Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
3/5/2024

Part V. Provider Homes

22VAC40-131-180. Home study requirements.

A. The licensee shall require that all persons applying to be a resource, foster, adoptive, treatment foster care, or short-term foster care family home provider submit to the licensee a complete application containing elements required by this regulation and in accordance with requirements prescribed by the department.

B. Upon receipt of a provider application, the licensee shall review the application for completeness and notify the applicant of the status of the application.

C. Upon the licensee's determination that the provider application is complete, the licensee shall begin the process of gathering and assessing information for use in the final decision related to whether the applicant and home meets all required elements for approval.

D. The licensee shall conduct a minimum of three face-to-face interviews on three separate days with each applicant.

E. At least one of the face-to-face interviews shall be conducted in the home of the applicant and, if there are two applicants, at least one face-to-face interview shall be conducted with both applicants present.

F. At least one face-to-face interview shall be conducted with all individuals who reside in the home of the applicant.

G. The licensee shall obtain and document a minimum of three references on each applicant from persons who have knowledge of the applicant's character, his applicable experience with children, and his experience in caretaking of others. At least one reference shall be from a nonrelative.

H. The licensee shall obtain from the applicant information regarding previous applications submitted to another public or private child-placing agency and whether as a result of the previous applications, he was approved by another public or private child-placing agency as a provider.

I. The licensee shall obtain from the applicant a signed authorization allowing the previous child-placing agency to release information to the licensee about previous applications, his child-caring performance as an approved provider, and current status as a provider. The signed authorization and information received shall be filed and maintained in the applicant's file.

J. The home study conducted by the licensee shall be documented in the file of the applicant and shall include the following components:

1. All department-required information including:

a. Sworn disclosure statement or affirmation, results of background checks in compliance with applicable state and federal laws;

b. Tuberculosis screenings in compliance with requirements of the Virginia Department of Health for the applicant and all other household members who come into contact with the children as described in 22VAC40-131-290 K; and

c. Driving records obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles for the applicant and all adults who are expected to transport children.

2. A combination of narrative documentation and other data collection formats, including:

a. Dated signatures of:

(1) The individual who completed the home study; and

(2) The licensee's executive director or his designee.

b. Demographic information including:

(1) Age of applicant;

(2) Marital history and status, including verifications of provider couple's marriages and divorces; and

(3) Family composition and history.

c. Financial information listed in subdivisions (1), (2), and (3) of this subdivision is required for all applicants except those individuals applying solely to provide short-term foster care:

(1) Employment history of the applicant;

(2) Assets and resources of applicant; and

(3) Debts and obligations of applicant.

d. A list of the names and roles of each individual involved in completing the home study.

e. Narrative documentation shall include dates and a summary of content information from interviews, references, observations, and other available information. The collective information shall be used to assess the applicant and document that the applicant:

(1) Is knowledgeable about care necessary for children;

(2) Is physically and mentally capable of providing the necessary care for children as described in 22VAC40-131-290 L and M;

(3) Has an understanding of the importance of establishing and enforcing rules to encourage desired behavior and discourage undesired behavior;

(4) Understands he is prohibited from using any form of corporal punishment on the child and also prohibited from giving permission to others to use any form of corporal punishment on the child;

(5) Is able to articulate a reasonable process for managing emergencies and ensuring the adequate care, safety, and protection of children;

(6) Expresses attitudes that demonstrate the capacity to love and nurture a child or youth born to someone else;

(7) Expresses appropriate motivation for reasons to foster or adopt;

(8) Shows stability in all household relationships;

(9) Has the financial resources to provide for current and on-going household needs and maintenance of the family; and

(10) Has in-force vehicle liability insurance, if he will transport children.

f. Documentation that the home complies with the standards for the home as required by 22VAC40-131-190.

g. A confidentiality statement signed and dated by the applicant.

K. The results of background checks received by the licensee shall be maintained in the respective applicant's file.

L. The licensee shall not further disseminate results of background investigation information unless permitted to do so in accordance with state and federal laws.

M. Prior to making a decision on the applicant, the licensee shall consider all information received about an applicant.

N. The licensee shall document an addendum to the home study when any significant change or circumstance impacts the conditions of the original approval. Unless such change or circumstance affects the safety or well-being of the children placed in the home, the original approval period for the provider shall remain in effect.

