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

§ 2.2-440. Procedures; training; complaint; investigation; notification of safety concerns.

A. The Ombudsman shall establish procedures for the Office for budget, expenditures, and employment. Subject to annual appropriations, the Ombudsman shall employ sufficient personnel to carry out the duties and powers prescribed by this chapter.

B. The Ombudsman shall establish procedures for receiving and processing complaints from complainants and individuals not meeting the definition of complainant, conducting investigations, holding informal hearings, and reporting findings and recommendations resulting from investigations.

C. Personnel employed by the Office shall receive mandatory training in domestic violence and in handling complaints of child abuse or child neglect that include a history of domestic violence.

D. Any individual may submit a complaint to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman has the sole discretion and authority to determine if a complaint falls within the Ombudsman's duties and powers to investigate and if a complaint involves an administrative act. The Ombudsman may initiate an investigation without receiving a complaint. The Ombudsman may initiate an investigation upon receipt of a complaint from an individual not meeting the definition of complainant. An individual not meeting the definition of complainant is not entitled to receive information under this chapter as if such individual is a complainant. The individual is entitled to receive the recommendations of the Ombudsman and the Department or local department's response to the recommendations of the Ombudsman in accordance with state and federal law. During the course of an investigation, the Ombudsman may refer a case to a child-serving agency if the Ombudsman determines that such agency received a complaint on the case but did not conduct an investigation. If the Ombudsman refers a case to a child-serving agency, such agency shall conduct an investigation of the case or provide notice to the Ombudsman explaining why an investigation was not conducted or what alternative steps may have been taken to address the situation. If an investigation has been conducted, the child-serving agency shall report the results to the Ombudsman.

E. The Ombudsman shall notify a child-serving agency of any immediate safety concerns regarding a child or children who are part of an active or open child protective services or foster care case. This notification shall occur as soon as possible, but not later than one business day after the Ombudsman becomes aware of the concerns.

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.