Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Final Text

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Action:
Exempt Amendment to Child Protective Services
Stage: Final
22VAC40-705-10

22VAC40-705-10. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

"Abuser or neglector" means any person who is found to have committed the abuse or neglect of a child pursuant to Chapter 15 (§ 63.2-1500 et seq.) of Title 63.2 of the Code of Virginia.

"Administrative appeal rights" means the child protective services appeals procedures for a local level informal conference and a state level hearing pursuant to § 63.2-1526 of the Code of Virginia, under which an individual who is found to have committed abuse or neglect may request that the local department's records be amended.

"Alternative treatment options" means treatments used to prevent or treat illnesses or promote health and well-being outside the realm of modern conventional medicine.

"Appellant" means anyone who has been found to be an abuser or neglector and appeals the founded disposition to the director of the local department of social services, an administrative hearing officer, or to circuit court.

"Assessment" means the process by which child protective services workers determine a child's and family's needs.

"Caretaker" means any individual having the responsibility of providing care and supervision of a child and includes the following: (i) a parent or other person legally responsible for the child's care; (ii) an individual who by law, social custom, expressed or implied acquiescence, collective consensus, agreement, or any other legally recognizable basis has an obligation to look after a child left in his care; and (iii) persons responsible by virtue of their positions of conferred authority.

"Case record" means a collection of information maintained by a local department, including written material, letters, documents, tapes, photographs, film or other materials regardless of physical form about a specific child protective services investigation, family or individual.

"Central Registry" means a subset of the child abuse and neglect information system and is the name index with identifying information of individuals named as an abuser or neglector in founded child abuse or neglect complaints or reports not currently under administrative appeal, maintained by the department.

"Certified substance abuse counselor" means a person certified to provide substance abuse counseling in a state-approved public or private substance abuse program or facility.

"Child abuse and neglect information system" means the computer system that collects and maintains information regarding incidents of child abuse and neglect involving parents or other caretakers. The computer system is composed of three parts: the statistical information system with nonidentifying information, the Central Registry of founded complaints not on appeal, and a database that can be accessed only by the department and local departments that contains all nonpurged child protective services reports. This system is the official state automated system.

"Child protective services" means the identification, receipt, and immediate response to complaints and reports of alleged child abuse or neglect for children under 18 years of age. It also includes assessment, and arranging for and providing necessary protective and rehabilitative services for a child and his family when the child has been found to have been abused or neglected or is at risk of being abused or neglected.

"Child protective services worker" means one who is qualified by virtue of education, training, and supervision and is employed by the local department to respond to child protective services complaints and reports of alleged child abuse or neglect.

"Chronically and irreversibly comatose" means a condition caused by injury, disease, or illness in which a patient has suffered a loss of consciousness with no behavioral evidence of self-awareness or awareness of surroundings in a learned manner other than reflexive activity of muscles and nerves for low-level conditioned response and from which to a reasonable degree of medical probability there can be no recovery.

"Collateral" means a person whose personal or professional knowledge may help confirm or rebut the allegations of child abuse or neglect or whose involvement may help ensure the safety of the child.

"Complaint" means any information or allegation of child abuse or neglect made orally or in writing pursuant to § 63.2-100 of the Code of Virginia.

"Consultation" means the process by which the alleged abuser or neglector may request an informal meeting to discuss the investigative findings with the local department prior to the local department rendering a founded disposition of abuse or neglect against that person pursuant to § 63.2-1526 A of the Code of Virginia.

"Controlled substance" means a drug, substance, or marijuana as defined in § 18.2-247 of the Code of Virginia including those terms as they are used or defined in the Drug Control Act, Chapter 34 (§ 54.1-3400 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia. The term does not include alcoholic beverages or tobacco as those terms are defined or used in Title 3.2 or Title 4.1 of the Code of Virginia.

"Department" means the Virginia Department of Social Services.

"Differential response system" means that local departments of social services may respond to valid reports or complaints of child abuse or neglect by conducting either a family assessment or an investigation.

"Disposition" means the determination of whether or not child abuse or neglect has occurred.

"Documentation" means information and materials, written or otherwise, concerning allegations, facts and evidence.

"Family Advocacy Program representative" means the professional employed by the United States Armed Forces who has responsibility for the program designed to address prevention, identification, evaluation, treatment, rehabilitation, follow-up and reporting of family violence, pursuant to 22VAC40-705-140.

"Family assessment" means the collection of information necessary to determine:

1. The immediate safety needs of the child;

2. The protective and rehabilitative services needs of the child and family that will deter abuse or neglect;

3. Risk of future harm to the child; and

4. Alternative plans for the child's safety if protective and rehabilitative services are indicated and the family is unable or unwilling to participate in services. These arrangements may be made in consultation with the caretaker of the child.

"First source" means any direct evidence establishing or helping to establish the existence or nonexistence of a fact. Indirect evidence and anonymous complaints do not constitute first source evidence.

"Founded" means that a review of the facts shows by a preponderance of the evidence that child abuse or neglect has occurred. A determination that a case is founded shall be based primarily on first source evidence; in no instance shall a determination that a case is founded be based solely on indirect evidence or an anonymous complaint.

"Human trafficking assessment" means the collection of information necessary to determine:

1. The immediate safety needs of the child;

2. The protective and rehabilitative services needs of the child and the child's family that will deter abuse and neglect; and

3. Risk of future harm to the child.

"Identifying information" means name, social security number, address, race, sex, and date of birth.

"Indirect evidence" means any statement made outside the presence of the child protective services worker and relayed to the child protective services worker as proof of the contents of the statement.

