Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 22. Social Services
Agency 40. Department of Social Services
Chapter 201. Permanency Services - Prevention, Foster Care, Adoption and Independent Living

22VAC40-201-40. Foster care placements.

A. Within 30 days of the child being placed in the custody of the local board, the local department shall exercise due diligence to identify and notify in writing all adult relatives, including the parents of siblings who have legal custody of such siblings, that the child has been removed and explain the options to relatives to participate in the care and placement of the child including eligibility as a kinship foster parent and the services and supports that may be available for children placed in such a home. The local department may determine it is not in the child's best interest to notify relatives who have a history of domestic violence; have been convicted of barrier crimes as defined in § 63.2-1719 of the Code of Virginia other than those described in subsections E, F, G, and H of § 63.2-1721 of the Code of Virginia; or are listed on the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry. Additionally, if the birth father is unknown, the local department shall search the Virginia Birth Father Registry within 30 days of the child entering foster care. At a minimum, the local department shall search for relatives at the time the child enters foster care, annually, and prior to any subsequent placement changes for the child.

B. The local department shall ensure a child in foster care is placed in a home or licensed facility that complies with all applicable federal and state requirements for safety and child well-being. Placements shall be made subject to the requirements of § 63.2-901.1 of the Code of Virginia. The following requirements shall be met when placing a child in an approved home or licensed facility:

1. The local department shall exercise due diligence to locate and assess relatives as a foster home placement for the child, including in emergency situations.

2. The local department shall place the child in the least restrictive, most family like setting consistent with the best interests and needs of the child.

3. The local department shall attempt to place the child in as close proximity as possible to the birth parent's or prior custodian's home to facilitate visitation, provide continuity of connections, and provide educational stability for the child.

4. The local department shall take reasonable steps to place the child with siblings unless such a joint placement would be contrary to the safety or well-being of the child or siblings.

5. The local department shall, when appropriate, consider placement in a dually approved home so that if reunification fails, the placement is the best available placement to provide permanency through adoption for the child.

6. The local department shall not delay or deny placement of a child into a foster or adoptive family placement on the basis of race, color, or national origin of the foster or adoptive parent or child.

7. When a child being placed in foster care is of Native American, Alaskan Eskimo, or Aleut heritage and is a member of a nationally recognized tribe, the local department shall follow all federal laws, regulations, and policies regarding the referral of the child. The local department may contact the Department of Historic Resources for information on contacting Virginia tribes and shall consider tribal culture and connections in the placement and care of a child of Virginia Indian heritage.

8. If a child is placed in a kinship foster placement pursuant to § 63.2-900.1 of the Code of Virginia, the child shall not be removed from the physical custody of the kinship foster parent, provided the child has been living with the kinship foster parent for six consecutive months and the placement continues to meet approval standards for foster care, unless (i) the kinship foster parent consents to the removal; (ii) removal is agreed upon at a family partnership meeting; (iii) removal is ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction; or (iv) removal is warranted pursuant to § 63.2-1517 of the Code of Virginia.

C. A service worker shall make a preplacement visit to any out-of-home placement to observe the environment where the child will be living and ensure that the placement is safe and capable of meeting the needs of the child. The preplacement visit shall precede the placement date except in cases of emergency. In cases of emergency, the visit shall occur on the same day as the placement.

D. Foster or adoptive homes shall meet standards established by the board and shall be approved by child-placing agencies. Prior to the placement of a child in a licensed child-placing agency (LCPA) foster home, the local department shall verify that the LCPA approved the foster home. Prior to the placement of a child in a children's residential facility, the local department shall verify that the facility is licensed to operate by the appropriate state regulatory authority.

E. Local departments shall receive notice of the approval from the department's office of the ICPC prior to placing a child out of state.

F. When the local department is considering placement of a child in a foster or adoptive home approved by another local department within Virginia, the local department intending to place the child shall consult with the approving local department about the placement of the child and shall also verify that the home is still approved.

G. When a child is moving with a foster or adoptive family from one jurisdiction to another, the local department holding custody shall notify the local department in the jurisdiction to which the foster or adoptive family is moving.

H. When a child moves with a foster or adoptive family from one jurisdiction to another in Virginia, the local department holding custody shall continue supervision of the child unless supervision is transferred to the other local department.

I. A local department may petition the court to transfer custody of a child to another local department when the birth parent or prior custodian has moved to that locality.

J. In planned placement changes or relocation of foster parents, birth parents with residual parental rights or prior custodians and all other relevant parties shall be notified that a placement change or move is being considered if such notification is in the best interest of the child. The service worker shall consider the child's best interest and safety needs when involving the birth parent or prior custodian and all other relevant parties in the decision-making process regarding placement change or notification of the new placement.

K. In the case where an emergency situation requires an immediate placement change, the birth parent with residual parental rights or prior custodian and all other relevant parties shall be notified immediately of the placement change. The local department shall inform the birth parent or prior custodian why the placement change occurred and why the birth parent or prior custodian and all other relevant parties could not be involved in the decision-making process.

Statutory Authority

§§ 63.2-217 and 63.2-319 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 2, eff. November 1, 2012; amended, Virginia Register Volume 33, Issue 8, January 11, 2017; Volume 35, Issue 5, eff. December 1, 2018; Volume 38, Issue 13, eff. March 17, 2022.

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