Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 63.2. Welfare (Social Services)
Chapter 2. State Social Services
11/30/2021

Article 1. Department and Commissioner of Social Services.

§ 63.2-200. Department of Social Services created.

The Department of Social Services is hereby created in the executive branch responsible to the Governor. The Department shall be under the supervision and management of the Commissioner of Social Services.

1974, cc. 44, 45, § 63.1-1.1; 1981, c. 21; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-201. Appointment of Commissioner.

The Commissioner of Social Services, shall be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, if in session when the appointment is made, and if not in session, then at its next succeeding session.

Code 1950, § 63-2; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-2; 1974, cc. 44, 45; 1981, c. 21; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-202. Term of office; vacancies.

The Commissioner shall hold office at the pleasure of the Governor for a term coincident with that of each Governor making the appointment, or until his successor is appointed and qualified. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as original appointments are made.

Code 1950, § 63-3; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-3; 1981, c. 21; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-203. Powers and duties of Commissioner generally.

A. The Commissioner, subject to the regulations of the Board, shall have all of the powers and perform all the duties conferred upon him by law. Except as otherwise provided, he shall supervise the administration of the provisions of this title and shall see that all laws pertaining to the Department are carried out to their true intent and spirit.

B. The Commissioner shall enforce the regulations adopted by the Board.

Code 1950, §§ 63-5, 63-38, 63-254; 1968, cc. 578, 670, §§ 63.1-4, 63.1-31, 63.1-217; 1974, cc. 44, 45; 1981, c. 21; 1999, cc. 737, 763; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-204. Cooperation with local authorities.

The Commissioner shall assist and cooperate with local authorities in the administration of this title. He shall encourage and direct the training of all personnel of local boards and local departments engaged in the administration of any program within the purview of this title or Chapter 11 (§ 16.1-226 et seq.) of Title 16.1. The Commissioner shall collect and publish statistics and such other data as may be deemed of value in assisting the public authorities and other social agencies of the Commonwealth in improving the care of these persons and in correcting conditions that contribute to dependency and delinquency. The Commissioner shall also, in his discretion, initiate and conduct conferences designed to accomplish such ends and to further coordination of effort in this field.

Code 1950, § 63-39; 1968, cc. 578, 670, § 63.1-32; 1974, cc. 44, 45; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-205. Requiring reports from local boards; forms and submission schedule; approval of budgets by Commissioner.

A. The Commissioner shall require of local boards such reports relating to the administration of this title as the Commissioner may deem necessary to enable the Board and the Commissioner to exercise and perform the functions, duties and powers conferred and imposed by this title. He shall prescribe the form and submission schedule of applications, reports, affidavits, budgets and budget exhibits, and such other forms as may be required in the administration of this title.

B. The Commissioner shall review budget requests submitted by local boards, make modifications consistent with the requirements of this title and transmit the approved budget to each local board.

Code 1950, §§ 63-40, 63-42; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-33; 1975, c. 368; 1976, c. 383; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-206. Cooperation with federal agencies.

The Commissioner shall cooperate with the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies of the United States and with the local boards, in relation to matters set forth in this title, and in any reasonable manner that may be necessary for this Commonwealth to qualify for and to receive grants or aid from such federal agencies for public assistance and services in conformity with the provisions of this title, including grants or aid to assist in providing rehabilitation and other services to help individuals to attain or retain capability for self-care or self-support and such services as are likely to prevent or reduce dependency and, in the case of dependent children, to maintain and strengthen family life. The Commissioner shall make such reports in such form and containing information as such agencies of the United States may require and shall comply with such provisions as such agencies require to assure the correctness and verification of such reports.

Code 1950, § 63-43; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-35; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-207. Authority to receive grants-in-aid, funds and gifts.

The Commissioner is authorized to receive, for and on behalf of the Commonwealth and its subdivisions, from the United States and agencies thereof, and from any and all other sources, grants-in-aid, funds and gifts, made for the purpose of providing, or to assist in providing, for funds for child welfare services including day care for children, disaster relief and emergency assistance awards, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and general relief, or any of them, including expenses of administration. Subject to the written approval of the Governor, the Commissioner is also authorized to receive from all such sources grants-in-aid, funds and gifts made for the purpose of alleviating, treating or preventing poverty, delinquency or other social problems encountered in programs under the supervision or administration of the Commissioner. All such funds shall be paid into the state treasury.

Code 1950, § 63-44; 1962, c. 297; 1964, c. 88; 1966, c. 105; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-36; 1977, c. 37; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-208. Standards for personnel.

The Commissioner shall enforce the minimum education, professional and training requirements and performance standards as determined by the Board for personnel employed in the administration of this title and remove each employee who does not meet such standards.

Code 1950, § 63-46; 1968, cc. 578, 670, § 63.1-37; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-209. Divisions of Department; staffing.

A. The Commissioner shall establish in the Department such divisions and regional offices as may be necessary.

B. The Commissioner shall ensure that regional offices responsible for oversight of foster care and adoption services are equipped with sufficient staff, and in no event less than four staff members, to provide effective oversight of and assistance with foster care and adoption services provided by local boards in the Commonwealth. At least one staff member shall be tasked with (i) reviewing the placement of children by local boards in children's residential facilities to verify that such placements are warranted by medical necessity and (ii) monitoring other health-related issues, such as medication management, frequency of visits with health care providers, and use of psychotropic medications. At least one staff member shall be tasked with supporting the efforts of local boards to find family-based placement options for children who are placed in or at risk of being placed in a children's residential facility without a medical necessity for congregate care. At least one staff member shall be tasked with supporting the efforts of local boards to find a permanent placement for children who have the greatest risk of aging out of foster care without a permanent family. At least one staff member shall be tasked with conducting foster care and adoption case reviews to ensure that local boards within the region are providing foster care and adoption services in a manner that complies with state and federal laws and regulations and protects the health, safety, and well-being of children under the supervision and control of such local boards. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, staff of regional offices shall have the authority to provide temporary staff support to local departments experiencing higher than normal caseloads or staff shortages.