"Informed opinion" means that the child has been informed and understands the benefits and risks, to the extent known, of the treatment recommended by conventional medical providers for his condition and the alternative treatment being considered as well as the basis of efficacy for each, or lack thereof.

"Investigation" means the collection of information to determine:

1. The immediate safety needs of the child;

2. The protective and rehabilitative services needs of the child and family that will deter abuse or neglect;

3. Risk of future harm to the child;

4. Alternative plans for the child's safety if protective and rehabilitative services are indicated and the family is unable or unwilling to participate in services;

5. Whether or not abuse or neglect has occurred;

6. If abuse or neglect has occurred, who abused or neglected the child; and

7. A finding of either founded or unfounded based on the facts collected during the investigation.

"Investigative narrative" means the written account of the investigation contained in the child protective services case record.

"Legitimate interest" means a lawful, demonstrated privilege to access the information as defined in § 63.2-105 of the Code of Virginia.

"Licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner" means a person who (i) is trained in and engages in the practice of substance abuse treatment with individuals or groups of individuals suffering from the effects of substance abuse or dependence, and in the prevention of substance abuse or dependence and (ii) is licensed to provide advanced substance abuse treatment and independent, direct, and unsupervised treatment to such individuals or groups of individuals, and to plan, evaluate, supervise, and direct substance abuse treatment provided by others.

"Life-threatening condition" means a condition that if left untreated more likely than not will result in death and for which the recommended medical treatments carry a probable chance of impairing the health of the individual or a risk of terminating the life of the individual.

"Local department" means the city or county local agency of social services or department of public welfare in the Commonwealth of Virginia responsible for conducting investigations or family assessments of child abuse or neglect complaints or reports pursuant to § 63.2-1503 of the Code of Virginia.

"Local department of jurisdiction" means the local department in the city or county in Virginia where the alleged victim child resides or in which the alleged abuse or neglect is believed to have occurred. If neither of these is known, then the local department of jurisdiction shall be the local department in the county or city where the abuse or neglect was discovered.

"Mandated reporters" means those persons who are required to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect pursuant to § 63.2-1509 of the Code of Virginia.

"Monitoring" means contacts with the child, family, and collaterals which provide information about the child's safety and the family's compliance with the service plan.

"Multidisciplinary teams" means any organized group of individuals representing, but not limited to, medical, mental health, social work, education, legal and law enforcement, which will assist local departments in the protection and prevention of child abuse and neglect pursuant to § 63.2-1503 K of the Code of Virginia. Citizen representatives may also be included.

"Near fatality" means an act that, as certified by a physician, places the child in serious or critical condition. Serious or critical condition is a life-threatening condition or injury.

"Notification" means informing designated and appropriate individuals of the local department's actions and the individual's rights.

"Particular medical treatment" means a process or procedure that is recommended by conventional medical providers and accepted by the conventional medical community.

"Preponderance of evidence" means just enough evidence to make it more likely than not that the asserted facts are true. It is evidence which is of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence offered in opposition.

"Purge" means to delete or destroy any reference data and materials specific to subject identification contained in records maintained by the department and the local department pursuant to §§ 63.2-1513 and 63.2-1514 of the Code of Virginia.

"Reasonable diligence" means the exercise of justifiable and appropriate persistent effort.

"Report" means either a complaint as defined in this section or an official document on which information is given concerning abuse or neglect. Pursuant to § 63.2-1509 of the Code of Virginia, a report is required to be made by persons designated herein and by local departments in those situations in which a response to a complaint from the general public reveals suspected child abuse or neglect pursuant to the definition of abused or neglected child in § 63.2-100 of the Code of Virginia.

"Response time" means a reasonable time for the local department to initiate a valid report of suspected child abuse or neglect based upon the facts and circumstances presented at the time the complaint or report is received.

"Safety plan" means an immediate course of action designed to protect a child from abuse or neglect.

"Service plan" means a plan of action to address the service needs of a child or his family in order to protect a child and his siblings, to prevent future abuse and neglect, and to preserve the family life of the parents and children whenever possible.

"Sex trafficking" means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act as defined in § 18.2-357.1 of the Code of Virginia.

"State automated system" means the "child abuse and neglect information system" as previously defined.

"Sufficiently mature" is determined on a case-by-case basis and means that a child has no impairment of his cognitive ability and is of a maturity level capable of having intelligent views on the subject of his health condition and medical care.

"Terminal condition" means a condition caused by injury, disease, or illness from which to a reasonable degree of medical probability a patient cannot recover and (i) the patient's death is imminent or (ii) the patient is chronically and irreversibly comatose.

"Unfounded" means that a review of the facts does not show by a preponderance of the evidence that child abuse or neglect occurred.

"Valid report or complaint" means the local department of social services has evaluated the information and allegations of the report or complaint and determined that the local department shall conduct an investigation or family assessment because the following elements are present:

1. The alleged victim child or children are under the age of is younger than 18 years of age at the time of the complaint or report;

2. The alleged abuser is the alleged victim child's parent or other caretaker;

3. The local department receiving the complaint or report is a local department of jurisdiction; and

4. The circumstances described allege suspected child abuse or neglect.

"Withholding of medically indicated treatment" means the failure to respond to the infant's life-threatening condition by providing treatment (including appropriate nutrition, hydration, and medication) which in the treating physician's or physicians' reasonable medical judgment will most likely be effective in ameliorating or correcting all such conditions.

22VAC40-705-40

22VAC40-705-40. Complaints and reports of suspected child abuse or neglect.

