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Code of Virginia
Title 63.2. Welfare (Social Services)
Chapter 16. Adult Services
4/13/2021

Article 2. Adult Protective Services.

§ 63.2-1603. Protection of adults; definitions.

As used in this article:

"Adult" means any person 60 years of age or older, or any person 18 years of age or older who is incapacitated and who resides in the Commonwealth; provided, however, "adult" may include qualifying nonresidents who are temporarily in the Commonwealth and who are in need of temporary or emergency protective services.

"Emergency" means that an adult is living in conditions that present a clear and substantial risk of death or immediate and serious physical harm to himself or others.

"Incapacitated person" means any adult who is impaired by reason of mental illness, intellectual disability, physical illness or disability, advanced age or other causes to the extent that the adult lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make, communicate or carry out responsible decisions concerning his or her well-being.

1977, c. 547, § 63.1-55.2; 1978, c. 749; 2002, c. 747; 2004, cc. 749, 1011; 2012, cc. 476, 507.

§ 63.2-1604. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2012, cc. 803 and 835, cl. 61, effective July 1, 2013.

§ 63.2-1605. Protective services for adults by local departments.

A. Each local board, to the extent that federal or state matching funds are made available to each locality, shall provide, pursuant to regulations and subject to supervision of the Commissioner for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, adult protective services for adults who are found to be abused, neglected, or exploited and who meet one of the following criteria: (i) the adult is 60 years of age or older or (ii) the adult is 18 years of age or older and is incapacitated. The requirement to provide such services shall not limit the right of any individual to refuse to accept any of the services so offered, except as provided in § 63.2-1608.

B. Upon receipt of the report pursuant to § 63.2-1606, the local department shall determine the validity of such report and shall initiate an investigation within 24 hours of the time the report is received in the local department. Local departments shall consider valid any report meeting all of the following criteria: (i) the subject of the report is an adult as defined in this article, (ii) the report concerns a specific adult and there is enough information to locate the adult, and (iii) the report describes the circumstances of the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

C. The local department or the adult protective services hotline shall immediately refer the matter and all relevant documentation to the local law-enforcement agency where the adult resides or where the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation took place or, if these places are unknown, where the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation was discovered for investigation, upon receipt of an initial report pursuant to § 63.2-1606 involving any of the following or upon determining, during the course of an investigation pursuant to this article, the occurrence of any of the following:

1. Sexual abuse as defined in § 18.2-67.10;

2. Death that is believed to be the result of abuse or neglect;

3. Serious bodily injury or disease as defined in § 18.2-369 that is believed to be the result of abuse or neglect;

4. Suspected financial exploitation of an adult; or

5. Any other criminal activity involving abuse or neglect that places the adult in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.

Local law-enforcement agencies shall provide local departments and the adult protective services hotline with a preferred point of contact for referrals.

D. The local department shall refer any appropriate matter and all relevant documentation, to the appropriate licensing, regulatory, or legal authority for administrative action or criminal investigation.

E. If a local department is denied access to an adult for whom there is reason to suspect the need for adult protective services, then the local department may petition the circuit court for an order allowing access or entry or both. Upon a showing of good cause supported by an affidavit or testimony in person, the court may enter an order permitting such access or entry.

F. In any case of suspected adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation, local departments, with the informed consent of the adult or his legal representative, shall take or cause to be taken photographs, video recordings, or appropriate medical imaging of the adult and his environment as long as such measures are relevant to the investigation and do not conflict with § 18.2-386.1. However, if the adult is determined to be incapable of making an informed decision and of giving informed consent and either has no legal representative or the legal representative is the suspected perpetrator of the adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation, consent may be given by an agent appointed under an advance medical directive or medical power of attorney, or by a person authorized, pursuant to § 54.1-2986. In the event no agent or authorized representative is immediately available, then consent shall be deemed to be given.

G. Local departments shall foster the development, implementation, and coordination of adult protective services to prevent adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

H. Local departments shall not investigate allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of adults incarcerated in state correctional facilities.

I. The report and evidence received by the local department and any written findings, evaluations, records, and recommended actions shall be confidential and shall be exempt from disclosure requirements of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.), except that such information may be disclosed to persons having a legitimate interest in the matter in accordance with §§ 63.2-102 and 63.2-104 and pursuant to official interagency agreements or memoranda of understanding between state agencies.

