Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 22. Social Services
Agency 40. Department of Social Services
Chapter 131. Standards for Licensed Child-Placing Agencies

22VAC40-131-180. Home study requirements.

A. The licensee shall require that all persons applying to be a resource, foster, adoptive, treatment foster care, or short-term foster care family home provider submit to the licensee a complete application containing elements required by this regulation and in accordance with requirements prescribed by the department.

B. Upon receipt of a provider application, the licensee shall review the application for completeness and notify the applicant of the status of the application.

C. Upon the licensee's determination that the provider application is complete, the licensee shall 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.

D. The licensee shall conduct a minimum of three face-to-face interviews on three separate days with each applicant.

E. At least one of the face-to-face interviews shall be conducted in the home of the applicant and, if there are two applicants, at least one face-to-face interview shall be conducted with both applicants present.

F. At least one face-to-face interview shall be conducted with all individuals who reside in the home of the applicant.

G. The licensee shall obtain and document a minimum of three references on each applicant from persons who have knowledge of the applicant's character, his applicable experience with children, and his experience in caretaking of others. At least one reference shall be from a nonrelative.

H. The licensee shall obtain from the applicant information regarding previous applications submitted to another public or private child-placing agency and whether as a result of the previous applications, he was approved by another public or private child-placing agency as a provider.

I. The licensee shall obtain from the applicant a signed authorization allowing the previous child-placing agency to release information to the licensee about previous applications, his child-caring performance as an approved provider, and current status as a provider. The signed authorization and information received shall be filed and maintained in the applicant's file.

J. The home study conducted by the licensee shall be documented in the file of the applicant and shall include the following components:

1. All department-required information including:

a. Sworn disclosure statement or affirmation, results of background checks in compliance with applicable state and federal laws;

b. Tuberculosis screenings in compliance with requirements of the Virginia Department of Health for the applicant and all other household members who come into contact with the children as described in 22VAC40-131-290 K; and

c. Driving records obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles for the applicant and all adults who are expected to transport children.

2. A combination of narrative documentation and other data collection formats, including:

a. Dated signatures of:

(1) The individual who completed the home study; and

(2) The licensee's executive director or his designee.

b. Demographic information including:

(1) Age of applicant;

(2) Marital history and status, including verifications of provider couple's marriages and divorces; and

(3) Family composition and history.

c. Financial information listed in subdivisions (1), (2), and (3) of this subdivision is required for all applicants except those individuals applying solely to provide short-term foster care:

(1) Employment history of the applicant;

(2) Assets and resources of applicant; and

(3) Debts and obligations of applicant.

d. A list of the names and roles of each individual involved in completing the home study.

e. Narrative documentation shall include dates and a summary of content information from interviews, references, observations, and other available information. The collective information shall be used to assess the applicant and document that the applicant:

(1) Is knowledgeable about care necessary for children;

(2) Is physically and mentally capable of providing the necessary care for children as described in 22VAC40-131-290 L and M;

(3) Has an understanding of the importance of establishing and enforcing rules to encourage desired behavior and discourage undesired behavior;

(4) Understands he is prohibited from using any form of corporal punishment on the child and also prohibited from giving permission to others to use any form of corporal punishment on the child;

(5) Is able to articulate a reasonable process for managing emergencies and ensuring the adequate care, safety, and protection of children;

(6) Expresses attitudes that demonstrate the capacity to love and nurture a child or youth born to someone else;

(7) Expresses appropriate motivation for reasons to foster or adopt;

(8) Shows stability in all household relationships;

(9) Has the financial resources to provide for current and on-going household needs and maintenance of the family; and

(10) Has in-force vehicle liability insurance, if he will transport children.

f. Documentation that the home complies with the standards for the home as required by 22VAC40-131-190.

g. A confidentiality statement signed and dated by the applicant.

K. The results of background checks received by the licensee shall be maintained in the respective applicant's file.

L. The licensee shall not further disseminate results of background investigation information unless permitted to do so in accordance with state and federal laws.

M. Prior to making a decision on the applicant, the licensee shall consider all information received about an applicant.

N. The licensee shall document an addendum to the home study when any significant change or circumstance impacts the conditions of the original approval. Unless such change or circumstance affects the safety or well-being of the children placed in the home, the original approval period for the provider shall remain in effect.

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.

Statutory Authority

§§ 63.2-217 and 63.2-1734 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 10, eff. May 1, 2012.

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