Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 63.2. Welfare (Social Services)
3/24/2019

Subtitle III. Social Services Programs.

Chapter 9. Foster Care.

§ 63.2-900. Accepting children for placement in homes, facilities, etc., by local boards.

A. Pursuant to § 63.2-319, a local board shall have the right to accept for placement in suitable family homes, children's residential facilities or independent living arrangements, subject to the supervision of the Commissioner and in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board, such persons under 18 years of age as may be entrusted to it by the parent, parents or guardian, committed by any court of competent jurisdiction, or placed through an agreement between it and the parent, parents or guardians where legal custody remains with the parent, parents, or guardians.

The Board shall adopt regulations for the provision of foster care services by local boards, which shall be directed toward the prevention of unnecessary foster care placements and towards the immediate care of and permanent planning for children in the custody of or placed by local boards and that shall achieve, as quickly as practicable, permanent placements for such children. The local board shall first seek out kinship care options to keep children out of foster care and as a placement option for those children in foster care, if it is in the child's best interests, pursuant to § 63.2-900.1. In cases in which a child cannot be returned to his prior family or placed for adoption and kinship care is not currently in the best interests of the child, the local board shall consider the placement and services that afford the best alternative for protecting the child's welfare. Placements may include but are not limited to family foster care, treatment foster care and residential care. Services may include but are not limited to assessment and stabilization, diligent family search, intensive in-home, intensive wraparound, respite, mentoring, family mentoring, adoption support, supported adoption, crisis stabilization or other community-based services. The Board shall also approve in foster care policy the language of the agreement required in § 63.2-902. The agreement shall include at a minimum a Code of Ethics and mutual responsibilities for all parties to the agreement.

Within 30 days of accepting for foster care placement a person under 18 years of age whose father is unknown, the local board shall request a search of the Virginia Birth Father Registry established pursuant to Article 7 (§ 63.2-1249 et seq.) of Chapter 12 to determine whether any man has registered as the putative father of the child. If the search results indicate that a man has registered as the putative father of the child, the local board shall contact the man to begin the process to determine paternity.

The local board shall, in accordance with the regulations adopted by the Board and in accordance with the entrustment agreement or other order by which such person is entrusted or committed to its care, have custody and control of the person so entrusted or committed to it until he is lawfully discharged, has been adopted or has attained his majority.

Whenever a local board places a child where legal custody remains with the parent, parents or guardians, the board shall enter into an agreement with the parent, parents or guardians. The agreement shall specify the responsibilities of each for the care and control of the child.

The local board shall have authority to place for adoption, and to consent to the adoption of, any child properly committed or entrusted to its care when the order of commitment or entrustment agreement between the parent or parents and the agency provides for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities with respect to the child for the purpose of placing and consenting to the adoption of the child.

The local board shall also have the right to accept temporary custody of any person under 18 years of age taken into custody pursuant to subdivision B of § 16.1-246 or § 63.2-1517. The placement of a child in a foster home, whether within or without the Commonwealth, shall not be for the purpose of adoption unless the placement agreement between the foster parents and the local board specifically so stipulates.

B. Prior to the approval of any family for placement of a child, a home study shall be completed and the prospective foster or adoptive parents shall be informed that information about shaken baby syndrome, its effects, and resources for help and support for caretakers is available on a website maintained by the Department as prescribed in regulations adopted by the Board. Home studies by local boards shall be conducted in accordance with the Mutual Family Assessment home study template and any addenda thereto developed by the Department.

C. Prior to placing any such child in any foster home or children's residential facility, the local board shall enter into a written agreement with the foster parents, pursuant to § 63.2-902, or other appropriate custodian setting forth therein the conditions under which the child is so placed pursuant to § 63.2-902. However, if a child is placed in a children's residential facility licensed as a temporary emergency shelter, and a verbal agreement for placement is secured within eight hours of the child's arrival at the facility, the written agreement does not need to be entered into prior to placement, but shall be completed and signed by the local board and the facility representative within 24 hours of the child's arrival or by the end of the next business day after the child's arrival.

Agreements entered into pursuant to this subsection shall include a statement by the local board that all reasonably ascertainable background, medical, and psychological records of the child, including whether the child has been the subject of an investigation as the perpetrator of sexual abuse, have been provided to the foster home or children's residential facility.

D. Within 72 hours of placing a child of school age in a foster care placement, as defined in § 63.2-100, the local social services agency making such placement shall, in writing, (i) notify the principal of the school in which the student is to be enrolled and the superintendent of the relevant school division or his designee of such placement, and (ii) inform the principal of the status of the parental rights.

If the documents required for enrollment of the foster child pursuant to § 22.1-3.1, 22.1-270 or 22.1-271.2, are not immediately available upon taking the child into custody, the placing social services agency shall obtain and produce or otherwise ensure compliance with such requirements for the foster child within 30 days after the child's enrollment.

Code 1950, § 63-73; 1952, c. 409; 1960, c. 331; 1968, cc. 466, 578, § 63.1-56; 1975, cc. 248, 406; 1977, cc. 559, 562, 634, 645; 1978, c. 734; 1984, c. 734; 1986, c. 281; 1991, c. 34; 1994, c. 865; 1999, c. 889; 2002, c. 747; 2004, c. 70; 2005, cc. 343, 653; 2006, c. 360; 2008, cc. 241, 308; 2010, c. 551; 2011, cc. 9, 170; 2015, c. 531; 2017, cc. 193, 200; 2018, c. 694.

§ 63.2-900.1. Kinship foster care.

A. The local board shall, in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board, determine whether the child has a relative who is eligible to become a kinship foster parent.

B. Kinship foster care placements pursuant to this section shall be subject to all requirements of, and shall be eligible for all services related to, foster care placement contained in this chapter. Subject to approval by the Commissioner, a local board may grant a waiver of the Board's standards for foster home approval, set forth in regulations, that are not related to safety. Waivers granted pursuant to this subsection shall be considered and, if appropriate, granted on a case-by-case basis and shall include consideration of the unique needs of each child to be placed. Upon request by a local board, the Commissioner shall review the local board's decision and reasoning to grant a waiver and shall verify that the foster home approval standard being waived is not related to safety. The approval or disapproval by the Commissioner of the local board's waiver shall not be considered a case decision as defined in § 2.2-4001.

C. The kinship foster parent shall be eligible to receive payment at the full foster care rate for the care of the child.

D. A child placed in kinship foster care pursuant to this section shall not be removed from the physical custody of the kinship foster parent, provided the child has been living with the kinship foster parent for six consecutive months and the placement continues to meet approval standards for foster care, unless (i) the kinship foster parent consents to the removal; (ii) removal is agreed upon at a family partnership meeting as defined by the Department; (iii) removal is ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction; or (iv) removal is warranted pursuant to § 63.2-1517.

2006, c. 360; 2012, c. 568; 2014, c. 257; 2016, c. 25.

§ 63.2-900.2. Placement of sibling groups; visitation.

All reasonable steps shall be taken to place siblings entrusted to the care of a local board or licensed child-placing agency, committed to the care of a local board or agency by any court of competent jurisdiction, or placed with a local board or public agency through an agreement between a local board or a public agency and the parent, parents, or guardians, where legal custody remains with the parent, parents, or guardian, together in the same foster home.