J. All written findings and actions of the local department or its director regarding adult protective services investigations are final and shall not be (i) appealable to the Commissioner for Aging and Rehabilitative Services or (ii) considered a final agency action for purposes of judicial review pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

K. Each local department may foster, when practicable, the creation, maintenance, and coordination of community-based multidisciplinary teams that shall include, where possible, members of the medical, mental health, social work, nursing, education, legal, and law-enforcement professions. Such teams shall:

1. Assist the local department in identifying abused, neglected, and exploited adults as defined in § 63.2-1603.

2. Coordinate medical, social, and legal services for abused, neglected, and exploited adults and their families.

3. Develop innovative programs for detection and prevention of the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of adults.

4. Promote community awareness and action to address the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of adults.

5. Disseminate information to the general public regarding the problem of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of adults, strategies and methods for preventing such abuse, neglect, and exploitation, and treatment options for abused, neglected, and exploited adults.

Such multidisciplinary teams may share information among the parties in the performance of their duties but shall be bound by confidentiality and shall execute a sworn statement to honor the confidentiality of the information they share. A violation of this subsection is punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor. All such information and records shall be used by the team only in the exercise of its proper function and shall not be disclosed. No person who participated in the team and no member of the team shall be required to make any statement as to what transpired during a meeting or what information was collected during the meeting. Upon the conclusion of a meeting, all information and records concerning the adult shall be returned to the originating agency or destroyed. Any information exchanged in accordance with the multidisciplinary review team shall not be considered to be a violation of any of the provisions of § 63.2-102, 63.2-104, or 63.2-105.

1974, c. 329, § 63.1-55.1; 1977, c. 547; 1978, c. 749; 1983, c. 604; 1999, c. 749; 2002, c. 747; 2004, cc. 749, 1011; 2006, c. 149; 2009, c. 673; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 2016, cc. 223, 408; 2017, cc. 459, 473; 2018, c. 182; 2019, cc. 170, 775.

§ 63.2-1606. Protection of aged or incapacitated adults; mandated and voluntary reporting.

A. Matters giving reason to suspect the abuse, neglect or exploitation of adults shall be reported immediately upon the reporting person's determination that there is such reason to suspect. Medical facilities inspectors of the Department of Health are exempt from reporting suspected abuse immediately while conducting federal inspection surveys in accordance with § 1864 of Title XVIII and Title XIX of the Social Security Act, as amended, of certified nursing facilities as defined in § 32.1-123. Reports shall be made to the local department or the adult protective services hotline in accordance with requirements of this section by the following persons acting in their professional capacity:

1. Any person licensed, certified, or registered by health regulatory boards listed in § 54.1-2503, with the exception of persons licensed by the Board of Veterinary Medicine;

2. Any mental health services provider as defined in § 54.1-2400.1;

3. Any emergency medical services provider certified by the Board of Health pursuant to § 32.1-111.5, unless such provider immediately reports the suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation directly to the attending physician at the hospital to which the adult is transported, who shall make such report forthwith;

4. Any guardian or conservator of an adult;

5. Any person employed by or contracted with a public or private agency or facility and working with adults in an administrative, supportive or direct care capacity;

6. Any person providing full, intermittent or occasional care to an adult for compensation, including, but not limited to, companion, chore, homemaker, and personal care workers; and

7. Any law-enforcement officer.

B. The report shall be made in accordance with subsection A to the local department of the county or city wherein the adult resides or wherein the adult abuse, neglect or exploitation is believed to have occurred or to the adult protective services hotline. Nothing in this section shall be construed to eliminate or supersede any other obligation to report as required by law. If a person required to report under this section receives information regarding abuse, neglect or exploitation while providing professional services in a hospital, nursing facility or similar institution, then he may, in lieu of reporting, notify the person in charge of the institution or his designee, who shall report such information, in accordance with the institution's policies and procedures for reporting such matters, immediately upon his determination that there is reason to suspect abuse, neglect or exploitation. Any person required to make the report or notification required by this subsection shall do so either orally or in writing and shall disclose all information that is the basis for the suspicion of adult abuse, neglect or exploitation. Upon request, any person required to make the report shall make available to the adult protective services worker and the local department investigating the reported case of adult abuse, neglect or exploitation any information, records or reports which document the basis for the report. All persons required to report suspected adult abuse, neglect or exploitation shall cooperate with the investigating adult protective services worker of a local department and shall make information, records and reports which are relevant to the investigation available to such worker to the extent permitted by state and federal law. Criminal investigative reports received from law-enforcement agencies shall not be further disseminated by the investigating agency nor shall they be subject to public disclosure; such reports may, however, be disclosed to the Adult Fatality Review Team as provided in § 32.1-283.5 or to a local or regional adult fatality review team as provided in § 32.1-283.6 and, if reviewed by the Team or a local or regional adult fatality review team, shall be subject to applicable confidentiality requirements of the Team or a local or regional adult fatality review team.

