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

22VAC40-705-60. Authorities of local departments.

A. When responding to valid complaints or reports, local departments have the following authorities:

1. To talk to any child suspected of being abused or neglected, or child's siblings, without the consent of and outside the presence of the parent or other caretaker, as set forth by § 63.2-1518 of the Code of Virginia.

2. To take or arrange for photographs and x-rays of a child who is the subject of a complaint without the consent of and outside the presence of the parent or other caretaker, as set forth in § 63.2-1520 of the Code of Virginia.

3. To take a child into custody on an emergency removal under such circumstances as set forth in § 63.2-1517 of the Code of Virginia.

a. A child protective services worker planning to take a child into emergency custody shall first consult with a supervisor. However, this requirement shall not delay action on the child protective services worker's part if a supervisor cannot be contacted and the situation requires immediate action.

b. When circumstances warrant that a child be taken into emergency custody during a family assessment, the report shall be reassigned immediately as an investigation.

c. Any person who takes a child into custody pursuant to § 63.2-1517 of the Code of Virginia shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability in connection therewith, unless it is proven that such person acted in bad faith or with malicious intent.

d. The local department shall have the authority to have a complete medical examination made of the child including a written medical report and, when appropriate, photographs and x-rays pursuant to § 63.2-1520 of the Code of Virginia.

e. When a child in emergency custody is in need of immediate medical or surgical treatment, the local director of social services or his designee may consent to such treatment when the parent does not provide consent and a court order is not immediately obtainable.

f. When a child is not in the local department's custody, the local department cannot consent to medical or surgical treatment of the child.

g. When a child is removed, every effort must be made to obtain an emergency removal order within four hours. Reasons for not doing so shall be stated in the petition for an emergency removal order.

h. Every effort shall be made to provide notice of the removal in person to the parent or guardian as soon as practicable.

i. Within 30 days of removing a child from the custody of the parents or legal guardians, the local department shall exercise due diligence to identify and notify in writing all maternal and paternal grandparents and other adult relatives of the child (including any other adult relatives suggested by the parents) and all parents who have legal custody of any siblings of the child being removed and explain the options they have to participate in the care and placement of the child, subject to exceptions due to family or domestic violence. These notifications shall be documented in the state automated system. When notification to any of these relatives is not made, the local department shall document the reasons in the state automated system.

B. When responding to a complaint or report of abuse or neglect involving the human trafficking of a child, local departments may take a child into custody and maintain custody of the child for up to 72 hours without prior approval of a parent or guardian, provided that the alleged victim child has been identified as a victim of human 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.) and pursuant to § 63.2-1517 of the Code of Virginia.

1. After taking the child into custody, the local department shall notify the parent or guardian of such child as soon as practicable. Every effort shall be made to provide such notice in person.

2. The local department shall also notify the Child-Protective Services Unit within the department whenever a child is taken into custody.

3. When a child is taken into custody by a child-protective services worker of a local department pursuant to this subsection, that child shall be returned as soon as practicable to the custody of his parent or guardian. However, the local department shall not be required to return the child to his parent or guardian if the circumstances are such that continuing in his place of residence or in the care or custody of such parent or guardian, or custodian or other person responsible for the child's care, presents an imminent danger to the child's life or health to the extent that severe or irremediable injury would be likely to result or if the evidence of abuse is perishable or subject to deterioration before a hearing can be held.

4. If the local department cannot return the child to the custody of his parents or guardians within 72 hours, the local department shall obtain an emergency removal order pursuant to § 16.1-251 of the Code of Virginia.

C. When conducting a human trafficking assessment pursuant to § 63.2-1506.1 of the Code of Virginia, the local department may interview the alleged child victim or any sibling of that child without the consent and outside the presence of such child's or such child's sibling's parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other person standing in loco parentis, or school personnel.

Statutory Authority

§ 63.2-217 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 25, eff. January 1, 1998; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 6, eff. January 1, 2003; Volume 20, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 2004; Volume 33, Issue 19, eff. July 1, 2017; Volume 36, Issue 2, eff. October 17, 2019; Volume 37, Issue 2, eff. October 15, 2020.

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