Where siblings are placed in separate foster homes, the local department, child-placing agency, or public agency shall develop a plan to encourage frequent and regular visitation or communication between the siblings. The visitation or communication plan shall take into account the wishes of the child, and shall specify the frequency of visitation or communication, identify the party responsible for encouraging that visits or communication occur, and state any other requirements or restrictions related to such visitation or communication as may be determined necessary by the local department, child-placing agency, or public agency.

2008, c. 397.

§ 63.2-900.3. School placement of children in foster care.

When placing a child of school age in a foster care placement, as defined in § 63.2-100, the local social services agency making such placement shall, in writing, determine jointly with the local school division whether it is in the child's best interests to remain enrolled at the school in which he was enrolled prior to the most recent foster care placement, pursuant to § 22.1-3.4.

2011, c. 154; 2012, c. 711.

§ 63.2-901. Supervision of placement of children in homes.

The local director shall supervise the placement in suitable homes of children placed through an agreement with the parents or guardians or entrusted or committed to the local board pursuant to §§ 63.2-900, 63.2-902 and 63.2-903.

Code 1950, § 63-89; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-67.2; 1994, c. 865; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-901.1. Criminal history and central registry check for placements of children.

A. Each local board and licensed child-placing agency shall obtain, in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board, criminal history record information from the Central Criminal Records Exchange and the Federal Bureau of Investigation through the Central Criminal Records Exchange and the results of a search of the child abuse and neglect central registry of any individual with whom the local board or licensed child-placing agency is considering placing a child on an emergency, temporary or permanent basis, including the birth parent of a child in foster care placement, unless the birth parent has revoked an entrustment agreement pursuant to § 63.2-1223 or 63.2-1817 or a local board or birth parent revokes a placement agreement while legal custody remains with the parent, parents, or guardians pursuant to § 63.2-900. The local board or licensed child-placing agency shall also obtain such background checks on all adult household members residing in the home of the individual with whom the child is to be placed pursuant to subsection B. Such state criminal records or registry search shall be at no cost to the individual. The local board or licensed child-placing agency shall pay for the national fingerprint criminal history record check or may require such individual to pay the cost of the fingerprinting or the national fingerprinting criminal history record check or both. In addition to the fees assessed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the designated state agency may assess a fee for responding to requests required by this section.

B. Background checks pursuant to this section require the following:

1. A sworn statement or affirmation disclosing whether or not the individual has a criminal conviction or is the subject of any pending criminal charges within or outside the Commonwealth and whether or not the individual has been the subject of a founded complaint of child abuse or neglect within or outside the Commonwealth;

2. That the individual submit to fingerprinting and provide personal descriptive information to be forwarded along with the individual's fingerprints through the Central Criminal Records Exchange to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of obtaining criminal history record information. The local board or licensed child-placing agency shall inform the individual that he is entitled to obtain a copy of any background check report and to challenge the accuracy and completeness of any such report and obtain a prompt resolution before a final decision is made of the individual's fitness to have responsibility for the safety and well-being of children.

The Central Criminal Records Exchange, upon receipt of an individual's record or notification that no record exists, shall forward it to the designated state agency. The state agency shall, upon receipt of an individual's record lacking disposition data, conduct research in whatever state and local recordkeeping systems are available in order to obtain complete data. The state agency shall report to the local board or licensed child-placing agency whether the individual meets the criteria for having responsibility for the safety and well-being of children based on whether or not the individual has ever been convicted of or is the subject of pending charges for any barrier crime as defined in § 19.2-392.02. Copies of any information received by a local board or licensed child-placing agency pursuant to this section shall be available to the state agency that regulates or operates such a child-placing agency but shall not be disseminated further; and

3. A search of the central registry maintained pursuant to § 63.2-1515 for any founded complaint of child abuse or neglect. In addition, a search of the child abuse and neglect registry maintained by any other state pursuant to the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, Pub. L. 109-248, in which a prospective parent or other adult in the home has resided in the preceding five years.

C. In emergency circumstances, each local board may obtain, from a criminal justice agency, criminal history record information from the Central Criminal Records Exchange and the Federal Bureau of Investigation through the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN) for the criminal records search authorized by this section. Within three days of placing a child, the local board shall require the individual for whom a criminal history record information check was requested to submit to fingerprinting and provide personal descriptive information to be forwarded along with the fingerprints through the Central Criminal Records Exchange to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of obtaining criminal record history information, pursuant to subsection B. The child shall be removed from the home immediately if any adult resident fails to provide such fingerprints and written permission to perform a criminal history record check when requested.

D. Any individual with whom the local board is considering placing a child on an emergency basis shall submit to a search of the central registry maintained pursuant to § 63.2-1515 and the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, Pub. L. 109-248 for any founded complaint of child abuse or neglect. The search of the central registry must occur prior to emergency placement. Such central registry search shall be at no cost to the individual. Prior to emergency placement, the individual shall provide a written statement of affirmation disclosing whether he has ever been the subject of a founded case of child abuse or neglect within or outside the Commonwealth. Child-placing agencies shall not approve individuals with a founded complaint of child abuse as foster or adoptive parents.

E. The child-placing agency shall not approve a foster or adoptive home if any individual has been convicted of any barrier crime as defined in § 19.2-392.02 or is the subject of a founded complaint of abuse or neglect as maintained in registries pursuant to § 63.2-1515 and 42 U.S.C.S. 16901 et seq. A child-placing agency may approve as a foster parent an applicant who has been convicted of not more than one misdemeanor as set out in § 18.2-57, or any substantially similar offense under the laws of another jurisdiction, not involving the abuse, neglect, or moral turpitude of a minor, provided that 10 years have elapsed following the conviction.

F. A local board or child-placing agency may approve as a kinship foster care parent an applicant who has been convicted of the following offenses, provided that 10 years have elapsed from the date of the conviction and the local board or child-placing agency makes a specific finding that approving the kinship foster care placement would not adversely affect the safety and well-being of the child: (i) any offense set forth in clause (iv) of the definition of barrier crime in § 19.2-392.02 or (ii) any misdemeanor offense under § 18.2-80, 18.2-81, 18.2-83, 18.2-87, 18.2-87.1, or 18.2-88 or any substantially similar offense under the laws of another jurisdiction.

G. Any individual participating in the Fostering Futures program, which allows local departments to continue to provide foster care services to individuals who are 18 years of age or older but have not reached 21 years of age, who is placed in a foster home shall be subject to the background check requirements set forth in subsection B. The results of such background check shall be used for the sole purpose of determining whether other children should be placed or remain in the same foster home as the individual subject to the background check. The results of the background check shall not be used to terminate or suspend the approval of the foster home pursuant to subsection E. For purposes of this subsection, "individual participating in the Fostering Futures program" means a person who is 18 years of age or older but has not reached 21 years of age and is receiving foster care services through the Fostering Futures program.

2002, cc. 587, 606, § 63.1-56.01; 2005, c. 722; 2006, c. 558; 2007, cc. 606, 617, 623, 871; 2011, cc. 5, 156; 2012, c. 568; 2017, cc. 194, 809.

§ 63.2-902. Agreements with persons taking children.

