Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Proposed Text


Establish Resource, Foster and Adoptive Family Home Standards ...
Stage: Proposed




22VAC40-211-10. Definitions.

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

"Adoptive parent" means any provider selected and approved by a parent or a child-placing agency for the placement of a child with the intent of adoption. 

"Adult" means any person 18 years of age or over.

"Applicant" means an individual or couple applying to be approved as a resource, foster and/or adoptive home provider.

"Caretaker" means any individual having the responsibility of providing care for a child and includes the following:  (i) parent or other person legally responsible for the child's care; (ii) any other person who has assumed caretaking responsibility by virtue of an agreement with the legally responsible person; (iii) person responsible by virtue of their position of conferred authority; (iv) adult person residing in the home with the child.

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

"Child" means any natural person under 18 years of age.

"Child-placing agency" means any person who places children in foster homes, adoptive homes or independent living arrangements pursuant to § 63.2-1819 or a local board that places children in foster homes or adoptive homes pursuant to §§ 63.2-900, 63.2-903 or 63.2-1221.  Officers, employees, or agents of the Commonwealth, or any locality acting within the scope of their authority as such, who serve as or maintain a child-placing agency, shall not be required to be licensed.

"Child abuse and neglect information system" means the computer system which 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 non-identifying 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 non-purged child Protective services reports. This system is the official state automated system.

"Commissioner" means the Commissioner of the Department, his designee or authorized representative.

"Corporal punishment" means punishment administered through the intentional infliction of pain or discomfort to the body through actions such as, but not limited to, (i) striking, or hitting with any part of the body or with an implement; (ii) pinching, pulling, or shaking; or (iii) any similar action which normally inflicts pain or discomfort.

"Department" means the State Department of Social Services.

"Dual  approval process" means a process that includes a home study, mutual selection, interviews, training and background checks to be completed on all applicants to be considered for approval as a resource, foster and/or adoptive family home provider.

"Foster parent" means an approved provider who gives 24-hour substitute family care, room and board, and services for children or youth committed or entrusted to a child placing agency.

"Fully approved" means a decision by the local department that the provider has met all requirements to be approved as a resource, foster and/or adoptive home provider.

"Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children" means a uniform law that has been enacted by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands which establishes orderly procedures for the interstate placement of children and sets responsibility for those involved in placing those children.

"Infant" means any child from birth up to 16 months of age.

"Local department" means the local department of social services of any county or city in this Commonwealth.

"Parent" means the birth or adoptive parent of a child.

"Provider" means resource, foster and/or adoptive provider.

"Resource parent" means a provider who is trained and committed both to support reunification and also to be prepared to adopt the child if the child and family do not reunify.  


Statutory Authority

§ of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume , Issue , eff. Month dd, yyyy.


22VAC40-211-20. Approval of Provider Homes.

A. When applicants are approved in accordance with these standards, they are approved as foster families and/or adoptive families or resource families.  The approved provider shall, however, be allowed to choose to provide only foster care or adoption services should they not wish to serve as a resource family.

B. If the provider cannot meet the standards described in these sections, the local department may, upon its discretion, allow a variance on certain standards in accordance with 22 VAC 40-211-100.  If the variance is not allowed, the local department shall not approve the home for the placement of children.

C.  These standards apply to adoptive home providers until the final order of adoption is issued.

Statutory Authority

§ of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume , Issue , eff. Month dd, yyyy.


22VAC40-211-30. Background checks and health standards.

A.  All local department approved resource, foster and/or adoptive providers shall be at least 18 years of age.

B.  All background checks must be in accordance with applicable federal and state laws and regulations.  Convictions of offenses as set out in § 63.2-1719, shall preclude approval an application to become resource, foster and/or adoptive provider. 

C. Documentation of the results of the criminal records check shall be maintained in the applicant's record.  Criminal history record information shall not be disseminated to any other party, nor shall it be archived except in the local department's provider file.

D. The resource, foster and/or adoptive home applicant and all other household members who come in contact with children shall submit to tuberculosis screening or tests in compliance with Virginia Department of Health requirements.  The applicant  and other caretakers residing in the home shall submit the results of a physical examination administered within the twelve-month period prior to approval, from a licensed health care professional that comments on each applicant's or caretaker's mental or physical condition relative  to taking care of a child. 

E.  The local department shall obtain a Department of Motor Vehicle Driver Record check for any resource, foster and/or adoptive applicants or other adults in the home who are expected to transport children and may consider the results of the Driver Record check in the approval process.

Statutory Authority

§ of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume , Issue , eff. Month dd, yyyy.


22VAC40-211-40. Home study requirements.