O. A home study conducted for the purpose of parental placement or placement of a child by the licensee shall remain valid for a period of 36 months from the approval date of the study. For adoption cases, before finalization of an adoption in which more than 18 months have passed since the completion date of the study, the licensee may obtain additional state criminal background checks on the applicants and all other adults living in the home of the applicant.

Statutory Authority

§§ 63.2-217 and 63.2-1734 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 10, eff. May 1, 2012.

22VAC40-131-190. Home environment.

A. The home shall provide sufficient appropriate space and furnishings for each child receiving care in the home including:

1. Storage space to keep clothing and other personal belongings;

2. Accessible basin and toilet facilities;

3. Bed furniture equipped with clean, safe, and comfortable sleeping furnishings;

4. Sleeping space on the first floor of the home for a child unable to use stairs unassisted, other than a child who can be easily and safely carried; and

5. Space for recreational activities.

B. Fans or other cooling systems shall be used when the temperature of inside areas occupied by children in care exceeds 80° F.

C. The temperature in all inside areas occupied by children in care shall be maintained no lower that 65° F.

D. Rooms and study space used by children in care shall have adequate and sufficient lighting for activities and safety.

E. The provider and children in care shall have access to a working telephone in the home.

F. Multiple children in care who share a bedroom shall have adequate space including closet and storage space. Bedrooms shall have adequate square footage for each child in care to have personal space.

G. Children in care over the age of two years shall not share a bed.

H. Children in care over the age of two shall not share a bedroom with an adult unless the child's needs, disabilities, or other specified conditions warrant the sharing of bedroom space and the licensee has approved a specific plan to allow the sharing of the bedroom with the adult.

I. No child in care shall share a bed with an adult.

J. A child in care over the age of three years shall not sleep in the same bedroom with children of the opposite gender.

K. Children in care under the age of seven or children in care with significant and documented cognitive or physical disabilities shall not use the top bunk of bunk beds.

L. The bedrooms of children in care shall not be used as passageways and shall have doors for privacy.

M. The home shall be clean, in good repair, and free of hazards to the health and safety of children in care.

N. The grounds around the home shall be safe, properly maintained, free of litter and debris, and present no hazard to the safety of children in care.

O. The provider shall have a written emergency preparedness and response plan developed that addresses:

1. How to shelter in place, when the emergency situation requires for sheltering in place;

2. How to evacuate, if evacuation is necessary;

3. Prompt notification to the licensee of location and contact information when evacuation becomes necessary;

4. Where the provider plans to relocate when the emergency warrants a large scale community evacuation;

5. How the provider plans to maintain the safety and meet the needs of the child at all times during an emergency;

6. Procedures to ensure that the plan is reviewed with each placed child; and

7. Plans to rehearse the plan with each child at least one time every six months.

P. Approved providers and independent living arrangement settings shall arrange for responsible adults to be available to serve in the caretaker's role in case of emergencies. Any substitute caretaker arrangements necessary for a planned or long-term absence of the provider shall require the licensee's prior approval.

Q. All homes shall have at least one operable smoke detector.

R. Possession of any weapons, including firearms, in the home or independent living arrangement shall comply with federal and state laws and local ordinances.

1. Any firearms and other weapons shall be unloaded and stored with the weapon's safety mechanisms activated in a locked closet or cabinet.

2. Ammunition shall be stored in a locked location separate from the weapon.

3. The key or combination to the locked closet and cabinet shall at all times be maintained out of reach of all children in the home.

S. The applicant shall maintain documentation that household pets receive tests, inoculations, and licenses as required by law.

T. The applicant shall ensure that household pets are safe to be around children and that the pets present no health hazard to children in the home.

U. The applicant shall keep cleaning supplies and other toxic substances stored away from food and, as appropriate, out of reach of children and locked.

V. Except for medications that require refrigeration, all medications, prescription and nonprescription, shall be stored separately from food in a locked area out of reach of children. The applicant shall implement safety provisions for the storage of refrigerated medications.

W. The home shall have readily available basic first aid supplies for use in injuries and accidents.

Statutory Authority

§§ 63.2-217 and 63.2-1734 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 10, eff. May 1, 2012.

22VAC40-131-200. Initial approval or disapproval of home.