Every local board and licensed child-placing agency shall, with respect to each child placed by it in a foster home or children's residential facility, enter into a written agreement contained in an approved foster care policy with the head of such home or facility, which agreement shall provide that the authorized representatives of the local board or agency shall have access at all times to such child and to the home or facility, and that the head of the home or facility will release custody of the child so placed to the authorized representatives of the local board or agency whenever, in the opinion of the local board or agency, or in the opinion of the Commissioner, it is in the best interests of the child.

Code 1950, § 63-243; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-206; 2002, c. 747; 2008, cc. 241, 308.

§ 63.2-903. Entrustment agreements; adoption.

A. Whenever a local board accepts custody of a child pursuant to an entrustment agreement entered into under the authority of § 63.2-900, or a licensed child-placing agency accepts custody of a child pursuant to an entrustment agreement entered into under the authority of § 63.2-1817, in the city or county juvenile and domestic relations district court a petition for approval of the entrustment agreement (i) shall be filed within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 89 days after the execution of an entrustment agreement for less than 90 days, if the child is not returned to his home within that period; (ii) shall be filed within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 30 days after the execution of an entrustment agreement for 90 days or longer or for an unspecified period of time, if such entrustment agreement does not provide for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities with respect to the child; and (iii) may be filed in the case of a permanent entrustment agreement which provides for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities with respect to the child.

B. For purposes of §§ 63.2-900, 63.2-1817 and this section, a parent who is less than 18 years of age shall be deemed fully competent and shall have legal capacity to execute a valid entrustment agreement, including an agreement that provides for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities, and shall be as fully bound thereby as if such parent had attained the age of 18 years. An entrustment agreement for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities shall be executed in writing and notarized. An entrustment agreement for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities with respect to the child shall be valid notwithstanding that it is not signed by the father of a child born out of wedlock if the identity of the father is not reasonably ascertainable, or if such father is given notice of the entrustment by registered or certified mail to his last known address and fails to object to the entrustment within 15 days of mailing of such notice. An affidavit of the mother that the identity of the father is not reasonably ascertainable shall be sufficient evidence of this fact, provided there is no other evidence that would refute such an affidavit. The absence of such an affidavit shall not be deemed evidence that the identity of the father is reasonably ascertainable. For purposes of determining whether the identity of the father is reasonably ascertainable, the standard of what is reasonable under the circumstances shall control, taking into account the relative interests of the child, the mother and the father.

C. An entrustment agreement for the termination of parental rights and responsibilities with respect to the child shall be valid notwithstanding that it is not signed by the birth father of a child when such father has been convicted of a violation of subsection A of § 18.2-61, § 18.2-63, subsection B of § 18.2-366, or an equivalent offense of another state, the United States, or any foreign jurisdiction, and the child was conceived as a result of such violation.

D. A child may be placed for adoption by a licensed child-placing agency or a local board, in accordance with the provisions of § 63.2-1221.

Code 1950, §§ 63-73, 63-241; 1952, c. 409; 1960, c. 331; 1968, cc. 466, 578, 585, §§ 63.1-56, 63.1-204; 1972, c. 50; 1974, c. 620; 1975, cc. 248, 406; 1977, cc. 559, 562, 634, 645; 1978, cc. 730, 734, 735; 1981, c. 259; 1984, c. 734; 1985, cc. 18, 285; 1986, cc. 88, 281; 1988, c. 882; 1989, c. 647; 1991, c. 34; 1994, c. 865; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, cc. 889, 1028; 2000, c. 830; 2002, c. 747; 2004, c. 815; 2005, c. 890; 2007, cc. 606, 623.

§ 63.2-904. Investigation, visitation, and supervision of foster homes or independent living arrangement; removal of child.

A. Before placing or arranging for the placement of any such child in a foster home or independent living arrangement, a local board or licensed child-placing agency shall cause a careful study to be made to determine the suitability of such home or independent living arrangement, and after placement shall cause such home or independent living arrangement and child to be visited as often as necessary to protect the interests of such child. Home studies by local boards shall be conducted in accordance with the Mutual Family Assessment home study template and any addenda thereto developed by the Department.

B. Every local board or licensed child-placing agency that places a child in a foster home or independent living arrangement shall maintain such supervision over such home or independent living arrangement as shall be required by the standards and policies established by the Board.

C. Whenever any child placed by a local board or licensed child-placing agency and still under its control or supervision is subject, in the home in which he is placed, to unwholesome influences or to neglect or mistreatment, or whenever the Commissioner shall so order, such local board or agency shall cause the child to be removed from such home and shall make for him such arrangements as may be approved by the Commissioner.

D. Consistent with the reasonable and prudent parent standard defined in 42 U.S.C. § 675(10)(A), caregivers for children in foster care shall support normalcy for such children. The Board shall adopt regulations to assist local boards and licensed child-placing agencies in carrying out practices that support careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interest of the child while at the same time encouraging his emotional and developmental growth.

Code 1950, §§ 63-242, 63-248; 1968, c. 578, §§ 63.1-205, 63.1-211; 1989, c. 307; 2002, c. 747; 2008, cc. 475, 483; 2016, c. 631; 2017, c. 193.

§ 63.2-905. Foster care services.

Foster care services are the provision of a full range of casework, treatment and community services, including but not limited to independent living services, for a planned period of time to a child who is abused or neglected as defined in § 63.2-100 or in need of services as defined in § 16.1-228 and his family when the child (i) has been identified as needing services to prevent or eliminate the need for foster care placement, (ii) has been placed through an agreement between the local board or the public agency designated by the community policy and management team and the parents or guardians where legal custody remains with the parents or guardians, (iii) has been committed or entrusted to a local board or licensed child placing agency, or (iv) is living with a relative participating in the Kinship Guardianship Assistance program set forth in § 63.2-1305 and developed consistent with 42 U.S.C. § 673. Foster care services also include the provision and restoration of independent living services to a person who is over the age of 18 years but who has not yet reached the age of 21 years, in accordance with § 63.2-905.1.

1977, cc. 562, 634, § 63.1-55.8; 1986, c. 281; 1994, c. 865; 2002, c. 747; 2008, cc. 475, 483; 2013, c. 5; 2018, cc. 769, 770.

§ 63.2-905.1. Independent living services.

Local departments and licensed child-placing agencies shall provide independent living services to any person between 18 and 21 years of age who is in the process of transitioning from foster care to self-sufficiency. Any person who was committed or entrusted to a local board or licensed child-placing agency may choose to discontinue receiving independent living services any time before his twenty-first birthday in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board. The local board or licensed child-placing agency shall restore independent living services at the request of that person provided that (i) the person has not yet reached 21 years of age and (ii) the person has entered into a written agreement, less than 60 days after independent living services have been discontinued, with the local board or licensed child-placing agency regarding the terms and conditions of his receipt of independent living services.