A. Persons who are mandated to report are those individuals defined in § 63.2-1509 of the Code of Virginia.

1. Mandated reporters shall report immediately any suspected abuse or neglect that they learn of in their professional or official capacity unless the person has actual knowledge that the same matter has already been reported to the local department or the department's toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline.

2. Pursuant to § 63.2-1509 of the Code of Virginia, if information is received by a teacher, staff member, resident, intern, or nurse in the course of his professional services in a hospital, school, or other similar institution, such person may make reports of suspected abuse or neglect immediately to the person in charge of the institution or department, or his designee, who shall then make such report forthwith. If the initial report of suspected abuse or neglect is made to the person in charge of the institution or department, or his designee, such person shall (i) notify the teacher, staff member, resident, intern, or nurse who made the initial report when the report of suspected child abuse or neglect is made to the local department or to the department's toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline; (ii) provide the name of the individual receiving the report; and (iii) forward any communication resulting from the report, including any information about any actions taken regarding the report, to the person who made the initial report.

3. Mandated reporters shall disclose all information that is the basis for the suspicion of child abuse or neglect and shall make available, upon request, to the local department any records and reports that document the basis for the complaint or report.

4. Pursuant to § 63.2-1509 D of the Code of Virginia, a mandated reporter's failure to report as soon as possible, but no longer than 24 hours after having reason to suspect a reportable offense of child abuse or neglect, shall result in a fine.

5. In cases evidencing acts of rape, sodomy, or object sexual penetration as defined in Article 7 (§ 18.2-61 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2 of the Code of Virginia, a person who knowingly and intentionally fails to make the report required pursuant to § 63.2-1509 of the Code of Virginia shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

6. Pursuant to § 63.2-1509 B of the Code of Virginia, certain specified medical facts indicating that a newborn may have been exposed to a controlled substance prior to birth constitute a reason to suspect that a child is abused or neglected. Such facts shall include (i) a finding made by a health care provider within six weeks of the birth of a child that the results of toxicology studies of the child indicate the presence of a controlled substance that was not prescribed for the mother by a physician; (ii) a finding made by a health care provider within six weeks of the birth of a child that the child was born dependent on a controlled substance that was not prescribed by a physician for the mother and has demonstrated withdrawal symptoms; (iii) a diagnosis made by a health care provider at any time following a child's birth that the child has an illness, disease, or condition which that, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, is attributable to in utero exposure to a controlled substance that was not prescribed by a physician for the mother or the child; or (iv) a diagnosis made by a health care provider at any time following a child's birth that the child has a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder attributable to in utero exposure to alcohol. When "reason to suspect" is based upon this subsection, such fact shall be included in the report along with the facts relied upon by the person making the report. Such reports shall not constitute a per se finding of child abuse or neglect. If a health care provider in a licensed hospital makes any medical finding or diagnosis set forth in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of this subdivision, the hospital shall be responsible for the development of a written discharge plan pursuant to § 32.1-127 B of the Code of Virginia.

a. Pursuant to § 63.2-1509 B of the Code of Virginia, whenever a health care provider makes a finding or diagnosis, then the health care provider or his designee must make a report to child protective services immediately.

b. When a valid report or complaint alleging abuse or neglect is made pursuant to § 63.2-1509 B of the Code of Virginia, then the local department must immediately assess the child's circumstances and any threat to the child's health and safety. Pursuant to 22VAC40-705-110 A, the local department must conduct an initial safety assessment.

c. When a valid report or complaint alleging abuse or neglect is made pursuant to § 63.2-1509 B of the Code of Virginia, then the local department must immediately determine whether to petition a juvenile and domestic relations district court for any necessary services or court orders needed to ensure the safety and health of the child.

d. Following the receipt of a report made pursuant to § 63.2-1509 B of the Code of Virginia, the local department may determine that no further action is required pursuant to § 63.2-1505 B of the Code of Virginia if the mother of the infant sought or received substance abuse counseling or treatment.

(1) The local department must notify the mother immediately upon receipt of a complaint made pursuant to § 63.2-1509 B of the Code of Virginia. This notification must include a statement informing the mother that, if the mother fails to present evidence that she sought or received substance abuse counseling or treatment during the pregnancy, then the local department shall conduct an investigation or family assessment.

(2) If the mother sought counseling or treatment but did not receive such services, then the local department must determine whether the mother made a good faith effort to receive substance abuse treatment before the child's birth. If the mother made a good faith effort to receive treatment or counseling prior to the child's birth, but did not receive such services due to no fault of her own, then the local department may determine no further action is required.

(3) If the mother sought or received substance abuse counseling or treatment, but there is evidence, other than exposure to a controlled substance, that the child may be abused or neglected, then the local department shall conduct an investigation or family assessment.

e. For purposes of this chapter, substance abuse counseling or treatment includes, but is not limited to, education about the impact of alcohol, controlled substances, and other drugs on the fetus and on the maternal relationship; education about relapse prevention to recognize personal and environmental cues that may trigger a return to the use of alcohol or other drugs.

f. The substance abuse counseling or treatment should attempt to serve the purposes of improving the pregnancy outcome, treating the substance abuse disorder, strengthening the maternal relationship with existing children and the infant, and achieving and maintaining a sober and drug-free lifestyle.

g. The substance abuse counseling or treatment services must be provided by a professional. Professional substance abuse treatment or counseling may be provided by a certified substance abuse counselor or a licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner.

h. Facts solely indicating that the infant may have been exposed to controlled substances prior to birth are not sufficient to render a founded disposition of abuse or neglect in an investigation.

i. The local department may provide assistance to the mother in locating and receiving substance abuse counseling or treatment.