Code 1950, § 63-7; 1968, cc. 578, 669, § 63.1-7; 1974, cc. 44, 45; 1981, c. 21; 2002, c. 747; 2019, c. 446.

§ 63.2-209.1. Office of New Americans.

A. There is created in the Department an Office of New Americans (the Office) to assist immigrant integration within the Commonwealth on an economic, social, and cultural level.

B. The Office shall:

1. Implement a statewide strategy to promote the economic, linguistic, and civic integration of new Americans in the Commonwealth;

2. Work with localities to coordinate and support local efforts that align with the statewide strategy to promote the economic, linguistic, and civic integration of new Americans in the Commonwealth;

3. Provide advice and assistance to new Americans regarding (i) the citizenship application process and (ii) securing employment, housing, and services for which such persons may be eligible;

4. Provide advice and assistance to state agencies regarding (i) the coordination of relevant policies across state agencies responsible for education, workforce, and training programs, including professional licensure guidance, small business development, worker protection, refugee resettlement, citizenship and voter education or engagement programs, housing programs, and other related programs, and (ii) the dissemination of information to localities and immigration service organizations regarding state programs that help new Americans find and secure employment, housing, and services for which they may be eligible;

5. Educate localities and immigration service organizations on health epidemics and unlawful predatory actions, such as human trafficking, gang recruitment, and fraudulent financial and other schemes, to which communities of such persons may be especially vulnerable;

6. Serve as the primary liaison with external stakeholders, particularly immigrant-serving and refugee-serving organizations and businesses, on immigrant integration priorities and policies;

7. Partner with state agencies and immigrant-serving and refugee-serving organizations and businesses to identify and disseminate beneficial immigrant integration policies and practices throughout the Commonwealth;

8. Manage competitive grant programs that replicate beneficial practices or test new innovations that improve the effectiveness and efficacy of immigrant integration strategies; and

9. Advise the Governor, cabinet members, and the General Assembly on strategies to improve state policies and programs to support the economic, linguistic, and civic integration of new Americans throughout the Commonwealth.

2020, cc. 1078, 1079.

§ 63.2-210. Appointment of division heads.

The Commissioner shall appoint heads of the divisions, subject to the provisions of Chapter 29 (§ 2.2-2900 et seq.) of Title 2.2.

Code 1950, § 63-8; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-8; 1981, c. 21; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-211. Powers and duties of division heads.

The Commissioner may delegate to the heads of the various divisions and to such other employees of the Department as he deems desirable any and all of the powers and duties conferred upon him by law.

Code 1950, § 63-9; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-9; 1981, c. 21; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-212. Employment of agents and employees.

The Commissioner may, subject to the provisions of Chapter 29 (§ 2.2-2900 et seq.) of Title 2.2, employ or authorize the employment of such agents and employees as may be needed by the Commissioner and the Department in the exercise of the functions, duties and powers conferred and imposed by law upon him and the Department, and in order to effect a proper organization and to carry out its duties.

Code 1950, § 63-10; 1968, cc. 578, 670, § 63.1-10; 1981, c. 21; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-213. Powers, duties, titles and functions of agents and employees.

The functions, duties, powers and titles of the agents and employees provided for in § 63.2-212, and their salaries and remuneration, not in excess of the amount provided therefor by law, shall be fixed by the Commissioner, subject to the provisions of Chapter 29 (§ 2.2-2900 et seq.) of Title 2.2.

Code 1950, § 63-11; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-11; 1981, c. 21; 2002, c. 747; 2003, c. 467.

§ 63.2-214. Bonds of such agents.

Proper bonds shall be required of all agents and employees who handle any funds which may come into custody of the Department. The premiums on the bonds shall be paid from funds appropriated by the Commonwealth for the administration of the activities of the Department.

Code 1950, § 63-12; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-12; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-214.1. Marriage and family programs; funding.

A. To the extent authorized by federal law, the Department may spend up to one percent of all funds received through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant during each fiscal year to fund programs that support the development of healthy marriages and the strengthening of families.

B. A portion, not to exceed 10 percent, of the money required to be spent as provided in subsection A may be allocated to develop a process, in cooperation with any public institution of higher education, for identifying best practices and outcomes for programs supported by grants made pursuant to this section.

C. If before implementation of any provision of this section a state agency determines that a waiver or authorization from a federal agency is necessary for implementation of that provision, the agency affected by the provision shall request the waiver or authorization and may delay implementing that provision until the waiver or authorization is granted.

D. The Board shall adopt such rules and promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to implement programs developed pursuant to this section.

2008, c. 439.

§ 63.2-214.2. Information related to shaken baby syndrome.

The Department shall make information about shaken baby syndrome, its effects, and resources for help and support for caretakers in a printable format, and information about how to acquire information about shaken baby syndrome and its effects in an audiovisual format, available to the public on its website. Such information shall be provided to every child welfare program required to be licensed by the Department at the time of initial licensure and upon request. The Department shall also make the information required in this section available to foster and adoptive parents and other persons, upon request.

2010, c. 551.

§ 63.2-214.3. Information on human trafficking.

The Department, in consultation with experts in the field of human trafficking prevention, shall provide to the Board of Education:

1. Resource information on human trafficking, including strategies for the prevention of trafficking of children; and

2. Materials for distribution that describe local, state, and national resources to which students, parents, school resource officers, counselors, and school personnel can refer for information on human trafficking, including strategies for prevention of trafficking of children.

2012, cc. 317, 370.