Local departments and licensed child-placing agencies shall provide independent living services to any person between 18 and 21 years of age who (a) was in the custody of the local department of social services immediately prior to his commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice, (b) is in the process of transitioning from a commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice to self-sufficiency, and (c) provides written notice of his intent to receive independent living services and enters into a written agreement for the provision of independent living services, which sets forth the terms and conditions of the provision of independent living services, with the local board or licensed child-placing agency within 60 days of his release from commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Local departments shall provide any person who chooses to leave foster care or terminate independent living services before his twenty-first birthday written notice of his right to request restoration of independent living services in accordance with this section by including such written notice in the person's transition plan. Such transition plan shall be created within 90 days prior to the person's discharge from foster care. Local departments and licensed child-placing agencies may provide independent living services as part of the foster care services provided to any child 14 years of age or older. All independent living services shall be provided in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board.

2004, c. 196; 2008, cc. 187, 475, 483; 2010, c. 257; 2013, cc. 5, 362, 564; 2014, cc. 94, 134.

§ 63.2-905.2. Annual credit checks for children in foster care.

Local departments shall conduct annual credit checks on children 14 years of age and older who are in foster care to identify cases of identity theft or misuse of personal identifying information of such children. Local departments shall resolve, to the greatest extent possible, cases of identity theft or misuse of personal identifying information of foster care children identified pursuant to this section.

2012, c. 432; 2016, c. 631.

§ 63.2-905.3. Documents provided to foster care youth.

When a child is leaving foster care upon reaching 18 years of age, unless the child has been in foster care for less than six months, the local department shall ensure that the child has, if eligible to receive, (i) a certified birth certificate, (ii) a social security card, (iii) health insurance information, (iv) a copy of the child's health care records, and (v) a driver's license or identification card issued by the Commonwealth.

2016, c. 631.

§ 63.2-905.4. Individuals in foster care on eighteenth birthday; enrollment in Commonwealth's program of medical assistance.

Local departments shall ensure that any individual who was in foster care on his eighteenth birthday is enrolled, unless the individual objects, in the Commonwealth's program of medical assistance established pursuant to § 32.1-325, provided that such individual is eligible to receive health care services under the Commonwealth's program of medical assistance and was enrolled in such program on his eighteenth birthday. Prior to enrollment, local departments shall provide such individuals with basic information about health care services provided under the state plan for medical assistance services and inform such individuals that, if eligible, they will be enrolled in the Commonwealth's program of medical assistance unless they object.

2017, c. 203.

§ 63.2-905.5. Survey of children aging out of foster care.

The Department shall, in coordination with the Commission on Youth, develop a process and standardized survey to gather feedback from children aging out of foster care. The survey shall include requests for information regarding the child's experience with and opinion of the Commonwealth's foster care services, recommendations for improvement of such services, the amount of time the child spent in the foster care system, and any other information deemed relevant by the Department of Social Services or the Commission on Youth.

2017, c. 187.

§ 63.2-906. Foster care plans; permissible plan goals; court review of foster children.

A. Each child who is committed or entrusted to the care of a local board or to a licensed child-placing agency or who is placed through an agreement between a local board and the parent, parents or guardians, where legal custody remains with the parent, parents or guardians, shall have a foster care plan prepared by the local department, the child welfare agency, or the family assessment and planning team established pursuant to § 2.2-5207, as specified in § 16.1-281. The representatives of such department, child welfare agency, or team shall involve the child's parent(s) in the development of the plan, except when parental rights have been terminated or the local department of social services or child welfare agency has made diligent efforts to locate the parent(s) and such parent(s) cannot be located, and any other person or persons standing in loco parentis at the time the board or child welfare agency obtained custody or the board or the child welfare agency placed the child. The representatives of such department, child welfare agency, or team shall involve the child in the development of the plan, if such involvement is consistent with the best interests of the child. In cases where either the parent(s) or child is not involved in the development of the plan, the department, child welfare agency, or team shall include in the plan a full description of the reasons therefor in accordance with § 16.1-281.

A court may place a child in the care and custody of (i) a public agency in accordance with § 16.1-251 or 16.1-252, and (ii) a public or licensed private child-placing agency in accordance with § 16.1-278.2, 16.1-278.4, 16.1-278.5, 16.1-278.6, or 16.1-278.8. Children may be placed by voluntary relinquishment in the care and custody of a public or private agency in accordance with § 16.1-277.01 or §§ 16.1-277.02 and 16.1-278.3. Children may be placed through an agreement where legal custody remains with the parent, parents or guardians in accordance with §§ 63.2-900 and 63.2-903, or § 2.2-5208.

B. Each child in foster care shall be assigned a permanent plan goal to be reviewed and approved by the juvenile and domestic relations district court having jurisdiction of the child's case. Permissible plan goals are to:

1. Transfer custody of the child to his prior family;

2. Transfer custody of the child to a relative other than his prior family;

3. Finalize an adoption of the child;

4. Place a child who is 16 years of age or older in permanent foster care;

5. Transition to independent living if, and only if, the child is admitted to the United States as a refugee or asylee; or

6. Place a child who is 16 years of age or older in another planned permanent living arrangement in accordance with subsection A2 of § 16.1-282.1.

C. Each child in foster care shall be subject to the permanency planning and review procedures established in §§ 16.1-281, 16.1-282, and 16.1-282.1.

2002, c. 747; 2005, c. 653; 2008, cc. 475, 483; 2009, c. 124; 2011, c. 730; 2016, c. 631.

§ 63.2-907. Administrative review of children in foster care.

Each local board shall establish and keep current a social service plan with service objectives and shall provide the necessary social services for achievement of a permanent home for each child for whom it has care and custody or has an agreement with the parents or guardians to place in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board. Each local board shall review the cases of children placed through an agreement or in its custody in accordance with the regulations adopted by the Board. Each local board shall review the cases of children placed through an agreement or in its custody on a planned basis to evaluate the current status and effectiveness (i) of the service plan's objectives and (ii) of the services being provided for each child in custody, which are directed toward the immediate care of and planning for permanency for the child, in accordance with policies of the Board.

The Department shall establish and maintain (a) a system to review and monitor compliance by local boards with the policies adopted by the Board and (b) a tracking system of every child in the care and custody of or placed by local boards in order to monitor the effectiveness of service planning, service objectives and service delivery by the local boards that shall be directed toward the achievement of permanency for children in foster care.

The Board shall adopt regulations necessary to implement the procedures and policies set out in this section. The Board shall establish as a goal that at any point in time the number of children who are in foster care for longer than twenty-four months shall not exceed 5,500 children.

1977, c. 634, § 63.1-56.2; 1982, c. 171; 1994, c. 865; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-908. Permanent foster care placement.

A. Permanent foster care placement means the place in which a child has been placed pursuant to the provisions of §§ 63.2-900, 63.2-903 and this section with the expectation and agreement between the placing agency and the place of permanent foster care that the child shall remain in the placement until he reaches the age of majority unless modified by court order or unless removed pursuant to § 16.1-251 or § 63.2-1517. A permanent foster care placement may be a place of residence of any natural person or persons deemed appropriate to meet a child's needs on a long-term basis.

