Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 2.2. Administration of Government
Chapter 4.4. Office of the Children's Ombudsman

§ 2.2-438. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless context requires another meaning:

"Administrative act" includes an action, omission, decision, recommendation, practice, or other procedure of the Department, a local department, an adoption attorney, or a child-placing agency with respect to a particular child related to adoption, foster care, or protective services.

"Adoption attorney" means an attorney acting as counsel in an adoption proceeding or case.

"Central registry" means the system maintained at the Department of Social Services pursuant to § 63.2-1515.

"Child" means an individual under the age of 18.

"Child abuse" means harm or threatened harm to a child's health or welfare that occurs through nonaccidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, abandonment, or maltreatment by a parent, a legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child's health or welfare or by a teacher, a teacher's aide, or a member of the clergy.

"Child-caring institution" means a child care facility that is organized for the purpose of receiving minor children for care, maintenance, and supervision, usually on a 24-hour basis, in buildings maintained by the child-caring institution for that purpose, and that operates throughout the year. An educational program may be provided, but the educational program shall not be the primary purpose of the facility. "Child-caring institution" includes a maternity home for the care of mothers who are minors, an inpatient substance use disorder treatment facility for minors, and an agency group home that is described as a small child-caring institution, owned, leased, or rented by a licensed agency providing care for more than four but less than 13 minor children. "Child-caring institution" also includes institutions for developmentally disabled or emotionally disturbed minor children. "Child-caring institution" does not include (i) a licensed or accredited educational institution whose pupils, in the ordinary course of events, return annually to the homes of their parents or guardians for not less than two months of summer vacation; (ii) an establishment required to be licensed as a summer camp by § 35.1-18; or (iii) a licensed or accredited hospital legally maintained as such.

"Child neglect" means harm or threatened harm to a child's health or welfare by a parent, legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child's health or welfare that occurs through either of the following:

1. Negligent treatment, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care, though financially able to do so, or the failure to seek financial or other reasonable means to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care; or

2. Putting the child's health or welfare at unreasonable risk through failure of the parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for the child's health or welfare to intervene to eliminate that risk when that person is able to do so and has, or should have, knowledge of any such risk.

"Child-placing agency" means (i) any person who places children in foster homes, adoptive homes, or independent living arrangements pursuant to § 63.2-1819; (ii) a local board that places children in foster homes or adoptive homes pursuant to §§ 63.2-900, 63.2-903, and 63.2-1221; or (iii) an entity that assists parents with the process of delegating parental and legal custodial powers of their children pursuant to Chapter 10 (§ 20-166 et seq.) of Title 20. "Child-placing agency" does not include the persons to whom such parental or legal custodial powers are delegated pursuant to Chapter 10 (§ 20-166 et seq.) of Title 20. Officers, employees, or agents of the Commonwealth or any locality thereof, acting within the scope of their authority as such, who serve as or maintain a child-placing agency shall not be required to be licensed.

"Children's Ombudsman" or "Ombudsman" means the individual appointed to head the Office of the Children's Ombudsman under § 2.2-439.

"Child-serving agency" means (i) a state agency that provides services to children, including the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Social Services, and the Office of Children's Services, and (ii) a local entity that provides services to children and that receives funding from a state agency under clause (i). "Child-serving agency" does not include any law-enforcement agency.

"Complainant" means an individual who makes a complaint pursuant to § 2.2-441.

"Department" means the Department of Social Services.

"Foster care" means care provided to a child by a child-caring institution or a foster parent, children's residential facility, or group home licensed or approved by the Department under Chapter 9 (§ 63.2-900) of Title 63.2; care provided to a child in a relative's home under a court order; or any other care provided at the time the child's custody has been given to a government agency.

"Law-enforcement agency" means any crime victim and witness assistance program whose funding is provided in whole or in part by grants administered by the Department of Criminal Justice Services pursuant to § 9.1-104, any state or local police or sheriff's department, any office of an attorney for the Commonwealth, or the Office of the Attorney General.

"Local department" means the local department of social services of any county or city in the Commonwealth.

"Office" means the Office of the Children's Ombudsman established under § 2.2-439.

2020, c. 1090.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.