B. Persons who may report child abuse or neglect include any individual who suspects that a child is being abused or neglected pursuant to § 63.2-1510 of the Code of Virginia.

C. Complaints and reports of child abuse or neglect may be made anonymously.

D. Any person making a complaint or report of child abuse or neglect shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability in connection therewith, unless it is proven that such person acted in bad faith or with malicious intent pursuant to § 63.2-1512 of the Code of Virginia.

E. When the identity of the reporter is known to the department or local department, these agencies shall not disclose the reporter's identity unless court ordered or required under § 63.2-1503 D of the Code of Virginia. Upon request, the local department shall advise the person who was the subject of an unfounded investigation if the complaint or report was made anonymously.

F. If a person suspects that he is the subject of a report or complaint of child abuse or neglect made in bad faith or with malicious intent, that person may petition the court for access to the record including the identity of the reporter or complainant pursuant to § 63.2-1514 of the Code of Virginia.

G. Any person age 14 years or older who makes or causes to be made a knowingly false complaint or report of child abuse or neglect and is convicted shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense pursuant to § 63.2-1513 of the Code of Virginia.

1. A subsequent conviction results in a Class 6 felony.

2. Upon receipt of notification of such conviction, the department will retain a list of convicted reporters.

3. The subject of the records may have the records purged upon presentation of a certified copy of such conviction.

4. The subject of the records shall be notified in writing that the records have been purged.

H. To make a complaint or report of child abuse or neglect, a person may telephone the department's toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline or contact a local department of jurisdiction pursuant to § 63.2-1510 of the Code of Virginia.

1. The local department of jurisdiction that first receives a complaint or report of child abuse or neglect shall assume responsibility to ensure that a family assessment or an investigation is conducted.

2. A local department may ask another local department that is a local department of jurisdiction to assist in conducting the family assessment or investigation. If assistance is requested, the local department shall comply.

3. A local department may ask another local department through a cooperative agreement to assist in conducting the family assessment or investigation.

4. If a local department employee is suspected of abusing or neglecting a child, the complaint or report of child abuse or neglect shall be made to the juvenile and domestic relations district court of the county or city where the alleged abuse or neglect was discovered. The judge shall assign the report to a local department that is not the employer of the subject of the report, or, if the judge believes that no local department in a reasonable geographic distance can be impartial in responding to the reported case, the judge shall assign the report to the court service unit of his court for evaluation pursuant to §§ 63.2-1509 and 63.2-1510 of the Code of Virginia. The judge may consult with the department in selecting a local department to respond.

5. In cases where an employee at a private or state-operated hospital, institution, or other facility or an employee of a school board is suspected of abusing or neglecting a child in such hospital, institution, or other facility or public school, the local department shall request the department and the relevant private or state-operated hospital, institution, or other facility or school board to assist in conducting a joint investigation in accordance with regulations adopted in 22VAC40-730, in consultation with the Departments of Education, Health, Medical Assistance Services, Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Juvenile Justice, and Corrections.

22VAC40-705-50

22VAC40-705-50. Actions to be taken upon receipt of a complaint or report.

A. All complaints and reports of suspected child abuse or neglect shall be recorded in the child abuse and neglect information system and either screened out or determined to be valid upon receipt and if valid, acted on within the determined response time. A record of all reports and complaints made to a local department or to the department, regardless of whether the report or complaint was found to be a valid complaint of abuse or neglect, shall be purged one year after the date of the report or complaint unless a subsequent report or complaint is made.

B. Pursuant to § 63.2-1506.1 A of the Code of Virginia, the local department shall conduct a human trafficking assessment when a report or complaint alleges that a child is a victim of sex trafficking or severe forms of trafficking, which is defined in § 63.2-100 of the Code of Virginia; the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 USC § 7102 et seq.); and the federal Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (42 USC § 5101 et seq.) as a commercial sex act that is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery, unless at any time during the human trafficking assessment the local department determines that an investigation or family assessment is required pursuant to § 63.2-1505 or 63.2-1506 of the Code of Virginia.

C. In all valid complaints or reports of child abuse or neglect, the local department of social services shall determine whether to conduct an investigation or a family assessment. A valid complaint or report is one in which:

1. The alleged victim child or children are under the age of is younger than 18 years of age at the time of the complaint or report;

2. The alleged abuser is the alleged victim child's parent or other caretaker;. Pursuant to § 63.2-1508 of the Code of Virginia, a valid report or complaint regarding a child who has been identified as a victim of sex trafficking or severe forms of trafficking as defined in § 63.2-100 of the Code of Virginia; the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 USC § 7102 et seq.); and the federal Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (42 USC § 5101 et seq.) may be established if the alleged abuser is the alleged victim child's parent, other caretaker, or any other person suspected to have caused such abuse or neglect.

3. The local department receiving the complaint or report has jurisdiction; and

4. The circumstances described allege suspected child abuse or neglect as defined in § 63.2-100 of the Code of Virginia.

C. D. The local department shall not conduct a family assessment or investigate complaints or reports of child abuse or neglect that fail to meet all of the criteria in subsection B C of this section.

D. E. The local department shall report certain cases of suspected child abuse or neglect to the local attorney for the Commonwealth and the local law-enforcement agency pursuant to § 63.2-1503 D of the Code of Virginia.

E. F. Pursuant to § 63.2-1503 D of the Code of Virginia, the local department shall develop, where practical, a memoranda of understanding for responding to reports of child abuse and neglect with local law enforcement and the local office of the commonwealth's attorney.

