this would force all Catholic agencies (and any agency that cares about family values) out of the adoption field.  It is almost incredible that this clear violation of basic religious freedoms and family values has gotten this far in the state of Virginia.  I would ask our legislators to please pay attention to what they are doing!


3/31/11  1:05 pm
Commenter: Bob Lanier *

Adoption Qualifications
 

In adoptions, gender covers a qualification. Sexual preference seems to be pushing an agenda that should not come up in an adoption situation. Someone wanted to adopt a person to have sex with should disqualify them from adoption. Sexual preference seems covered under gender.

Religion also goes too far. Seperation of Church and State seems to control that. There really is no place for delving into into a person's beliefs. They are qualified or not based on our normal qualifications which has worked well for years.


3/31/11  1:44 pm
Commenter: Jerry Wooton *

Opposition to 22VAC40-131-170
 

I am writing in opposition to the proposed changes which allow children to be adopted by peopole despitesexula orientation and family status.  I think we do grave harm to children already in a fragile situation by allowing them to be adopted by anybody other than a married couple.


3/31/11  1:47 pm
Commenter: Mary Salmon, St. Andrew Pro-Life Committee Coordinator *

Proposed licensing guidelines/standards for private child placing agencies
 

If the proposed licensing guidelines which include prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or family status is passed, the Catholic Charities entity of the Arlington Diocese will not be able to continue its life saving work of placing/adoption services. An agency such as Catholic Charities should be able to include in its screening process any teachings of the Church which would apply. These guidelines would essentially revoke freedom of religion rights to which all citizens of this nation are entitled. Please take into consideration the repercussions of affecting the closing or reduced service capabilities of the adoption and pregnancy services made available through such a valuable charitable institution as Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington.

Thank you for your prayerful consideration of the above.

 
 

3/31/11  1:57 pm
Commenter: Jeff Caruso, Executive Director, Virginia Catholic Conference *

Opposition to proposed 22VAC40-131-170B
 

On behalf of the Virginia Catholic Conference, I write to convey opposition to several aspects of the proposed 22VAC40-131-170B, which is part of the proposed Minimum Standards for Licensed Child Placing Agencies.  The Conference is the public-policy agency of Virginia’s Catholic bishops and their two dioceses. 

The proposed 22VAC40-131-170B states: “The licensee shall prohibit acts of discrimination based on race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or family status to: (1) Delay or deny a child’s placement; or (2) Deny an individual the opportunity to apply to become a foster or adoptive parent.”

The Virginia Catholic Conference has consistently opposed the inclusion of “sexual orientation” in discrimination-related legislation considered yearly by the General Assembly.  The basis for the Conference’s opposition is that sexual orientation is manifested through words or actions, and sometimes those words or actions could conflict with the mission, beliefs, and practices of organizations with certain deeply held convictions and religious beliefs regarding the institution of marriage, the family unit, and human sexuality.  This same rationale also undergirds our current opposition to 22VAC40-131-170B. Including “sexual orientation” and “family status” could force some agencies into a choice of whether to follow their own missions or to adhere to the law.  Forcing this choice is unacceptable because it violates the freedom of conscience and diversity of viewpoint upon which our pluralistic society is based.

It is also important to note that some agencies may currently have requirements for prospective adoptive parents regarding age,and may consider religion when making certain placements.   Where this is the case, the proposed 22VAC40-131-170B would force agencies to alter these practices as well.

In conclusion, faith-based agencies play a vital role in the fabric of our Commonwealth, and their right to carry out their mission in the services they provide must be respected and preserved.

Jeff Caruso, Executive Director

Virginia Catholic Conference

 

 


3/31/11  1:57 pm
Commenter: A. Kasenge *

I am against 22 VAC 40-131-170(B)
 

I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs.

Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license. This violates the right to religious freedom. Furthermore, families currently have a choice regarding whether they prefer to use the state  or secular adoption agencies if they do not wish to be limited by the standards of the faith-based organization.

This regulation would forbid any religious organization, or any organization with family values, from being in the adoption business without violating their consciences.  That would be a violation of religious liberty. 


3/31/11  1:58 pm
Commenter: Krystal Thompson, FFTA-VA Chapter Chair *

General comment on proposed LCPA standards
 

The Foster Family-based Treatment Association - Virginia Chapter appreciates the time and effort involved in revision of the minimum standards for licensure. The proposed standards 22VAC40-131 are indicative of Virginia’s ongoing commitment to delivering quality services to children and families.