B. A local department or a licensed child-placing agency shall have authority pursuant to a court order to place a child who is 16 years of age or older over whom it has legal custody in a permanent foster care placement where the child shall remain until attaining majority or thereafter, until the age of 21 years, if such placement is a requisite to providing funds for the care of such child, so long as the child is a participant in an educational, treatment or training program approved pursuant to regulations of the Board. No such child shall be removed from the physical custody of the foster parents in the permanent care placement except upon order of the court or pursuant to § 16.1-251 or § 63.2-1517. The department or agency so placing a child shall retain legal custody of the child. A court shall not order that a child be placed in permanent foster care unless it finds that (i) diligent efforts have been made by the local department to place the child with his natural parents and such efforts have been unsuccessful, and (ii) diligent efforts have been made by the local department to place the child for adoption and such efforts have been unsuccessful or adoption is not a reasonable alternative for a long-term placement for the child under the circumstances.

C. Unless modified by the court order, the foster parent in the permanent foster care placement shall have the authority to consent to surgery, entrance into the armed services, marriage, application for a motor vehicle and driver's license, application for admission into an institution of higher education, and any other such activities that require parental consent and shall have the responsibility for informing the placing department or agency of any such actions.

D. Any child placed in a permanent foster care placement by a local department shall, with the cooperation of the foster parents with whom the permanent foster care placement has been made, receive the same services and benefits as any other child in foster care pursuant to §§ 63.2-319, 63.2-900 and 63.2-903 and any other applicable provisions of law.

E. The Board shall establish minimum standards for the utilization, supervision and evaluation of permanent foster care placements.

F. The rate of payment for permanent foster care placements by a local department shall be in accordance with standards and rates established by the Board. The rate of payment for such placements by other licensed child-placing agencies shall be in accordance with standards and rates established by the individual agency.

G. If the child has a continuing involvement with his natural parents, the natural parents should be involved in the planning for a permanent placement. The court order placing the child in a permanent placement shall include a specification of the nature and frequency of visiting arrangements with the natural parents.

H. Any change in the placement of a child in permanent foster care or the responsibilities of the foster parents for that child shall be made only by order of the court which ordered the placement pursuant to a petition filed by the foster parents, local department, licensed child-placing agency or other appropriate party.

1977, c. 559, § 63.1-206.1; 1978, c. 671; 1984, c. 70; 2002, c. 747; 2016, c. 631.

§ 63.2-909. Child support for child placed in foster care by court.

Pursuant to § 16.1-290, responsible persons shall pay child support for a child placed in foster care from the date that custody was awarded to the local department. The court order shall state the names of the responsible persons obligated to pay support, and either specify the amount of the support obligation pursuant to §§ 20-108.1 and 20-108.2 or indicate that the Division of Child Support Enforcement will establish the amount of the support obligation. In fixing the amount of support, the court or the Division of Child Support Enforcement shall consider the extent to which the payment of support by the responsible person may affect the ability of such responsible person to implement a foster care plan developed pursuant to § 16.1-281.

1995, c. 817, § 63.1-204.2; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-910. Child support for child placed in foster care where legal custody remains with parent or guardian.

Responsible persons shall pay child support for a child placed in foster care through an agreement where legal custody remains with the parent or guardian pursuant to subdivision A 4 of § 16.1-278.2 or § 63.2-900, from the date that the child was placed in foster care. The agreement between the parents and the local board shall include provisions for the payment of child support. In fixing the amount of support, the court, the Division of Child Support Enforcement, and the local board shall consider the extent to which the payment of support by the responsible person may affect the ability of such responsible person to implement a foster care plan. If the responsible person fails or refuses to pay such sum on a timely basis, the local board may petition the juvenile court to order such payment.

1995, c. 817, § 63.1-204.3; 1997, c. 420; 2002, c. 747; 2009, c. 124.

§ 63.2-910.1. Acceptance of children by local departments of social services.

A local department of social services has the authority to take custody of abandoned children, to arrange appropriate placements for abandoned children, including foster care, and to institute proceedings for the termination of parental rights of abandoned children as provided in this title and Title 16.1.

2003, cc. 816, 822.

§ 63.2-910.2. Petition to terminate parental rights.

A. If a child has been in foster care under the responsibility of a local board for 15 of the most recent 22 months or if the parent of a child in foster care has been convicted of an offense under the laws of the Commonwealth or a substantially similar law of any other state, the United States, or any foreign jurisdiction that constitutes (i) murder or voluntary manslaughter, or a felony attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any such offense, if the victim of the offense was a child of the parent, a child with whom the parent resided at the time such offense occurred, or the other parent of the child; or (ii) felony assault resulting in serious bodily injury or felony bodily wounding resulting in serious bodily injury or felony sexual assault, if the victim of the offense was a child of the parent or a child with whom the parent resided at the time of such offense, the local board shall file a petition to terminate the parental rights of the child's parents and concurrently identify, recruit, process, and approve a qualified family for adoption of the child, unless:

1. At the option of the local board, the child is being cared for by a relative;

2. The local board has determined that the filing of such a petition would not be in the best interests of the child and has documented a compelling reason for such determination in the child's foster care plan; or

3. The local board has not provided to the family of the child, within the time period established in the child's foster care plan, services deemed necessary for the child's safe return home or has not otherwise made reasonable efforts to return the child home, if required under § 473(a)(15)(B)(ii) of Title IV-E of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 673).

B. As used in this section, "serious bodily injury" means bodily injury that involves substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.

2017, c. 190.

§ 63.2-911. Liability insurance for foster parents.

The Department may provide liability insurance for civil matters for persons providing basic foster care services in foster homes, as defined in §§ 63.2-100 and 63.2-905, that are approved by local boards for children in their custody or children who the board has entered into an agreement to place where legal custody remains with the parents or guardians.

1978, c. 291, § 63.1-56.3; 1994, c. 865; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-912. Visitation of child placed in foster care.

The circuit courts and juvenile and domestic relations district courts shall have the authority to grant visitation rights to the natural parents, siblings, and grandparents of any child entrusted or committed to foster care if the court finds (i) that the parent, sibling, or grandparent had an ongoing relationship with the child prior to his being placed in foster care and (ii) it is in the best interests of the child that the relationship continue. The order of the court committing the child to foster care shall state the nature and extent of any visitation rights granted as provided in this section.

1985, c. 583, § 63.1-204.1; 2002, c. 747; 2008, c. 188.

§ 63.2-913. Establishment of minimum training requirements.

The Department shall, pursuant to Board regulations, establish minimum training requirements and shall provide educational programs for foster and adoption workers employed by the local department and their supervisors.

2008, cc. 133, 700.

§ 63.2-914. Not in effect.

Not in effect.

§ 63.2-915. Appeals to Commissioner.

A. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 671 (a)(12), any individual whose claim for benefits available pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 670 et seq. or whose claim for benefits pursuant to § 63.2-905 is denied or is not acted upon by the local department with reasonable promptness shall have the right to appeal to the Commissioner.

B. The Commissioner shall provide an opportunity for a hearing, reasonable notice of which shall be given in writing to the applicant or recipient and to the proper local board in such manner and form as the Commissioner may prescribe. The Commissioner may make or cause to be made an investigation of the facts. The Commissioner shall give fair and impartial consideration to testimony of witnesses, or other evidence produced at the hearing, reports by the local board and local director or of investigations made or caused to be made by the Commissioner, or any facts that the Commissioner may deem proper to enable him to decide fairly the appeal or review. The decision of the Commissioner shall be binding and considered a final agency action for purposes of judicial review of such action pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

C. The Commissioner may delegate the duty and authority to consider and make determinations on any appeal filed in accordance with this section to duly qualified officers.