F. G. The local department shall report to the following when the death of a child is involved:

1. When abuse or neglect is suspected in any case involving the death of a child, the local department shall report the case immediately to the regional medical examiner and the local law-enforcement agency pursuant to § 63.2-1503 E of the Code of Virginia.

2. When abuse or neglect is suspected in any case involving the death of a child, the local department shall report the case immediately to the attorney for the Commonwealth and the local law-enforcement agency pursuant to § 63.2-1503 D of the Code of Virginia.

3. The local department shall contact the department immediately upon receiving a complaint involving the death of a child and at the conclusion of the investigation.

4. The department shall immediately, upon receipt of information, report on all child fatalities to the state board in a manner consistent with department policy and procedures approved by the board. At a minimum, the report shall contain information regarding any prior statewide child protective services involvement of the family, alleged perpetrator, or victim.

G. H. Valid complaints or reports shall be screened for high priority based on the following:

1. The immediate danger to the child;

2. The severity of the type of abuse or neglect alleged;

3. The age of the child;

4. The circumstances surrounding the alleged abuse or neglect;

5. The physical and mental condition of the child; and

6. Reports made by mandated reporters.

H. I. The local department shall respond within the determined response time. The response shall be a family assessment or an investigation. Any valid report may be investigated, but in accordance with § 63.2-1506 C of the Code of Virginia, those cases shall be investigated that involve (i) sexual abuse, (ii) a child fatality, (iii) abuse or neglect resulting in a serious injury as defined in § 18.2-371.1 of the Code of Virginia, (iv) a child having been taken into the custody of the local department of social services, or (v) a caretaker at a state-licensed child day care center, religiously exempt child day center, regulated family day home, private or public school, or hospital or any institution.

1. The purpose of an investigation is to collect the information necessary to determine or assess the following:

a. Immediate The immediate safety needs of the child;

b. Whether or not abuse or neglect has occurred;

c. Who abused or neglected the child;

d. To what extent the child is at risk of future harm;

e. What types of services can meet the needs of this child or family; and

f. If services are indicated and the family appears to be unable or unwilling to participate in services, what alternate plans will provide for the child's safety.

2. The purpose of a family assessment is to engage the family in a process to collect the information necessary to determine or assess the following:

a. Immediate The immediate safety needs of the child;

b. The extent to which the child is at risk of future harm;

c. The types of services that can meet the needs of this child or family; and

d. If services are indicated and the family appears to be unable or unwilling to participate in services, the plans that will be developed in consultation with the family to provide for the child's safety. These arrangements may be made in consultation with the caretaker of the child.

3. The local department shall use reasonable diligence to locate any child for whom a report or complaint of suspected child abuse or neglect has been received and determined valid and persons who are the subject of a valid report if the whereabouts of such persons are unknown to the local department pursuant to § 63.2-1503 F of the Code of Virginia.

4. The local department shall document its attempts to locate the child and family.

5. In the event the alleged victim child or children cannot be found after the local department has exercised reasonable diligence, the time the child cannot be found shall not be computed as part of the timeframe to complete the investigation, pursuant to subdivision B 5 of § 63.2-1505 of the Code of Virginia.

22VAC40-705-60

22VAC40-705-60. Authorities of local departments.

A. When responding to valid complaints or reports, local departments have the following authorities:

1. To talk to any child suspected of being abused or neglected, or child's siblings, without the consent of and outside the presence of the parent or other caretaker, as set forth by § 63.2-1518 of the Code of Virginia.

2. To take or arrange for photographs and x-rays of a child who is the subject of a complaint without the consent of and outside the presence of the parent or other caretaker, as set forth in § 63.2-1520 of the Code of Virginia.

3. To take a child into custody on an emergency removal under such circumstances as set forth in § 63.2-1517 of the Code of Virginia.

a. A child protective services worker planning to take a child into emergency custody shall first consult with a supervisor. However, this requirement shall not delay action on the child protective services worker's part if a supervisor cannot be contacted and the situation requires immediate action.

b. When circumstances warrant that a child be taken into emergency custody during a family assessment, the report shall be reassigned immediately as an investigation.

c. Any person who takes a child into custody pursuant to § 63.2-1517 of the Code of Virginia shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability in connection therewith, unless it is proven that such person acted in bad faith or with malicious intent.

d. The local department shall have the authority to have a complete medical examination made of the child including a written medical report and, when appropriate, photographs and x-rays pursuant to § 63.2-1520 of the Code of Virginia.

e. When a child in emergency custody is in need of immediate medical or surgical treatment, the local director of social services or his designee may consent to such treatment when the parent does not provide consent and a court order is not immediately obtainable.

f. When a child is not in the local department's custody, the local department cannot consent to medical or surgical treatment of the child.

g. When a child is removed, every effort must be made to obtain an emergency removal order within four hours. Reasons for not doing so shall be stated in the petition for an emergency removal order.

h. Every effort shall be made to provide notice of the removal in person to the parent or guardian as soon as practicable.

i. Within 30 days of removing a child from the custody of the parents or legal guardians, the local department shall exercise due diligence to identify and notify in writing all maternal and paternal grandparents and other adult relatives of the child (including any other adult relatives suggested by the parents) and all parents who have legal custody of any siblings of the child being removed and explain the options they have to participate in the care and placement of the child, subject to exceptions due to family or domestic violence. These notifications shall be documented in the state automated system. When notification to any of these relatives is not made, the local department shall document the reasons in the state automated system.

B. When responding to a complaint or report of abuse or neglect involving the human trafficking of a child, local departments may take a child into custody and maintain custody of the child for up to 72 hours without prior approval of a parent or guardian, provided that the alleged victim child has been identified as a victim of human trafficking as defined in § 63.2-100 of the Code of Virginia; the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 USC § 7102 et seq.); and the federal Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (42 USC § 5101 et seq.) and pursuant to § 63.2-1517 of the Code of Virginia.