C. Any financial institution staff who suspects that an adult has been exploited financially may report such suspected financial exploitation and provide supporting information and records to the local department of the county or city wherein the adult resides or wherein the exploitation is believed to have occurred or to the adult protective services hotline. For purposes of this section:

"Financial exploitation" means the illegal, unauthorized, improper, or fraudulent use of the funds, property, benefits, resources, or other assets of an adult, as defined in § 63.2-1603, for another's profit, benefit, or advantage, including a caregiver or person serving in a fiduciary capacity, or that deprives the adult of his rightful use of or access to such funds, property, benefits, resources, or other assets. "Financial exploitation" includes (i) an intentional breach of a fiduciary obligation to an adult to his detriment or an intentional failure to use the financial resources of an adult in a manner that results in neglect of such adult; (ii) the acquisition, possession, or control of an adult's financial resources or property through the use of undue influence, coercion, or duress; and (iii) forcing or coercing an adult to pay for goods or services against his will for another's profit, benefit, or advantage if the adult did not agree, or was tricked, misled, or defrauded into agreeing, to pay for such goods or services.

"Financial institution staff" means any employee, agent, qualified individual, or representative of a bank, trust company, savings institution, loan association, consumer finance company, credit union, investment company, investment advisor, securities firm, accounting firm, or insurance company.

D. Any person other than those specified in subsection A who suspects that an adult is an abused, neglected or exploited adult may report the matter to the local department of the county or city wherein the adult resides or wherein the abuse, neglect or exploitation is believed to have occurred or to the adult protective services hotline.

E. Any person who makes a report or provides records or information pursuant to subsection A, C, or D, or who testifies in any judicial proceeding arising from such report, records or information, or who takes or causes to be taken with the adult's or the adult's legal representative's informed consent photographs, video recordings, or appropriate medical imaging of the adult who is subject of a report shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability on account of such report, records, information, photographs, video recordings, appropriate medical imaging or testimony, unless such person acted in bad faith or with a malicious purpose.

F. An employer of a mandated reporter shall not prohibit a mandated reporter from reporting directly to the local department or to the adult protective services hotline. Employers whose employees are mandated reporters shall notify employees upon hiring of the requirement to report.

G. Any person 14 years of age or older who makes or causes to be made a report of adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation that he knows to be false is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. Any subsequent conviction of this provision is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

H. Any person who fails to make a required report or notification pursuant to subsection A shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $500 for the first failure and not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 for any subsequent failures. Civil penalties under subdivision A 7 shall be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, in its discretion. All other civil penalties under this section shall be determined by the Commissioner for Aging and Rehabilitative Services or his designee. The Commissioner for Aging and Rehabilitative Services shall establish by regulation a process for imposing and collecting civil penalties, and a process for appeal of the imposition of such penalty pursuant to § 2.2-4026 of the Administrative Process Act.

I. Any mandated reporter who has reasonable cause to suspect that an adult died as a result of abuse or neglect shall immediately report such suspicion to the appropriate medical examiner and to the appropriate law-enforcement agency, notwithstanding the existence of a death certificate signed by a licensed physician. The medical examiner and the law-enforcement agency shall receive the report and determine if an investigation is warranted. The medical examiner may order an autopsy. If an autopsy is conducted, the medical examiner shall report the findings to law enforcement, as appropriate, and to the local department or to the adult protective services hotline.

J. No person or entity shall be obligated to report any matter if the person or entity has actual knowledge that the same matter has already been reported to the local department or to the adult protective services hotline.

K. All law-enforcement departments and other state and local departments, agencies, authorities and institutions shall cooperate with each adult protective services worker of a local department in the detection, investigation and prevention of adult abuse, neglect and exploitation.