D. The Board shall promulgate regulations to implement the provisions of this section.

2013, c. 437.

Chapter 10. Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

§ 63.2-1000. Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children; form of compact.

The Governor of Virginia is hereby authorized and requested to execute, on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia, with any other state or states legally joining therein, a compact which shall be in form substantially as follows:

The contracting states solemnly agree that:

ARTICLE I. Purpose and Policy.

It is the purpose and policy of the party states to cooperate with each other in the interstate placement of children to the end that:

(a) Each child requiring placement shall receive the maximum opportunity to be placed in a suitable environment and with persons or institutions having appropriate qualifications and facilities to provide a necessary and desirable degree and type of care.

(b) The appropriate authorities in a state where a child is to be placed may have full opportunity to ascertain the circumstances of the proposed placement, thereby promoting full compliance with applicable requirements for the protection of the child.

(c) The proper authorities of the state from which the placement is made may obtain the most complete information on the basis of which to evaluate a projected placement before it is made.

(d) Appropriate jurisdictional arrangements for the care of children will be promoted.

ARTICLE II. Definitions.

As used in this compact:

(a) "Child" means a person who, by reason of minority, is legally subject to parental, guardianship or similar control.

(b) "Sending agency" means a party state, officer or employee thereof; a subdivision of a party state, or officer or employee thereof; a court of a party state; a person, corporation, association, charitable agency or other entity which sends, brings, or causes to be sent or brought any child to another party state.

(c) "Receiving state" means the state to which a child is sent, brought, or caused to be sent or brought, whether by public authorities or private persons or agencies, and whether for placement with state or local public authorities or for placement with private agencies or persons.

(d) "Placement" means the arrangement for the care of a child in a family free or boarding home or in a child-caring agency or institution but does not include any institution caring for individuals with mental illness, intellectual disability, or epilepsy or any institution primarily educational in character, and any hospital or other medical facility.

ARTICLE III. Conditions for Placement.

(a) No sending agency shall send, bring, or cause to be sent or brought into any other party state any child for placement in foster care or as a preliminary to a possible adoption unless the sending agency shall comply with each and every requirement set forth in this article and with the applicable laws of the receiving state governing the placement of children therein.

(b) Prior to sending, bringing or causing any child to be sent or brought into a receiving state for placement in foster care or as a preliminary to a possible adoption, the sending agency shall furnish the appropriate public authorities in the receiving state written notice of the intention to send, bring, or place the child in the receiving state. The notice shall contain:

(1) The name, date and place of birth of the child.

(2) The identity and address or addresses of the parents or legal guardian.

(3) The name and address of the person, agency or institution to or with which the sending agency proposes to send, bring, or place the child.

(4) A full statement of the reasons for such proposed action and evidence of the authority pursuant to which the placement is proposed to be made.

(c) Any public officer or agency in a receiving state which is in receipt of a notice pursuant to paragraph (b) of this article may request of the sending agency, or any other appropriate officer or agency of or in the sending agency's state, and shall be entitled to receive therefrom, such supporting or additional information as it may deem necessary under the circumstances to carry out the purpose and policy of this compact.

(d) The child shall not be sent, brought or caused to be sent or brought into the receiving state until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving state shall notify the sending agency, in writing, to the effect that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

ARTICLE IV. Penalty for Illegal Placement.

The sending, bringing, or causing to be sent or brought into any receiving state of a child in violation of the terms of this compact shall constitute a violation of the laws respecting the placement of children of both the state in which the sending agency is located or from which it sends or brings the child and of the receiving state. Such violation may be punished or subjected to penalty in either jurisdiction in accordance with its laws. In addition to liability for any such punishment or penalty, any such violation shall constitute full and sufficient grounds for the suspension or revocation of any license, permit, or other legal authorization held by the sending agency which empowers or allows it to place, or care for children.

ARTICLE V. Retention of Jurisdiction.

(a) The sending agency shall retain jurisdiction over the child sufficient to determine all matters in relation to the custody, supervision, care, treatment and disposition of the child which it would have had if the child had remained in the sending agency's state, until the child is adopted, reaches majority, becomes self-supporting or is discharged with the concurrence of the appropriate authority in the receiving state. Such jurisdiction shall also include the power to effect or cause the return of the child or its transfer to another location and custody pursuant to law. The sending agency shall continue to have financial responsibility for support and maintenance of the child during the period of the placement. Nothing contained herein shall defeat a claim of jurisdiction by a receiving state sufficient to deal with an act of delinquency or crime committed therein.

(b) When the sending agency is a public agency, it may enter into an agreement with an authorized public or private agency in the receiving state providing for the performance of one or more services in respect of such cases by the latter as agent for the sending agency.

(c) Nothing in this compact shall be construed to prevent a private charitable agency authorized to place children in the receiving state from performing services or acting as agent in that state for a private charitable agency of the sending state; nor to prevent the agency in the receiving state from discharging financial responsibility for the support and maintenance of a child who has been placed on behalf of the sending agency without relieving the responsibility set forth in paragraph (a) hereof.

ARTICLE VI. Institutional Care of Delinquent Children.

A child adjudicated delinquent may be placed in an institution in another party jurisdiction pursuant to this compact but no such placement shall be made unless the child is given a court hearing on notice to the parent or guardian with opportunity to be heard, prior to his being sent to such other party jurisdiction for institutional care and the court finds that:

1. Equivalent facilities for the child are not available in the sending agency's jurisdiction; and

2. Institutional care in the other jurisdiction is in the best interest of the child and will not produce undue hardship.

ARTICLE VII. Compact Administrator.

The executive head of each jurisdiction party to this compact shall designate an officer who shall be general coordinator of activities under this compact in his jurisdiction and who, acting jointly with like officers of other party jurisdictions, shall have the power to promulgate rules and regulations to carry out more effectively the terms and provisions of this compact.

ARTICLE VIII. Limitations.

This compact shall not apply to:

(a) The sending or bringing of a child into a receiving state by his parent, step-parent, grandparent, adult brother or sister, adult uncle or aunt, or his guardian and leaving the child with any such relative or nonagency guardian in the receiving state.

(b) Any placement, sending or bringing of a child into a receiving state pursuant to any other interstate compact to which both the state from which the child is sent or brought and the receiving state are party, or to any other agreement between said states which has the force of law.

ARTICLE IX. Enactment and Withdrawal.

This compact shall be open to joinder by any state, territory or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and, with the consent of Congress, the Government of Canada or any province thereof. It shall become effective with respect to any such jurisdiction when such jurisdiction has enacted the same into law. Withdrawal from this compact shall be by the enactment of a statute repealing the same, but shall not take effect until two years after the effective date of such statute and until written notice of the withdrawal has been given by the withdrawing state to the Governor of each other party jurisdiction. Withdrawal of a party state shall not affect the rights, duties and obligations under this compact of any sending agency therein with respect to a placement made prior to the effective date of withdrawal.

ARTICLE X. Construction and Severability.

