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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 22. Social Services
Agency 40. Department of Social Services
Chapter 705. Child Protective Services
7/5/2020

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 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.

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 C of this section.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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. 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 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.

Statutory Authority

§ 63.2-217 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 13, Issue 25, eff. January 1, 1998; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 06, eff. January 1, 2003; Volume 25, Issue 11, eff. March 4, 2009; Volume 33, Issue 19, eff. July 1, 2017; Volume 36, Issue 02, eff. October 17, 2019.

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