A.  Applicants for resource, foster and/or adoptive provider shall complete and submit an application to become an approved provider in accordance with Department requirements and on Department approved forms or other forms that address all of the Department's requirements.

B. Upon submission of a completed provider application the local department is responsible for ensuring the completion of the home study process.

C. Local departments shall conduct a minimum of three face-to-face interviews with each applicant, at least one shall be in the applicant's home.  If there are two individuals listed as applicants, at least one interview must be with both individuals.   At least one interview shall be with all individuals who are residing in the home.

D. The local department shall obtain at least three references from persons who have knowledge of each applicant's character and applicable experience with children and caretaking of others.  At least one reference per person shall be from a non-relative.

E.  Local departments shall ask if a prospective resource, foster and/or adoptive provider previously applied to, or was approved by, another local department or licensed child-placing agency.  The local department shall have the applicant sign a request to release information from the other agency in order to obtain information about  previous applications and performance and shall use that information in considering approval of the applicant.

F.  The home study shall contain all Department required information and be documented by a combination of narrative and other data collection formats,  and shall be signed and dated by the individual completing the home study and the director of the local department or his designee.  The information presented shall include:

1. Demographic information including:

a.  Age of applicant;

b.  Marital status and history; and,

c.  Family composition and history

2.  Financial information including:

a.  Employment information on applicant;

b.  Assets and resources of applicant; and,

c.  Debts and obligations of applicant

3  List of individuals involved in completing the home study process and their role.

4.Narrative documentation shall include information from the interviews, references, observations and other available information, and shall be used to assess and document that the applicant:

a. Is knowledgeable about the necessary care for children and physically and mentally capable of providing the necessary care for children;

b. Is able to sustain positive and constructive relationships with others in their care, and relate to people with respect, courtesy and understanding;

c. Family is able to articulate a reasonable process for managing emergencies and ensuring the adequate care, safety and protection of children;

d. Expresses attitudes that demonstrate the capacity to love and nurture a child born to someone else;

e. Expresses appropriate motivation for reasons to foster or adopt;

f. If married, shows marital stability; and,

g. Has the financial resources to provide for current and on-going household needs.

5.  Documentation of compliance with 22 VAC 40-211-70.

6.  Providers shall sign a confidentiality form and local departments shall keep the signed form in the child's file. 

G.  Significant changes in the circumstances of the provider that would impact the conditions of their approval require an updated home study documented through an addendum. This does not change the approval period for the provider. 

Statutory Authority

§ of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume , Issue , eff. Month dd, yyyy.


22VAC40-211-50. Approval period and documentation of approval.

A.  The approval period for a provider is 36 months.

B. The approved provider shall be given an approval certificate specifying the following:

1. Type of approval (resource, foster and/or adoptive family home provider);

2. Date when the approval became effective and the date when the approval lapses;

3. The gender, age and number of children recommended for placement in the home, and;

4. The signature and title of the individual approving the home.

C.  Documentation shall be maintained on the provider and child:

1. The local department's file on the child shall contain:

a. A copy of the provider's approval certificate; or,

b. If the provider is licensed by a licensed child placing agency, a copy of the licensed child placing agency license and the provider home approval certificate or letter.

2.  All information on the provider able to be maintained in the  Department's official child welfare data system shall be maintained in that system

3. The local department's file on the provider shall contain but not be limited to:

a. A copy of the provider's approval certificate;

b. A copy of the criminal background check results;

c. A copy of the Child Protective Services check;

d. A copy of the application;

e. Reference letters;

f.  A copy of the home study and supporting documentation;

g.  Documentation of orientation and training; and

h.  Documentation of contacts and visits in the provider's home.

4. Local departments shall require the provider to maintain legible written information on each child in their care including:

a. Identifying information on the child;

b. Name, address, and work telephone number of the local department caseworker and local department after hours emergency contact information;

c. Name, address, and home and/or work telephone numbers of persons authorized to pick up the child;

d. Name of persons not authorized to call or visit the child;

e. Educational records, report cards and other school-related documentation;

f.  Medical information pertinent to the health care of the child including all licensed health care providers' names, addresses and telephone numbers;

g. Correspondence related to the child;

h. The service plan as well as other written child information provided by the local department; and,

i. The placement agreement between the provider and the local department.

5. Providers shall maintain files in a secure location in order to protect the confidentiality of that information.  The file and its contents shall not be shared with anyone other than those approved by the local department and shall be returned to the local department if the child leaves the provider's home.

6.  The local department and its representatives shall have access to all records.


Statutory Authority

§ of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume , Issue , eff. Month dd, yyyy.