 
Proposed Section 22VAC40-131-10
“Short term foster care” – Question: Could successive short term placements of a child be considered one on-going open case as opposed to opening a new case each time the child is placed in that home? For example the child who is placed for a weekend every month in the same short term foster home.
 
22VAC40-131 -90 Policy and Procedures
D.4. – Question: Implementing the child’s emergency back up plan when the placement disrupts. Can this be met through a general statement such as “another approved provider home within the agency” or is a specific home necessary? The requirement of another specific home would be unrealistic as the needs of children placed in a foster home fluctuate as does the capacity of the foster home provider.
 
22VAC40-131-140 Personnel: Staff composition and qualifications
H.2. – Question: Regulation as proposed requires a doctorate or masters in social work to supervise interns; should the requirement not follow E.4.b related to supervising staff? The MSW requirement is inconsistent with accepted credentials for staff supervision.
 
 
22VAC40-131-150 Staff development
B.1. & 2 – Question: Regulations as proposed require initial orientation training to be completed prior to the staff person assuming responsibilities of his position and within 30 days of the date of employment. There are some job responsibilities that could be successfully completed during the staff persons 30 day orientation and training period i.e. making referrals and linking to resources, monitoring service delivery, and obtaining progress updates from foster parents. This requirement would also seem excessive when the newly hired worked has previous experience in service delivery to foster children. Could the “prior to assuming the responsibilities” verbiage be stricken while maintaining the 30 day requirement?
 
22VAC40-131-180 Home study requirement
B & C – Question: These sections focus on the completion of the home study application before gathering and assessing information for use in the final decision. Is it necessary for the entire application to be completed before assessment begins? Completion of the application is part of the process of gathering information needed to make a final decision as to approval. A suggestion would be to combine B&C and strike the word completion.  “Upon receipt of a provider application, the licensee shall notify the applicant of the status of the application. The licensee shall then begin the process of gathering and assessing information for use in the final decision related to whether the applicant and home meets all required elements for approval.”
 
G – Question: Current proposed standard requires at least one of three references be non-relative. Best practice would suggest a larger ratio of references be provided by non-relatives. Would a revision be considered requiring at least two references from non-relatives?
 
J.1.b. – Question: Tuberculosis screenings is referenced in this regulation. To maintain consistency with other standards could this be revised to say tuberculosis tests or screenings?
 
22VAC40-131-190 Home environment
E. - Question: Regulation requires access to a working telephone in the home. Could we receive clarification on what is required to meet this standard? Ex. Cell or landline.
 
O. 1 & 4  - Question: Regulation requires detailed written emergency preparedness and response plan. The requirements to be addressed in O 1 & O 4 in order to be valid and employable would need to be specific to situation and emergency; it is unrealistic to require a plan for every foreseeable and unforeseeable emergency. O 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 appear to adequately address the need for emergency preparedness. Could O 1 and O 4 be stricken?
 
R. - Question: Regulation requires knowledge of federal, state and local ordinances related to firearms. Administering this regulation would be difficult at best, due to the different requirements by locality. Could R 1, 2, & 3 adequately serve to monitor the possession of weapons? Could there be clarification provided as to what constitutes a weapon that requires locked storage?
 
S. - Question: Regulation requires knowledge of laws pertaining to household pets which vary by locality. Some inoculations and tests have no bearing on welfare of children in the home. This standard would be very hard to administer, as written, due to the variances in local ordinances. Could 22VAC40-131-190 T be amended to “the applicant shall ensure that household pets have a current rabies vaccination, are safe to be around children, and present no health hazard to children in the home” and adequately serve to meet the intention of the standard?
 
22VAC40-131-200 Initial approval or disapproval
H & H 1  - Question: H states “following approval of an applicant, the licensee shall provide the following services and requirements: H.1. The licensee shall provide orientation and on-going training for each provider. Can orientation be stricken from H 1 and be included in 22VAC40-131-210 A as per the following suggestion? “The licensee shall ensure that orientation and pre-service training is provided for resource, foster, treatment foster, short term foster, and adoptive family home providers.” The general process of orientation of potential foster/adoptive families is part of the approval process. Reaction to and acceptance of agency policy and procedure is part of the assessment process.
 