1. After taking the child into custody, the local department shall notify the parent or guardian of such child as soon as practicable. Every effort shall be made to provide such notice in person.

2. The local department shall also notify the Child-Protective Services Unit within the department whenever a child is taken into custody.

3. When a child is taken into custody by a child-protective services worker of a local department pursuant to this subsection, that child shall be returned as soon as practicable to the custody of his parent or guardian. However, the local department shall not be required to return the child to his parent or guardian if the circumstances are such that continuing in his place of residence or in the care or custody of such parent or guardian, or custodian or other person responsible for the child's care, presents an imminent danger to the child's life or health to the extent that severe or irremediable injury would be likely to result or if the evidence of abuse is perishable or subject to deterioration before a hearing can be held.

4. If the local department cannot return the child to the custody of his parents or guardians within 72 hours, the local department shall obtain an emergency removal order pursuant to § 16.1-251 of the Code of Virginia.

22VAC40-705-70

22VAC40-705-70. Collection of information.

A. When conducting an investigation, the local department shall seek first-source information about the allegation of child abuse or neglect. When applicable, the local department shall include in the case record: police reports; depositions; photographs; physical, medical, and psychological reports; and any electronic recordings of interviews.

B. When completing a human trafficking assessment or family assessment, the local department shall gather all relevant information in collaboration with the family, to the degree possible, in order to determine the child and family services needs related to current safety or future risk of harm to the child.

C. All information collected for a human trafficking assessment, family assessment, or an investigation must be entered in the state automated system and maintained according to § 63.2-1514 for unfounded investigations or, family assessments, or invalid reports, or according to 22VAC40-705-130 for founded investigations. The automated record entered in the state automated system is the official record. When documentation is not available in electronic form, it must be maintained in the hard copy portion of the record. Any hard copy information, including photographs and recordings, shall be noted as an addendum to the official record.

22VAC40-705-80

22VAC40-705-80. Family assessment and investigation contacts.

A. During the course of the family assessment, the child protective services worker shall document in writing in the state automated system the following contacts and observations. When any of these contacts or observations is not made, the child protective services worker shall document in writing why the specific contact or observation was not made.

1. The child protective services worker shall conduct a face-to-face interview with and observe the alleged victim child within the determined response time.

2. The child protective services worker shall conduct a face-to-face interview with and observe all minor siblings residing in the home.

3. The child protective services worker shall conduct a face-to-face interview with and observe all other children residing in the home with parental permission.

4. The child protective services worker shall conduct a face-to-face interview with the alleged victim child's parents or guardians or any caretaker named in the report.

5. The child protective services worker shall observe the family environment, contact pertinent collaterals, and review pertinent records in consultation with the family.

B. During the course of the investigation, the child protective services worker shall document in writing in the state automated system the following contacts and observations. When any of these contacts or observations is not made, the child protective services worker shall document in writing why the specific contact or observation was not made.

1. The child protective services worker shall conduct a face-to-face interview with and observation of the alleged victim child within the determined response time. All interviews with alleged victim children must be electronically recorded except when the child protective services worker determines that:

a. The child's safety may be endangered by electronically recording his statement;

b. The age or developmental capacity of the child makes electronic recording impractical;

c. A The child refuses to participate in the interview if electronic recording occurs;

d. In the context of a team investigation with law-enforcement personnel, the team or team leader determines that electronic recording is not appropriate; or

e. The victim provided new information as part of a family assessment and it would be detrimental to reinterview the victim and the child protective services worker provides a detailed narrative of the interview in the investigation record.

In the case of an interview conducted with a nonverbal child where none of the above exceptions in this subdivision apply, it is appropriate to electronically record the questions being asked by the child protective services worker and to describe, either verbally or in writing, the child's responses. A child protective services worker shall document in detail in the record and discuss with supervisory personnel the basis for a decision not to electronically record an interview with the alleged victim child.

A child protective services finding may be based on the written narrative of the child protective services worker in cases where an electronic recording is unavailable due to equipment failure or the above exceptions in this subdivision 1.

2. The child protective services worker shall conduct a face-to-face interview and observe all minor siblings residing in the home.

3. The child protective services worker shall conduct a face-to-face interview with and observe all other children residing in the home with parental permission.

4. The child protective services worker shall conduct a face-to-face interview with the alleged abuser or neglector.

a. The child protective services worker shall inform the alleged abuser or neglector of his right to electronically record any communication pursuant to § 63.2-1516 of the Code of Virginia.

b. If requested by the alleged abuser or neglector, the local department shall provide the necessary equipment in order to electronically record the interview and retain a copy of the electronic recording.

5. The child protective services worker shall conduct a face-to-face interview with the alleged victim child's parents or guardians.

6. The child protective services worker shall observe the environment where the alleged victim child lives. This requirement may be waived in complaints or reports of child abuse and neglect that took place in state licensed and religiously exempted child day centers, regulated and unregulated family day homes, private and public schools, group residential facilities, hospitals, or institutions where the alleged abuser or neglector is an employee or volunteer at such facility.

7. The child protective services worker shall observe the site where the alleged incident took place.

8. The child protective services worker shall conduct interviews with collaterals who have pertinent information relevant to the investigation and the safety of the child.