L. Financial institution staff may refuse to execute a transaction, may delay a transaction, or may refuse to disburse funds if the financial institution staff (i) believes in good faith that the transaction or disbursement may involve, facilitate, result in, or contribute to the financial exploitation of an adult or (ii) makes, or has actual knowledge that another person has made, a report to the local department or adult protective services hotline stating a good faith belief that the transaction or disbursement may involve, facilitate, result in, or contribute to the financial exploitation of an adult. The financial institution staff may continue to refuse to execute a transaction, delay a transaction, or refuse to disburse funds for a period no longer than 30 business days after the date upon which such transaction or disbursement was initially requested based on a good faith belief that the transaction or disbursement may involve, facilitate, result in, or contribute to the financial exploitation of an adult, unless otherwise ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction. Upon refusing to execute a transaction, delaying a transaction, or refusing to disburse funds, the financial institution shall report such refusal or delay within five business days to the local department or the adult protective services hotline. Upon request, and to the extent permitted by state and federal law, financial institution staff making a report to the local department of social services may report any information or records relevant to the report or investigation. Absent gross negligence or willful misconduct, the financial institution and its staff shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for refusing to execute a transaction, delaying a transaction, or refusing to disburse funds pursuant to this subsection. The authority of a financial institution staff to refuse to execute a transaction, to delay a transaction, or to refuse to disburse funds pursuant to this subsection shall not be contingent upon whether financial institution staff has reported suspected financial exploitation of the adult pursuant to subsection C.

1977, c. 547, § 63.1-55.3; 1984, c. 628; 1986, cc. 448, 487; 1990, c. 308; 1991, c. 33; 1994, c. 891; 1997, c. 687; 1999, c. 749; 2001, c. 191; 2002, c. 747; 2004, cc. 749, 1011; 2008, c. 539; 2009, c. 538; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 2013, cc. 72, 331; 2015, c. 108; 2017, c. 195; 2019, cc. 339, 420, 421; 2020, c. 931.

§ 63.2-1606.1. Photographs, X-rays and medical imaging of incapacitated persons; use as evidence.

In any case of suspected abuse of an incapacitated person, photographs, X-rays and appropriate medical imaging of such incapacitated person may be taken as a part of the medical evaluation without the consent of the person responsible for the incapacitated person. Such images shall not be used in lieu of medical evaluation.

Such photographs, X-rays and medical imaging may be introduced into evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding. The court receiving such evidence may impose such restrictions as to the confidentiality of photographs, X-rays and medical imaging of any incapacitated person as it deems appropriate.

2013, cc. 442, 464.

§ 63.2-1607. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2004, cc. 749 and 1011.

§ 63.2-1608. Involuntary adult protective services.

A. If an adult lacks the capacity to consent to receive adult protective services, these services may be ordered by a court on an involuntary basis through an emergency order pursuant to § 63.2-1609 or by a guardian or conservator appointed pursuant to Chapter 20 (§ 64.2-2000 et seq.) of Title 64.2.

B. In ordering involuntary adult protective services, the court shall authorize only that intervention which it finds to be least restrictive of the adult's liberty and rights, while consistent with his welfare and safety. The basis for such finding shall be stated in the record by the court.

C. The adult shall not be required to pay for involuntary adult protective services, unless such payment is authorized by the court upon a showing that the person is financially able to pay. In such event the court shall provide for reimbursement of the actual costs incurred by the local department in providing adult protective services, excluding administrative costs.

1977, c. 547, § 63.1-55.5; 1978, c. 562; 1979, c. 451; 1997, c. 801; 2002, c. 747; 2004, cc. 749, 1011.

§ 63.2-1609. Emergency order for adult protective services.

A. Upon petition by the local department to the circuit court, the court may issue an order authorizing the provision of adult protective services on an emergency basis to an adult after finding on the record, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that:

1. The adult is incapacitated;

2. An emergency exists;

3. The adult lacks the capacity to consent to receive adult protective services; and

4. The proposed order is substantially supported by the findings of the local department that has investigated the case, or if not so supported, there are compelling reasons for ordering services.

B. In issuing an emergency order, the court shall adhere to the following limitations:

1. Only such adult protective services as are necessary to improve or correct the conditions creating the emergency shall be ordered, and the court shall designate the approved services in its order. In ordering adult protective services the court shall consider the right of a person to rely on nonmedical remedial treatment in accordance with a recognized religious method of healing in lieu of medical care.