A. Prior to the placement of a child in a home , the licensee shall:

1. Document that the applicants are at least 18 years of age;

2. Complete and document all required components of the home study, including the completion of orientation training;

3. Consider all information gathered when assessing the applicant's capabilities to care for children;

4. Determine that the home and provider meet the requirements to be approved;

5. Ensure that approved providers have received necessary training for the types of children they will receive; and

6. Make available to the provider information necessary for the provider to make an informed decision as to whether a particular child is appropriate for them.

B. When the licensee determines that the prospective provider and the home meet the requirements for approval, the licensee shall document the type of approval. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the provider from being approved to serve multiple roles as a resource, foster, adoptive, treatment foster, or short-term foster parent unless the provider desires not to serve as a resource parent. If the provider chooses, the licensee shall allow the provider to be approved as a foster parent, adoptive parent, or short-term foster parent. Providers approved as treatment foster care parents shall have successfully completed specific and additional treatment foster care training as required by this chapter.

C. The licensee shall recommend approval or disapproval based on careful assessment of the requirements for providers specified in this chapter including information received through the home study process, the applicants' participation in the home study process, and in any orientation and pre-service training.

D. The decision to approve or disapprove the applicant shall be made in consultation with the child-placing supervisor, and the date of the decision shall be recorded in the applicants' record.

E. Within seven business days of the decision of approval or disapproval of an applicant, the licensee shall notify the applicant in writing of the decision.

F. If home approval is recommended, the licensee shall document:

1. The age and gender of children who can be placed in the home; and

2. The basis for the approval recommendation.

G. Following approval of an applicant, the licensee shall issue a certificate of approval to the provider and maintain a copy of the certificate in the provider's file. The certificate shall address each of the following:

1. Type of family home approval (resource, foster, adoptive, treatment foster care, short-term foster care, or a combination of types);

2. Issuance and expiration dates for the approval;

3. Gender, age, and number of children recommended for placement in the home; and

4. The signatures and titles of the individuals approving the home.

H. Following approval of an applicant, the licensee shall provide the following services and requirements:

1. The licensee shall provide on-going training for each provider.

2. The licensee shall supply the provider with written procedures for handling emergencies during and outside the child-placing agency's regular office hours.

Statutory Authority

§§ 63.2-217 and 63.2-1734 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 10, eff. May 1, 2012.

22VAC40-131-210. Provider training and development.

A. The licensee shall ensure that pre-service training is provided for resource, foster, treatment foster, and adoptive family home providers. This training shall be consistent with the licensee's program statement and description required by 22VAC40-131-170 A and include, as applicable, the following core competencies:

1. Factors that contribute to neglect, emotional maltreatment, physical abuse, and sexual abuse, and the effects thereof;

2. Conditions and experiences that may cause developmental delays and affect attachment;

3. Stages of normal human growth and development;

4. Concept of permanence for children and selection of the permanency goal;

5. Reunification as the primary child welfare goal, and the process and experience of reunification;

6. Importance of visits and other contacts in strengthening relationships between the child and his birth family, including his siblings;

7. Legal and social processes and implications of adoption;

8. Support of older youth's transition to independent living;

9. The professional team's role in supporting the transition to permanency and preventing unplanned placement disruptions;

10. Relationship between child welfare laws, the local department's mandates, and how the local department carries out its mandates;

11. Purpose of service planning;

12. Impact of multiple placements on a child's development;

13. Types of and response to loss, and the factors that influence the experience of separation, loss, and placement;

14. Cultural, spiritual, social, and economic similarities and differences between a child's primary family and foster or adoptive family;

15. Preparing a child for family visits and helping him manage his feelings in response to family contacts;

16. Developmentally appropriate, effective, and nonphysical disciplinary techniques;

17. Promoting a child's sense of identity, history, culture, and values;

18. Respecting a child's connection to his birth family, previous foster families or adoptive families;

19. Being nonjudgmental in caring for the child, working with his family, and collaborating with other members of the team;

20. Roles, rights, and responsibilities of foster parents and adoptive parents;

21. Maintaining a home and community environment that promotes safety and well-being; and

22. Methods of less intrusive behavior support, crisis management techniques, and physical restraint methods approved by the licensee.