9. C. Pursuant to §§ 63.2-1505 and 63.2-1506 of the Code of Virginia, local departments may obtain and consider statewide criminal history record information from the Central Criminal Records Exchange and shall obtain and consider results of a search of the Central Registry on any individual who is the subject of a child abuse and neglect investigation or family assessment where there is evidence of child abuse or neglect and the local department is evaluating the safety of the home and whether removal is necessary to ensure the child's safety. The local department may also obtain a criminal record check and a Central Registry check on all adult household members residing in the home of the alleged abuser or neglector and where the child visits. Pursuant to § 19.2-389 of the Code of Virginia, local departments are authorized to receive criminal history information on the person who is the subject of the investigation as well as other adult members of the household for the purposes in § 63.2-1505 of the Code of Virginia. The results of the criminal record history search may be admitted into evidence if a child abuse or neglect petition is filed in connection with the child's removal. Local departments are prohibited from dissemination of this information except as authorized by the Code of Virginia.

D. Pursuant to §§ 63.2-1505 and 63.2-1506 of the Code of Virginia, local departments must determine whether the subject of an investigation or family assessment has resided in another state within the last five years, and, if he has resided in another state, shall request a search of the child abuse and neglect registry or equivalent registry maintained by such state.

22VAC40-705-150

22VAC40-705-150. Services.

A. At the completion of a human trafficking assessment, the local department may consult with the family to arrange for necessary protective and rehabilitative services to be provided to the child and his family pursuant to subdivision B 2 of § 63.2-1506.1 of the Code of Virginia.

B. At the completion of a family assessment or investigation, the local department shall consult with the family to provide or arrange for necessary protective and rehabilitative services to be provided to the child and his family to the extent funding is available pursuant to subdivision A 2 of § 63.2-1505 or § 63.2-1506 of the Code of Virginia.

B. C. Families may decline services offered as a result of a human trafficking assessment, family assessment, or an investigation. If the family declines services, the case shall be closed unless there is an existing court order or the local department determines that sufficient cause exists due to threat of harm or actual harm to the child to redetermine the case as one that needs to be brought to the attention of the court. In no instance shall these actions be taken solely because the family declines services.

C. D. At the completion of a human trafficking assessment, family assessment, or investigation, local departments of social services may petition the court for services deemed necessary.

D. E. Protective services also includes preventive services to children about whom no formal complaint of abuse or neglect has been made, but for whom potential harm or threat of harm exists, to be consistent with §§ 16.1-251, 16.1-252, 16.1-279.1, 63.2-1503 J, and 63.2-1502 of the Code of Virginia.

E. F. Local departments shall support the establishment and functioning of multidisciplinary teams pursuant to § 63.2-1503 J of the Code of Virginia.

F. G. The local department must use reasonable diligence to locate any child for whom a founded disposition of abuse or neglect has been made and/or or a child protective services case has been opened pursuant to § 63.2-1503 F of the Code of Virginia. The local department shall document its attempts to locate the child and family.

G. H. When an abused or neglected child and persons who are the subject of an open child abuse services case have relocated out of the jurisdiction of the local department, the local department shall notify the child protective services agency in the jurisdiction to which such persons have relocated, whether inside or outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and forward to such agency relevant portions of the case records pursuant to § 63.2-1503 G of the Code of Virginia.

H. I. The receiving local department shall arrange necessary protective and rehabilitative services pursuant to § 63.2-1503 G of the Code of Virginia.

22VAC40-705-190

 22VAC40-705-190. Appeals.

A. Appeal is the process by which the abuser or neglector may request amendment of the record when the investigation into the complaint has resulted in a founded disposition of child abuse or neglect.

B. If the alleged abuser or neglector is found to have committed abuse or neglect, that alleged abuser or neglector may, within 30 days of being notified of that determination, submit a written request for an amendment of the determination and the local department's related records, pursuant to § 63.2-1526 A of the Code of Virginia. The local department shall conduct an informal conference in an effort to examine the local department's disposition and reasons for it and consider additional information about the investigation and disposition presented by the alleged abuser or neglector. The local department shall notify the child abuse and neglect information system that an appeal is pending.

C. Whenever an appeal is requested and a criminal charge or investigation is also filed or commenced against the appellant for the same conduct involving the same victim child as investigated by the local department, the appeal process shall be stayed until the criminal prosecution in circuit the trial court is completed, until the criminal investigation is closed, or in the case of a criminal investigation, 180 days have passed since the appellant's request for an appeal, pursuant to § 63.2-1526 C of the Code of Virginia. During such stay, the appellant's right of access to the records of the local department regarding the matter being appealed shall also be stayed. Once the criminal prosecution in circuit trial court has been completed, the criminal investigation has been completed, or in the case of a criminal investigation, 180 days have passed since the appellant's request for an appeal, the local department shall advise the appellant in writing of his right to resume his appeal within the timeframe provided by law and regulation pursuant to § 63.2-1526 C of the Code of Virginia.

D. The local department shall conduct an informal, local conference and render a decision on the appellant's request to amend the record within 45 days of receiving the request. If the local department either refuses the appellant's request for amendment of the record as a result of the local conference, or if the local department fails to act within 45 days of receiving such request, the appellant may, within 30 days thereafter and in writing, request the commissioner for an administrative hearing pursuant to § 63.2-1526 A of the Code of Virginia.

E. The appellant may request, in writing, an extension of the 45-day requirement for a specified period of time, not to exceed an additional 60 days. When there is an extension period, the 30-day timeframe to request an administrative hearing from the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services shall begin on the termination of the extension period pursuant to § 63.2-1526 A of the Code of Virginia.