2. The court shall specifically find in the emergency order whether hospitalization or a change of residence is necessary. Approval of the hospitalization or change of residence shall be stated in the order. No adult may be committed to a mental health facility under this section.

3. Adult protective services may be provided through an appropriate court order only for a period of 15 days. The original order may be renewed once for a five-day period upon a showing to the court that continuation of the original order is necessary to remove the emergency.

4. In its order the court shall appoint the petitioner or another interested person, as temporary guardian of the adult with responsibility for the adult's welfare and authority to give consent for the adult for the approved adult protective services until the expiration of the order.

5. When applicable, the court shall appoint the petitioner or another interested person as temporary conservator of the adult with responsibility and authority limited to managing the adult's estate and financial affairs related to the approved adult protective services until the expiration of the order.

6. The issuance of an emergency order and the appointment of a temporary guardian or temporary conservator shall not deprive the adult of any rights except to the extent provided for in the order or appointment.

7. The court shall set the bond of the temporary guardian and the bond and surety, if any, of the temporary conservator.

C. The petition for an emergency order shall set forth the name, address, and interest of the petitioner; the name, age and address of the adult in need of adult protective services; the nature of the emergency; the nature of the adult's incapacity, if determinable; the proposed adult protective services; the petitioner's reasonable belief, together with facts supportive thereof, as to the existence of the facts stated in subdivisions A 1 through A 4; and facts showing the petitioner's attempts to obtain the adult's consent to the services and the outcomes of such attempts.

D. Written notice of the time, date and place for the hearing shall be given to the adult, to his spouse, or if none, to his nearest known next of kin, and a copy of the petition shall be attached. Such notice shall be given at least 24 hours prior to the hearing for emergency intervention. The court may waive the 24-hour notice requirement upon showing that (i) immediate and reasonably foreseeable physical harm to the adult or others will result from the 24-hour delay, and (ii) reasonable attempts have been made to notify the adult, his spouse, or if none, his nearest known next of kin.

E. Upon receipt of a petition for an emergency order for adult protective services, the court shall hold a hearing. The adult who is the subject of the petition shall have the right to be present and be represented by counsel at the hearing. If it is determined that the adult is indigent, or, in the determination of the judge, lacks capacity to waive the right to counsel, the court shall locate and appoint a guardian ad litem. If the adult is indigent, the cost of the proceeding shall be borne by the Commonwealth. If the adult is not indigent, the court may order that the cost of the proceeding shall be borne by such adult. This hearing shall be held no earlier than 24 hours after the notice required in subsection D has been given, unless such notice has been waived by the court.

F. The adult, the temporary guardian, temporary conservator, or any interested person may petition the court to have the emergency order set aside or modified at any time there is evidence that a substantial change in the circumstances of the adult for whom the emergency services were ordered has occurred.

G. Where adult protective services are rendered on the basis of an emergency order, the temporary guardian or temporary conservator shall submit to the court a report describing the circumstances thereof including the name, place, date and nature of the services provided. This report shall become part of the court record. Such report shall be confidential and open only to such persons as may be directed by the court.

H. If the person continues to need adult protective services after the renewal order provided in subdivision B 3 has expired, the temporary guardian, temporary conservator, or local department shall immediately petition the court to appoint a guardian and, if applicable, a conservator pursuant to Chapter 20 (§ 64.2-2000 et seq.) of Title 64.2.

1977, c. 547, § 63.1-55.6; 1978, c. 562; 1979, c. 451; 1997, c. 921; 2002, c. 747; 2004, cc. 749, 1011; 2018, cc. 19, 188.

§ 63.2-1610. Voluntary adult protective services.

A. The local department shall provide or arrange for protective services if the adult requests or affirmatively consents to receive these services. If the adult withdraws or refuses consent, the services shall not be provided.

B. No person shall interfere with the provision of adult protective services to an (i) adult who requests or consents to receive such services, or (ii) for whom consent has been lawfully given. In the event that interference occurs on a continuing basis, the director may petition the court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin such interference.

C. The actual costs incurred by the local department in providing adult protective services shall be borne by the local department, unless the adult or his representative agrees to pay for them or a court orders the local department to receive reasonable reimbursement for the adult protective services, excluding administrative costs, from the adult's assets after a finding that the adult is financially able to make such payment.

1977, c. 547, § 63.1-55.7; 2002, c. 747; 2004, cc. 749, 1011.