 
22VAC40-131-210 Provider training and development
 B. - Question: Regulation as proposed requires as a condition of initial approval and renewals of approvals the licensee shall require each home provider to complete all required training. Training shall be relevant to the needs of children and families. Does this mean before each re-evaluation/renewal of approval each family would be required to complete all pre-service training over again? Suggestion would be “prior to renewal of approval, training should be provided relevant to the needs of the family and children served, as appropriate.”
 
22VAC40-131-230 Monitoring and re-evaluation of provider homes
K. 1 & 2 - Question: Regulation requires documentation in the provider’s file of each visit, contact and home visit. For providers with children placed in their home this would create unnecessary redundancy and inefficiency as those contacts are documented in the child’s file. Could K be amended to state “The licensee shall maintain in the provider’s file documentation of each contact with the provider when no children are placed in the provider home”?
 
22VAC40-131-240 Capacity of provider home
B. - Question: Regulation requires written justification when more than two children are placed in a treatment foster home. Could placement of a sibling group be exempt from the written justification?
 
22VAC40-131-250 Intake, acceptance and placement 
D. - Question: Independent living services is referenced in this section. Should the reference be to “Independent Living Placement” services?
 
H & P – Question: Regulation states 250 H. 1 – 8 need to be documented before accepting a child for placement. 250 P states all of the required elements in 250 H need to be in the child’s file within 30 days of the placement. Could we receive clarification on the time requirements related to this documentation? Some of the information required is not always available from the LDSS prior to acceptance, especially in emergency placement situations. Suggested verbiage would be 250 H “Prior to accepting a child for placement in a foster care home, treatment foster home, short-term foster care home, or an independent living arrangement the licensee shall attempt to gather, review and document the following in the child’s file:”; 250 P would remain as it is currently written. This suggested verbiage would result in all documentation required in H being in the child’s file within 30 days (as required by P) but allow both the LDSS and LCPA time to gather information.
 
S. 7. - Questions: Regulation requires documentation of parent or legal custodial reactions to each topic discussed with them. Could clarification be provided as this seems vague especially regarding documentation of each topic discussed? Is this ongoing or just during initial meeting?
 
 
 
22VAC40-131-260 Social history
A.1. - Question: For children in foster care who exit care of the licensee prior to 15 days, and there is no plan for re-entry, could the social history requirement be waived?  The information documented on the social history of the licensee generally serves as an aid in treatment planning, which would be immaterial for short term placements. The LDSS would be responsible for providing most of the required information and would already have it in their child’s record. It is an extra burden to both the LDSS and LCPA which adds little value for short term placements of children in the care and custody of LDSS.
 
B.8 & 9 - Question: If a social history is required for “short term” placements that exit care prior to 30 days could the education, occupation, medical and psychiatric history information be required only for parents and siblings and/or other custodians? It can, at times, be quite difficult and time consuming to research the information for aunts, uncles and grandparents, unless they were direct custodians of the child. This might be extremely difficult to accomplish within 30 days and would have little relevancy to treatment planning for a short term placement. Possible alternative verbiage would be “should attempt to gather” the above information on these family members.
 
 
22VAC40-131-280 Foster home agreements
A.10 & 11 - Question: Proposed regulation requires permission for out-of-state travel and permission for the child to participate in any fund-raising activities. Could these two requirements be stricken as they usually are dealt with on a case-by-case basis and custodial agencies may not be willing to give “blanket” permission?
 
 
22VAC40-131-290 Medical, dental, and psychiatric examinations and care
A. 1. - Question: Could there be clarification given with regards to children placed in an emergency situation that stay fewer than 60 days? If the child leaves prior to 60 days, is the requirement to obtain the physical waived? This would cover cases where a physical had been scheduled within the 60 day requirement but was unable to be kept prior to the child exiting care.
C. 11 - Suggestion: It was noted that the word “handicapping” might be changed to “disabling” to maintain consistency with terminology used currently in the field.
K through M Suggestion: These items concern the providers/foster parents and would be more reasonably accessed in the section 22VAC40-131-180 for Home Study Requirement.
 
 
22VAC40-131-320 Reports and policies to protect children
D.2. and E. - Suggestion: It was noted that the requirement in D. 2 for notifying the offices of licensing about a child’s death includes the phrase “no later than the end of the next business day following the child’s death.” However, in standard 320 E. serious incidents, accidents or injuries to the child, while including 24 hour notice to legal guardians, etc. also require 24 hour notice to the department’s licensing representative. It seems that these incidents should be congruent with the standard for notification of death, the next business day, to department licensing representatives. Additionally, clarification/definitions of a “serious incident” are necessary, otherwise, the department licensing representative will be overloaded with reports on school suspensions, etc., as serious incident is defined in many contracts with localities and the definition of serious incident is extensive on many contracts.
 