F. Upon written request, the local department shall provide the appellant all information used in making its determination. Disclosure of the reporter's name or information which that may endanger the well-being of a child shall not be released. The identity of any collateral witnesses witness or any other person shall not be released if disclosure may endanger their that witness's or person's life or safety. Information prohibited from being disclosed by state or federal law or regulation shall not be released. In case of any information withheld, the appellant shall be advised of the general nature of the information and the reasons, of privacy or otherwise, that it is being withheld, pursuant to § 63.2-1526 A of the Code of Virginia.

G. The director of the local department, or a designee of the director, shall preside over the local conference. With the exception of the director of the local department, no person whose regular duties include substantial involvement with child abuse and neglect cases shall preside over the local conference pursuant to § 63.2-1526 A of the Code of Virginia.

1. The appellant may be represented by counsel pursuant to § 63.2-1526 A of the Code of Virginia.

2. The appellant shall be entitled to present the testimony of witnesses, documents, factual data, arguments, or other submissions of proof pursuant to § 63.2-1526 A of the Code of Virginia.

3. The director of the local department, or a designee of the director, shall notify the appellant, in writing, of the results of the local conference within 45 days of receipt of the written request from the appellant unless the timeframe has been extended as described in subsection E of this section. The director of the local department, or the designee of the director, shall have the authority to sustain, amend, or reverse the local department's findings. Notification of the results of the local conference shall be mailed, certified with return receipt, to the appellant. The local department shall notify the child abuse and neglect information system of the results of the local conference.

H. If the appellant is unsatisfied with the results of the local conference, the appellant may, within 30 days of receiving notice of the results of the local conference, submit a written request to the commissioner for an administrative hearing pursuant to § 63.2-1526 B of the Code of Virginia.

1. The commissioner shall designate a member of his staff to conduct the proceeding pursuant to § 63.2-1526 B of the Code of Virginia.

2. A hearing officer shall schedule a hearing date within 45 days of the receipt of the appeal request unless there are delays due to subpoena requests, depositions, or scheduling problems.

3. After a party's written motion and showing good cause, the hearing officer may issue subpoenas for the production of documents or to compel the attendance of witnesses at the hearing. The victim child and that child's siblings shall not be subpoenaed, deposed, or required to testify, pursuant to § 63.2-1526 B of the Code of Virginia.

4. Upon petition, the juvenile and domestic relations district court shall have the power to enforce any subpoena that is not complied with or to review any refusal to issue a subpoena. Such decisions may not be further appealed except as part of a final decision that is subject to judicial review pursuant to § 63.2-1526 B of the Code of Virginia.

5. Upon providing reasonable notice to the other party and the hearing officer, a party may, at his own expense, depose a nonparty and submit that deposition at, or prior to, the hearing. The victim child and the child's siblings shall not be deposed. The hearing officer is authorized to determine the number of depositions that will be allowed pursuant to § 63.2-1526 B of the Code of Virginia.

6. The local department shall provide the hearing officer a copy of the investigation record prior to the administrative hearing. By making a written request to the local department, the appellant may obtain a copy of the investigation record. The appellant shall be informed of the procedure by which information will be made available or withheld from him.

In any case of information withheld, the appellant shall be advised of the general nature of the information and the reasons that it is being withheld pursuant to § 63.2-1526 B of the Code of Virginia.

7. The appellant and the local department may be represented by counsel at the administrative hearing.

8. The hearing officer shall administer an oath or affirmation to all parties and witnesses planning to testify at the hearing pursuant to § 63.2-1526 B of the Code of Virginia.

9. The local department shall have the burden to show that the preponderance of the evidence supports the founded disposition. The local department shall be entitled to present the testimony of witnesses, documents, factual data, arguments or other submissions of proof.

10. The appellant shall be entitled to present the testimony of witnesses, documents, factual data, arguments, or other submissions of proof.

11. The hearing officer may allow either party to submit new or additional evidence at the administrative hearing if it is relevant to the matter being appealed.

12. The hearing officer shall not be bound by the strict rules of evidence. However, the hearing officer shall only consider that evidence, presented by either party, which is substantially credible or reliable.

13. The hearing officer may allow the record to remain open for a specified period of time, not to exceed 14 days, to allow either party to submit additional evidence unavailable for the administrative hearing.

14. In the event that new or additional evidence is presented at the administrative hearing, the hearing officer may remand the case to the local department for reconsideration of the findings. If the local department fails to act within 14 days or fails to amend the findings to the satisfaction of the appellant, then the hearing officer shall render a decision, pursuant to § 63.2-1526 B of the Code of Virginia.

I. Within 60 days of the close of receiving evidence, the hearing officer shall render a written decision. The hearing officer shall have the authority to sustain, amend, or reverse the local department's findings. The written decision of the hearing officer shall state the findings of fact, conclusions based on regulation and policy, and the final disposition. The decision will be sent to the appellant by certified mail, return receipt requested. Copies of the decision shall be mailed to the appellant's counsel, the local department and the local department's counsel. The hearing officer shall notify the child abuse and neglect information system of the hearing decision. The local department shall notify all other prior recipients of the record of the findings of the hearing officer's decision.

J. The hearing officer shall notify the appellant of the appellant's further right of review in circuit court in the event that the appellant is not satisfied with the written decision of the hearing officer. Appeals are governed by Part 2A of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia. The local department shall have no further right of review pursuant to § 63.2-1526 B of the Code of Virginia.

K. In the event that the hearing officer's decision is appealed to circuit court, the department shall prepare a transcript for that proceeding. That transcript or narrative of the evidence shall be provided to the circuit court along with the complete hearing record. If a court reporter was hired by the appellant, the court reporter shall prepare the transcript and provide the court with a transcript.