The provisions of this compact shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes thereof. The provisions of this compact shall be severable and if any phrase, clause, sentence or provision of this compact is declared to be contrary to the constitution of any party state or of the United States or the applicability thereof to any government, agency, person or circumstance is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of this compact and the applicability thereof to any government, agency, person or circumstance shall not be affected thereby. If this compact shall be held contrary to the constitution of any state party thereto, the compact shall remain in full force and effect as to the remaining states and in full force and effect as to the state affected as to all severable matters.

1975, c. 406, § 63.1-219.2; 2002, c. 747; 2012, cc. 476, 507.

Chapter 11. Implementation of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

§ 63.2-1100. Definitions.

For the purposes of Chapter 10 (§ 63.2-1000 et seq.) of this title, the following words shall have the meaning ascribed to them by this section:

A. "Appropriate public authorities" as used in Article III of the compact means, with reference to this Commonwealth, the Department.

B. "Appropriate authority in the receiving state" as used in subdivision (a) of Article V of the compact means, with reference to this Commonwealth, the Commissioner.

1975, c. 406, § 63.1-219.1; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1101. Discharging financial responsibilities imposed by compact or agreement.

Financial responsibility for any child placed pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 10 (§ 63.2-1000 et seq.) of this title shall be determined in accordance with the provision of Article V of the compact. In the event of partial or complete default of performance thereunder, the provisions of Chapter 19 (§ 63.2-1900 et seq.) of this title may also be invoked.

1975, c. 406, § 63.1-219.3; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1102. Supplementary agreements.

The officers and agencies of this Commonwealth and its subdivisions having authority to place children are hereby empowered to enter into supplementary agreements with appropriate officers or agencies in other party states pursuant to subdivision (b) of Article V of the compact pursuant to Chapter 10 (§ 63.2-1000 et seq.) of this title. Any such agreement which contains a financial commitment or imposes a financial obligation on this Commonwealth or on a subdivision or agency thereof is subject to the written approval of the State Comptroller and of the chief fiscal officer of the subdivision involved.

1975, c. 406, § 63.1-219.4; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1103. Fulfilling requirements for visitation, inspection or supervision.

Requirements for visitation, inspection or supervision of children, homes, institutions or other agencies in another party state set forth in Subtitle IV (§ 63.2-1700 et seq.) of this title shall be deemed to be fulfilled if performed by an authorized public or private agency in the receiving state pursuant to an agreement entered into by appropriate officers or agencies of this Commonwealth or of a subdivision thereof as provided in subdivision (b) of Article V of the compact pursuant to Chapter 10 (§ 63.2-1000 et seq.) of this title.

1975, c. 406, § 63.1-219.5; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1104. Children from other states and countries.

A. Any child-placing agency or court that brings or sends, or causes to be brought or sent, a nonresident child into Virginia for the purpose of an interstate placement shall comply with the regulations and procedures adopted by the Board for the administration of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (§ 63.2-1000 et seq.) regardless of whether the state from which the child is sent is a party to the compact. The agency shall also comply with all the regulations of the Board relating to nonresident children so brought or sent into the Commonwealth. Intercountry placements made by licensed child-placing agencies, courts, or other entities are subject to regulations prescribed by the Board.

B. The Board is authorized to adopt regulations for the bringing or sending of such children into the Commonwealth by child-placing agencies or courts for the purpose of an interstate placement, and for the care, maintenance, supervision and control of all children so brought or sent into the Commonwealth until they have been adopted, attained their majority, or have been otherwise lawfully discharged or released, as are reasonably conducive to the welfare of such children and as comply with the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (§ 63.2-1000 et seq.).

C. In situations where a custodial parent identifies an urgent need for assistance or relief, the parent may, in cooperation with the receiving children's residential facility, place a child prior to final approval of the placement pursuant to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children when the placement is made without the involvement of a public officer or agency.

Code 1950, § 63-245; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-207; 1975, c. 406; 1977, c. 645; 1980, c. 40; 1981, c. 75; 2002, c. 747; 2012, cc. 82, 773; 2013, c. 720.

§ 63.2-1105. Children placed out of Commonwealth.

A. Any child-placing agency, licensed pursuant to Subtitle IV (§ 63.2-1700 et seq.), local board or court that takes or sends, or causes to be taken or sent, any resident child out of the Commonwealth for the purpose of an interstate or intercountry placement shall comply with the appropriate provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (§ 63.2-1000 et seq.) or shall first obtain the consent of the Commissioner, given in accordance with regulations of the Board relating to resident children so taken or sent out of the Commonwealth.

B. The Board is authorized to adopt regulations for the placement of children out of the Commonwealth by licensed child-placing agencies, local boards or courts as are reasonably conducive to the welfare of such children and as comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (§ 63.2-1000 et seq.). Provided, however, notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (d) of Article II of the compact that exclude from the definition of "placement" those institutions that care for individuals with mental illness, intellectual disability, or epilepsy or any institution primarily educational in character and any hospital or other medical facility, the Board shall prescribe procedures and regulations to govern such placements out of the Commonwealth by licensed child-placing agencies, local boards or courts.

Code 1950, § 63-73; 1952, c. 409; 1960, c. 331; 1968, cc. 466, 578, § 63.1-56; 1975, cc. 248, 406; 1977, cc. 559, 562, 634, 645, § 63.1-207.1; 1980, c. 40; 1978, c. 734; 1981, c. 75; 1984, c. 734; 1986, c. 281; 1991, c. 34; 1994, c. 865; 1999, c. 889; 2002, c. 747; 2012, cc. 476, 507.

Chapter 12. Adoption.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 63.2-1200. Who may place children for adoption.

A child may be placed for adoption by:

1. A licensed child-placing agency;

2. A local board;

3. The child's parent or legal guardian if the placement is a parental placement; and

4. Any agency outside the Commonwealth that is licensed or otherwise duly authorized to place children for adoption by virtue of the laws under which it operates.

1978, c. 730, § 63.1-220.1; 1985, c. 285; 1989, c. 647; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.8; 2002, c. 747; 2004, c. 815; 2006, cc. 825, 848.

§ 63.2-1200.1. Recognition of foreign adoption; issuance of birth certificates.

A. Any adoption of a child who was born in a foreign country and who was not a citizen of the United States at the time of birth shall, subject to the provisions of subsection D of § 63.2-1201.1, be recognized by the Commonwealth and the rights and obligations of the parties shall be determined as though the order of adoption was entered by a court of the Commonwealth if the adoption was finalized pursuant to the laws of the country from which the child was adopted, and the child was admitted to the United States with an IR-3 or IH-3 visa issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. In such cases, the adoptive parents shall not be required to readopt the child in Virginia.

B. In cases in which an adoption of a child was finalized pursuant to the laws of a foreign country and the child was admitted to the United States with an IR-3 or IH-3 visa, the adoptive parents, if residents of the Commonwealth at the time the adoption was finalized, may submit a report of adoption to the State Registrar of Vital Records on a form furnished by the State Registrar, which shall (i) include evidence as to the date, place of birth, and parentage of the adopted person; (ii) provide information necessary to establish a new certificate of birth for the adopted person; (iii) include a certified or notarized copy of the final order of adoption entered by the foreign court, together with a certified translation or a notarized copy of a certified translation of the final order of adoption in cases in which the original order is not in English; and (iv) include an affidavit from the adoptive parents indicating that they are receiving supervision from a licensed or approved child-placing agency in the United States or have received supervision from a licensed or approved child-placing agency in the United States and have satisfied all post-adoption requirements as required by the foreign country from which the child was adopted. Upon receipt of a report pursuant to this subsection, the State Registrar shall establish a new certificate of birth for the adopted person, and such certificate of birth shall be registered in accordance with the provisions of § 32.1-261.