 
22VAC40-131-330 Visitation and continuing contact with children
F. - Question: Could the verbiage be changed to “More than one half of the minimum required contacts the licensee makes with a child in any calendar year shall be conducted in the child’s placement setting.”? If a child has need of many additional contacts outside the provider home, for example 5-10 per month in the school setting to meet his/her service needs; this would require the licensee to make half that many contacts in the placement setting. This standard as currently proposed would be significantly encumbering to the child, foster home provider and LCPA staff.
G. 1. - Suggestion: The requirement of seven days between face-to-face contacts needs an exception: if child is placed during the last seven days of the month, two visits may occur within seven days, to be no closer than 24 hours apart. This would satisfy the DMAS requirement of two visits in a month that are necessary to bill for Medicaid TFC Case Management.
 
22VAC40-131-370 Case record requirements
A. and O. - Question: The regulation proposed in A. requires a separate case file for the child’s birth parents whereas the regulation proposed in O. states if services are provided to the child’s birth family a file shall be maintained. O. goes on to state the child’s birth parents file may be separate or combined with the child’s file. Could we receive clarification on what seem to be contradictory requirements? 
 
22VAC40-131-460 Children placed in treatment foster care
4.c. - Question: Regulation as proposed “Provides for at least one full time professional staff and part time staff whose hours are equivalent to a full time position”. Should this regulation read “Provides for at least one full time professional staff or part-time staff whose hours are equivalent to a full time position”? 
D. – Question: Regulation as proposed requires a written plan for back-up emergency care if placement disrupts. Can this be met through a general statement such as “another approved provider home within the agency” or is a specific home necessary? The requirement of another specific home would be unrealistic as the needs of children placed in a provider home fluctuate as does foster home provider capacity.
 
22VAC40-131-510 Provisions for adopting children with special needs
A. - Question: “The licensee shall ensure that children with special needs who are legally free for adoption are registered with AREVA.” Could this be amended to say “If the licensee holds custody of a child with special needs who is legally free for adoption they shall ensure the child is registered with AREVA”? Children who are legal custodians of LDSS’s are registered with AREVA by the local department. It is unduly burdensome to ask licensee’s who do not hold custody to ensure the custodial agency has completed this process for their legal custodians.
B. – Question: Many agencies approve their foster home providers as resource families. Would this apply to resource families as well as adoptive families? Many resource families are solely interested in adopting children placed in their home through foster care. Could they have a choice whether to be registered with AREVA?
 

3/31/11  2:19 pm
Commenter: Michael Baldwin *

I oppose the regulations
 

I share the same concerns that others have stated in their opposition to these regulations. Quit trying to force us to accept the choices that people make as God given Rights.


3/31/11  2:22 pm
Commenter: Paula Hugo *

Proposed Social Service Adoption Standards
 

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to you today to request that you NOT approve the proposed Social Service Adoption Standards.  These standards as proposed would force closure of the Catholic Charities Adoption Services and other similar religious adoption service programs.  By forcing the closure of these faith-based adoption services, the Department of Social Services would directly hurt those that it is entrusted to serve.  Furthermore, these proposed standards are in direct CONFLICT with the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom.  Again, please do NOT approve the proposed Social Service Adoption Standards.

Thank you for your consideration. Gratefully, Paula Hugo


3/31/11  2:23 pm
Commenter: Andrea *

I OPPOSE this regulation.
 


3/31/11  2:51 pm
Commenter: Jennifer Mehosky *

Change of Law for Faith Based Adoption Agencies
 

I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.  When we started the process for our own daughter from China, we specifically set out to use a Christian agency.  We wanted God to be first and center on both sides of the adoption process.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of citizens of faith working together to care for and protect children. In fact, a significant number of children who are adopted today are adopted with the help of faith-based organizations. These groups have been successful at protecting children and providing them with permanent, loving homes because of their tireless advocacy on behalf of children. The proposed regulation, however, would forever silence one of the strongest voices for children in the Commonwealth.

This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.

I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.

I will be following this issue and your response closely.




* Nonregistered public user