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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 22. Social Services
Agency 40. Department of Social Services
Chapter 910. General Provisions for Maintaining and Disclosing Confidential Information of Public Assistance, Child Support Enforcement, and Social Services Records
4/7/2020

22VAC40-910-100. Confidential Client Information Pertaining to Social Services Programs.

A. Confidentiality of client information of social services programs is assured by §§ 63.2-104 and 63.2-105 of the Code of Virginia.

B. Releasing confidential social services information.

1. The Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services, the State Board of Social Services, and their agents shall have access to all social services client records pursuant to § 63.2-104 of the Code of Virginia.

2. Social services client records must be confidential and can only be released to persons having a legitimate interest in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations pursuant to § 63.2-104 of the Code of Virginia. Section 63.2-104 of the Code of Virginia does not apply to the disclosure of adoption records, reports, and information. The disclosure of adoption records, reports, and information is governed by § 63.2-1246 of the Code of Virginia.

3. The following statutory and regulatory provisions provide guidance on the definition of legitimate interest as applied to specific social services programs:

a. Adult Protective Services client records can be released to persons having a legitimate interest pursuant to 22VAC30-100-50.

b. Child Protective Services Client Records and Information Disclosure:

(1) Child protective services client records can be released to persons having a legitimate interest pursuant to § 63.2-105 A of the Code of Virginia.

(2) The public has a legitimate interest to limited information about child abuse or neglect cases that resulted in a child fatality or near fatality. Pursuant to the Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (P.L. 108-36 (42 USC § 5106a)) states must have provisions that allow for public disclosure of the findings or information about the case of child abuse or neglect that has resulted in a child fatality or near fatality. Accordingly, agencies must release the following information to the public, providing that nothing disclosed would be likely to endanger the life, safety, or physical or emotional well-being of a child or the life or safety of any other person; or that may compromise the integrity of a Child Protective Services investigation, or a civil or criminal investigation, or judicial proceeding:

(a) The fact that a report has been made concerning the alleged victim child or other children living in the same household;

(b) Whether an investigation has been initiated;

(c) The result of the completed investigation;

(d) Whether previous reports have been made concerning the alleged victim child or other children living in the same household and the dates thereof, a summary of those previous reports, and the dates and outcome of any investigations or actions taken by the agency in response to those previous reports of child abuse or neglect; and

(e) The agency's activities in handling the case.

(3) Information regarding child protective services reports, complaints, investigation and related services and follow-up may be shared with the appropriate Family Advocacy Program representative of the United States Armed Forces as provided in 22VAC40-705-140 E, Child Protective Services Release of Information to Family Advocacy Program Representatives of the United States Armed Forces.

(4) The agency must release child protective services client records in the instances of mandatory disclosure as provided in 22VAC40-705-160. The local department may release the information without written consent.

4. Foster care client records about children in foster care or their parents can be released upon order of the court. For instance, client records may be released to the guardian ad litem and the court appointed special advocate who are appointed for a child as a result of a court order or to attorneys representing the child or the child's parents.

Statutory Authority

§ 63.2-217 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 1, 2003; amended, Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 01, eff. October 14, 2009; Volume 35, Issue 02, eff. November 1, 2018.

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