Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 22. Social Services
Agency 40. Department of Social Services
Chapter 705. Child Protective Services
10/30/2020

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 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 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 that may endanger the well-being of a child shall not be released. The identity of any collateral witness or any other person shall not be released if disclosure may endanger 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.

Statutory Authority

§ 63.2-217 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 13, Issue 25, eff. January 1, 1998, Errata, 14:1 VA.R. 184 September 29, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 06, eff. January 1, 2003; Volume 33, Issue 19, eff. July 1, 2017; Volume 36, Issue 02, eff. October 17, 2019.

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