B. As a condition of initial approval and renewals of approvals the licensee shall require each home provider to complete all required training. Training shall be relevant to the needs of children and families.

C. Receipt of training shall be documented in the home provider's file.

D. Each home provider shall receive additional training annually and at other times if determined to be necessary by the licensee.

E. The training shall be relevant to the needs of the children and families and may be structured to include multiple types of training modalities.

F. The licensee shall explain confidentiality requirements to home providers.

G. The licensee shall require home providers to keep confidential all information regarding the child, his family, and the circumstances that resulted in the child coming into care.

Statutory Authority

§§ 63.2-217 and 63.2-1734 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 10, eff. May 1, 2012.

22VAC40-131-220. Training and development for providers of short-term foster care.

A. The licensee shall ensure that pre-service training is provided for short-term foster care providers. This training shall address but not be limited to the following core competencies:

1. Factors that contribute to neglect, emotional maltreatment, physical abuse, and sexual abuse, and the effects thereof;

2. Conditions and experiences that may cause developmental delays and affect attachment;

3. Reunification as the primary child welfare goal, and the process and experience of reunification;

4. Importance of visits and other contacts in strengthening relationships between the child and his birth family, including his siblings;

5. The professional team's role in supporting the transition to permanency and preventing unplanned placement disruptions;

6. Impact of multiple placements on a child's development;

7. Cultural, spiritual, social, and economic similarities and differences between a child's primary family and foster or adoptive family;

8. Preparing a child for family visits and helping him manage his feelings in response to family contacts;

9. Developmentally appropriate, effective, and nonphysical disciplinary techniques;

10. Maintaining a home and community environment that promotes safety and well-being;

11. Promoting a child's sense of identity, history, culture, and values;

12. Respecting a child's connection to his birth family, previous foster families or adoptive families; and

13. Being nonjudgmental in caring for the child, working with his family, and collaborating with other members of the team.

B. As a condition of initial approval and continued approvals the licensee shall require each home provider to complete all required training. Training shall be relevant to the needs of children and families.

C. Receipt of training shall be documented in the home provider's file.

D. Each home provider shall receive additional training annually and at other times if determined to be necessary by the licensee.

E. The licensee shall explain confidentiality requirements to home providers.

F. The licensee shall require home providers to keep confidential all information regarding the child, his family, and the circumstances that resulted in the child coming into care.

Statutory Authority

§§ 63.2-217 and 63.2-1734 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 10, eff. May 1, 2012.

22VAC40-131-230. Monitoring and re-evaluation of provider homes.

A. When the licensee has placed a child in the approved provider's home, the licensee's representative shall visit the home as often as necessary but at least every 90 days to monitor the performance of the provider. These visits may coincide with the monthly visits to the child.

B. When an approved provider's home does not have any children placed in the home the licensee shall:

1. Monitor the home at least one time every 90 days by:

a. Visiting the approved provider in the home; or

b. Making direct telephone contact with the approved provider; and

2. If more than six months have elapsed since the last home visit date and the licensee is considering placing a child in the home, the licensee shall prior to placement of a child in the home make at least one monitoring home visit to evaluate and verify that the home remains in compliance with the requirements of this chapter.

C. Prior to the end of each 36-month approval period, the licensee shall re-evaluate the provider and assess all evaluation elements required for the initial home approval.

D. The licensee shall conduct the re-evaluation in the home of the approved provider with all providers present for the re-evaluation.

E. The re-evaluation process for approving a home shall include:

1. Interviewing the provider in his home at least once;

2. Reviewing the information the licensee used to make the last approval decision;

3. Completing all required background checks in accordance with applicable federal and state laws and regulations;

4. Obtaining the results of a new tuberculosis screening and documenting the absence of tuberculosis in a communicable form for the applicant and other household members who come in contact with children as described in 22VAC40-131-290 K;

5. Obtaining new signed agreements from the provider covering elements required for maintaining confidentiality of information and prohibition of the use of corporal punishment, including the prohibition of allowing others to use corporal punishment;

6. Considering and reassessing all new information received since the last home approval decision, including assessing in-service training completed by the provider;

7. Deciding the approval status of the provider; and

8. Providing an addendum to the home study to include any other information that has changed since the prior approval and the decision related to whether the provider is re-approved. The addendum shall contain all elements required by this chapter, be documented by a combination of narrative and other data collection formats, and contain the dated signatures of the individual completing the addendum and the licensee's director or his designee.