22VAC40-211-60. Training.

A.  The local department shall ensure that pre-service training is provided for resource, foster and adoptive family home providers. This training shall address but not be limited to the following core competencies:

1.  Factors that contribute to neglect, emotional maltreatment, physical abuse, and sexual abuse, and the effects thereof;

2.  Conditions and experiences that may cause developmental delays and affect attachment;

3.  Stages of normal human growth and development;

4.  Concept of permanence for children and selection of the permanency goal;

5.  Reunification as the primary child welfare goal, the process and experience of reunification;

6.  Importance of visits and other contacts in strengthening relationships between the child and his birth family, including his siblings;

7.  Legal and social processes and implications of adoption;

8.  Support of  older youth's transition to independent living;

9.  The professional team's role in supporting the transition to permanency and preventing unplanned placement disruptions;

10.  Relationship between child welfare laws, the local department's mandates, and how the local department carries out its mandates;

11.  Purpose of service planning;

12. Impact of multiple placements on a child's development;

13. Types of and response to loss, and the factors that influence the experience of separation, loss, and placement;

14.  Cultural, spiritual, social, and economic similarities and differences between a child's primary family and foster or adoptive family;

15.  Preparing a child for family visits and helping him manage his feelings in response to family contacts;

16.  Developmentally appropriate, effective and non-physical disciplinary techniques;

17.  Promoting a child's sense of identity, history, culture, and values;

18. Respecting a child's connection to his birth family, previous foster families and/or adoptive families;

19.  Being nonjudgmental in caring for the child, working with his family, and collaborating with other members of the team;

20.  Roles, rights, and responsibilities of foster parents and adoptive parents; and,

21.  Maintaining a home and community environment that promotes safety and well-being.

B.  Local departments shall ensure that each provider receives annual on-going training. 

1.  Training shall be relevant to the needs of children and families and may be structured to include multiple types of training modalities (for example, on-line foster parent training courses; seminars and conferences).

2.  The Department shall provide opportunities for training on an annual basis. 

C.  The provider is required to complete pre-service and annual in-service trainings.

D.  The provider is considered fully approved if he meets all other requirements for approval and is enrolled in and completes the next available pre-service training.  The provider shall sign a written agreement to this effect.  A provider's approval shall be revoked if he does not complete the training as per the written agreement.

E.  Local departments shall explain confidentiality requirements to providers and require providers keep all information regarding the child, his family and the circumstances that resulted in the child coming into care confidential.

Statutory Authority

§ of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume , Issue , eff. Month dd, yyyy.


22VAC40-211-70. Standards for the home of the provider.

A. The home shall have sufficient appropriate space and furnishings for each child receiving care in the home including:

1. Space to keep clothing and other personal belongings;

2. Accessible basin and toilet facilities;

3. Comfortable sleeping furnishings;

4. Sleeping space on the first floor of the home for a child unable to use stairs unassisted, other than a child who can easily be carried; and,

5. Space for recreational activities.

B. All rooms used by the child shall be heated in winter, dry, and well ventilated.

C. Rooms used by the child shall have adequate lighting.

D. The provider shall have access to a working telephone in the home.

E. Multiple children sharing a bedroom shall each have adequate space including closet and storage space.  Bedrooms shall have adequate square footage for each child to have personal space. 

F. Children over the age of sixteen months (infants) shall not share a bed.

G. Children over the age of two shall not share a bedroom with an adult unless the local department approves and documents a plan to allow the child to sleep in the provider's bedroom due to documented needs, disabilities or other specified conditions.

H. Children under age seven or children with significant and documented cognitive or physical disabilities shall not use the top bunk of bunk beds.

I. The home and grounds shall be free from litter and debris and present no hazard to the safety of the child receiving care.

1. The provider shall permit a fire inspection of the home by appropriate authorities if conditions indicate a need and the local department requests such an inspection.

2. Attics or basements used by the child for any reason shall have two exits.  One of the  exits shall lead directly outside, and may be an escapable door or an escapable window.

3. Possession of any weapons, including firearms, in the home shall comply with federal and state laws and local ordinances.  The provider shall store any firearms and other weapons with the activated safety mechanisms, in a locked closet or cabinet.  Ammunition shall be stored in a separate and locked area.  The key or combination to the locked closet or cabinet shall be maintained out of the reach of all children in the home.

4. Providers shall ensure that household pets are not a health or safety hazard in accordance with state laws and local ordinances and the local department shall request verification of provider compliance.

5. Providers shall keep cleaning supplies and other toxic substances stored away from food and secured as appropriate. 

6. All homes shall have an ABC class fire extinguisher. 

7. Every home shall have an operable smoke detector, the specific requirements of which shall be coordinated through the local fire marshal.  If a locality does not have a local fire marshal, the state fire marshal shall be contacted.