F. The licensee shall document the following for each re-evaluation conducted:

1. For each child placed since the last evaluation, a brief description of the child's adjustment to the family and the home;

2. The results of an evaluation of the providers' performance to include his:

a. Ability to relate to children;

b. Ability to help children reach their goals;

c. Skills in working with particular types of problems;

d. Ability to establish and maintain a consistent and stable environment for each child and including in this evaluation, the identification and resolution of problems or significant changes that occurred in the family since the last evaluation; and

e. Ability to work with the licensee and birth parents in meeting the needs of the child;

3. A description of the relationship between the child and each family member, including the names of the family members and, if any foster child or youth has been removed from the home, a description of the reasons the child was removed; and

4. The licensee's recommendations regarding continued use of the home, further training needs of the home provider and the age, gender, and number of children that the home can successfully handle.

G. Any approval, disapproval, suspension, or revocation of the provider shall be made in consultation with the child-placing supervisor or in a staff meeting, and the date of the decision shall be recorded in the provider's record.

H. For approved homes, the licensee shall document (i) the age and gender of children who can be placed in the home and (ii) the basis for the approval recommendation, and issue an approval certificate containing all elements required by this chapter.

I. If the re-evaluation process or home-monitoring activities result in the licensee's decision to suspend approval of a provider, the licensee shall:

1. Immediately remove the children from the home;

2. Send written notification to the provider of such decision no later than one week following the date the decision was made;

3. Place no children in the home until such time that the provider:

a. Resolves all issues that led to suspension; and

b. Demonstrates compliance with all requirements of this chapter;

4. Document in an addendum to the provider's home study:

a. Circumstances and issues that led to the suspension;

b. Actions taken by the licensee as a result of becoming aware of the circumstances and issues;

c. Actions taken by the provider to address each circumstance and issue; and

d. The licensee's response and disposition of whether the home warranted removal from suspension; and

5. Reinstate, if warranted, and designate in writing the approval of the provider for the remainder of the original 36-month approval time frame.

J. If the re-evaluation process or home-monitoring activities result in the licensee's decision to revoke approval of a provider, the licensee shall:

1. Immediately remove placed children from the home and not place any children in the home;

2. Send written notification to the provider of such decision no later than one week following the date the decision was made; and

3. Document in the home provider's file:

a. The reasons for revoking the approval of the provider; and

b. Verification that actions required by 22VAC40-131-230 J 1, 2, and 3 were taken by the licensee.

K. The licensee shall maintain documentation in the provider's file of:

1. Each visit and contact made with the provider;

2. Each visit made to the home of the provider;

3. All activities, decisions made, and correspondence sent or received regarding re-evaluation process;

4. Home study addenda or updates;

5. The approval certificate issued to the approved provider; and

6. Documentation pertaining to suspension or revocation actions as required by this chapter.

Statutory Authority

§§ 63.2-217 and 63.2-1734 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 10, eff. May 1, 2012.

22VAC40-131-240. Capacity of provider home.

A. The number of children in an approved resource, foster, or short-term foster care home shall not exceed eight. An exception to the eight capacity may be made only when an approved home can accept the placement of a sibling group. The approved home shall have the appropriate space and furnishings for each child in care as required by 22VAC40-131-190.

B. The number of children placed in an approved treatment foster care home shall not exceed two without written justification approved by a child-placing supervisor. The justification shall be written and approved prior to the placement of additional children and it shall (i) contain the name of approving supervisor, his title, the date of approval; and (ii) address the impact that the additional placement may have on the other children currently in the home.

C. The licensee shall consider the following elements when determining the capacity for a provider home:

1. The physical accommodations of the home;

2. The capabilities and skills of the applicant to manage the number of children;

3. The needs and special requirements of the child;

4. Whether the child's best interest requires placement in a certain type of home;

5. Whether any individuals in the home, including the applicant's children, require special attention or services of the applicant that interfere with the applicant's ability to ensure the safety of all children in the home; and

6. Whether the foster care provider is also a day care provider.

Statutory Authority

§§ 63.2-217 and 63.2-1734 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 10, eff. May 1, 2012.

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