L. The number of children placed in the provider's home shall be determined by the local department  based, on but not limited to, the following considerations: 

1. The physical accommodations of the home;

2. The capabilities and skills of the provider to manage the number of children;

3. The needs and special requirements of the child;

4.  Whether the child's best interest requires placement in a certain type of home (for example, a home with no young children or a home with no other child);

5. Whether any individuals in the home, including the provider's children, require special attention or services of the provider that interfere with the provider's ability to ensure the safety of all children in the home; and,

6. The foster care provider is also a day care provider.

M. During the approval process, the provider shall develop a written emergency plan that includes, but is not limited to, fire and natural disasters.  The plan shall include:

1.  How the provider plans to maintain the safety and meet the needs of the child in their home during a disaster;

2. How the provider shall evacuate the home, if necessary, in a disaster; and,

3. How the provider shall relocate in the event of a large scale evacuation.

Resource or foster parents shall arrange for responsible adults to be available who can serve in the caretaker's role in case of an emergency.  If the planned or long-term absence of the provider is required, the local department shall be notified of and approve any substitute arrangements the provider wishes to make. Statutory Authority

§ of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume , Issue , eff. Month dd, yyyy.


22VAC40-211-80. Standards of care for continued approval.

A.  The provider shall provide care which does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or family status.

B. The provider shall ensure the child receives meals and snacks appropriate to his daily nutritional needs.  The child shall receive a special diet if prescribed by a licensed health care provider or designee or in accordance with religious or ethnic requirements or other special needs.

C. The provider shall ensure that he can be responsive to the special mental health or medical needs of the child.

D. The provider shall establish rules that encourage desired behavior and discourage undesired behavior.  The provider shall not use corporal punishment or give permission to others to do so and shall sign an agreement to this effect.

E. The provider shall provide clean and seasonal clothing appropriate for the age and size of the child.  

F. If a provider regularly transports the child, the provider must have a valid driver's license and automobile liability insurance.  These will be checked at approval and re-approval but verification may be required at any time deemed necessary.

G. The vehicle used to transport the child shall have a valid license and inspection sticker.

H. Providers and any other adults who transport children shall use child restraint devices in accordance with requirements of Virginia law.

Statutory Authority

§ of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume , Issue , eff. Month dd, yyyy.


22VAC40-211-90. Allowing a variance.

A.  The local department may request and the provider may receive a variance from the Department on a standard if the variance does not jeopardize the safety and proper care of the child or violate federal or state laws or local ordinances. 

B.  If a provider is granted a variance and is in compliance with all other requirements of this chapter, the provider is considered fully approved.

C.. Any variances granted must be reviewed on an annual basis by the Department


Statutory Authority

§ of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume , Issue , eff. Month dd, yyyy.


22VAC40-211-100. Monitoring and re-approval of providers.

A. The local department's representative shall visit the home of the approved provider as often as necessary but at least quarterly to provide support to and monitor the performance of the provider and shall document these visits in the provider record.

B.  The re-approval process shall include:

1.  A review of the previous home approval information;

2.  Updating any information that has changed and a consideration of new information since the previous approval;

3.  Completing all state criminal record and child protective services background checks;

4.  Obtaining the results of a new tuberculosis screening;

5.  Reviewing the confidentiality and the corporal punishment requirements and completing new confidentiality and corporal punishment agreements;

6.  A reassessment of the above information to determine reapproval; and

7.  A home study addendum indicating that the above requirements were met.

C.  If  monitoring efforts indicate that significant changes in the circumstances of the provider would impact the conditions of their approval have occurred, an addendum shall be completed and included with home study.  

D.  The home study addendum shall contain all Department required information and be documented by a combination of narrative and other data collection formats,  and shall be signed and dated by the individual completing the addendum and the director of the local department or his designee. 

Statutory Authority

§ of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume , Issue , eff. Month dd, yyyy.


22VAC40-211-110. Provider's right to grieve.

A.  The applicant shall have the right to grieve the actions of the local department to the local board on issues related to their application to become a resource, foster and/or adoptive home provider.

B.  Decisions on the placement of a specific child with a provider are not subject to grievance.  The local board shall have the final authority to determine appropriate placement for children pursuant to §16.1-278.2 of the Code of Virginia.  Decisions regarding final adoptive placements are made by the circuit court pursuant to Title 63.2, Chapter 12, of the Code of Virginia.

Statutory Authority

§ of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume , Issue , eff. Month dd, yyyy.