2011, c. 486; 2012, c. 323.

§ 63.2-1201. Filing of petition for adoption; venue; jurisdiction; and proceedings.

Proceedings for the adoption of a minor child and for a change of name of such child shall be instituted only by petition to a circuit court in the county or city in which the petitioner resides, in the county or city in which the child-placing agency that placed the child is located, or in the county or city in which a birth parent executed a consent pursuant to § 63.2-1233. Such petition may be filed by any natural person who resides in the Commonwealth, or who has custody of a child placed by a child-placing agency of the Commonwealth, or by an adopting parent of a child who was subject to a consent proceeding held pursuant to § 63.2-1233, or by intended parents who are parties to a surrogacy contract. The petition shall ask leave to adopt a minor child not legally the petitioner's by birth and, if it is so desired by the petitioner, also to change the name of such child. In the case of married persons, or persons who were previously married who are permitted to adopt a child under § 63.2-1201.1, the petition shall be the joint petition of the husband and wife or former spouses but, in the event the child to be adopted is legally the child by birth or adoption of one of the petitioners, such petitioner shall unite in the petition for the purpose of indicating consent to the prayer thereof only. If any procedural provision of this chapter applies to only one of the adoptive parents, then the court may waive the application of the procedural provision for the spouse of the adoptive parent to whom the provision applies. The petition shall contain a full disclosure of the circumstances under which the child came to live, and is living, in the home of the petitioner. Each petition for adoption shall be signed by the petitioner as well as by counsel of record, if any. In any case in which the petition seeks the entry of an adoption order without referral for investigation, the petition shall be under oath.

A single petition for adoption under the provisions of this section shall be sufficient for the concurrent adoption by the same petitioners of two or more children who have the same birth parent or parents, and nothing in this section shall be construed as having heretofore required a separate petition for each of such children.

The petition for adoption, except those filed pursuant to subdivisions 5 and 6 of § 63.2-1210, shall include an additional $50 filing fee that shall be used to fund the Virginia Birth Father Registry established in Article 7 (§ 63.2-1249 et seq.) of this chapter.

A petition filed while the child is under 18 years of age shall not become invalid because the child reaches 18 years of age prior to the entry of a final order of adoption. Any final order of adoption entered pursuant to § 63.2-1213 after a child reaches 18 years of age, where the petition was filed prior to the child turning 18 years of age, shall have the same effect as if the child was under 18 years of age at the time the order was entered by the circuit court provided the court has obtained the consent of the adoptee.

Code 1950, § 63-348; 1952, c. 550; 1954, c. 489; 1956, c. 300; 1964, c. 459; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-221; 1970, c. 672; 1973, c. 406; 1975, c. 461; 1978, c. 730; 1983, c. 614; 1988, c. 882; 1989, c. 647; 1991, cc. 76, 602; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.9; 2002, c. 747; 2006, cc. 825, 848; 2007, cc. 606, 623; 2008, cc. 116, 868; 2009, c. 805; 2017, c. 200.

§ 63.2-1201.1. Previously married persons who stood in loco parentis during the time of the marriage may adopt in the same manner as married persons.

A. A man and woman previously married to each other who stood in loco parentis to a child during their marriage to each other, and who could have adopted or readopted the child pursuant to this chapter while married to each other, but whose marriage is void, has been annulled or has dissolved, may adopt or readopt the child pursuant to the provisions in this chapter that are applicable to married persons.

B. An individual previously married to a parent of a child by birth or adoption, and who stood in loco parentis to that child during the marriage, and who could have adopted the child pursuant to § 63.2-1241 during the marriage, may, with the consent of the prior spouse who is a parent of the child by birth or adoption, adopt the child, after the marriage has been dissolved, annulled or voided, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter that are applicable to step-parents.

C. Any person or persons seeking to adopt or readopt pursuant to this section may be permitted to do so even if they have remarried.

D. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit any child to have more than two living parents by birth or adoption, who have legal rights and obligations in respect to the child, in the form of one father and one mother.

2008, c. 868.

§ 63.2-1202. Parental, or agency, consent required; exceptions.

A. No petition for adoption shall be granted, except as hereinafter provided in this section, unless written consent to the proposed adoption is filed with the petition. Such consent shall be in writing, signed under oath and acknowledged before an officer authorized by law to take acknowledgments. The consent of a birth parent for the adoption of his child placed directly by the birth parent shall be executed as provided in § 63.2-1233, and the circuit court may accept a certified copy of an order entered pursuant to § 63.2-1233 in satisfaction of all requirements of this section, provided the order clearly evidences compliance with the applicable notice and consent requirements of § 63.2-1233.

B. A birth parent who has not reached the age of 18 shall have legal capacity to give consent to adoption and perform all acts related to adoption, and shall be as fully bound thereby as if the birth parent had attained the age of 18 years.

C. Consent shall be executed:

1. By the birth mother and by any man who:

a. Is an acknowledged father under § 20-49.1;

b. Is an adjudicated father under § 20-49.8;

c. Is a presumed father under subsection D; or

d. Has registered with the Virginia Birth Father Registry pursuant to Article 7 (§ 63.2-1249 et seq.).

Verification of compliance with the notice provisions of the Virginia Birth Father Registry shall be provided to the court.

2. By the child-placing agency or the local board having custody of the child, with right to place him for adoption, through court commitment or parental agreement as provided in § 63.2-900, 63.2-903, or 63.2-1221; or an agency outside the Commonwealth that is licensed or otherwise duly authorized to place children for adoption by virtue of the laws under which it operates; and

3. By the child if he is 14 years of age or older, unless the circuit court finds that the best interests of the child will be served by not requiring such consent.

D. A man shall be presumed to be the father of a child if:

1. He and the mother of the child are married to each other and the child is born during the marriage;

2. He and the mother of the child were married to each other and the child is born within 300 days of their date of separation, as evidenced by a written agreement or decree of separation, or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce; or

3. Before the birth of the child, he and the mother of the child married each other in apparent compliance with the law, even if the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and the child is born during the invalid marriage or within 300 days of their date of separation, as evidenced by a written agreement or decree of separation, or within 300 days after its termination by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce.

Such presumption may be rebutted by sufficient evidence that would establish by a preponderance of the evidence the paternity of another man or the impossibility or improbability of cohabitation with the birth mother for a period of at least 300 days prior to the birth of the child.

E. No consent shall be required of a birth father if he denies under oath and in writing the paternity of the child. Such denial of paternity may be withdrawn no more than 10 days after it is executed. Once the child is 10 days old, any executed denial of paternity is final and constitutes a waiver of all rights with respect to the adoption of the child and cannot be withdrawn.

F. No consent shall be required of the birth father of a child when the birth father is convicted of a violation of subsection A of § 18.2-61, § 18.2-63, subsection B of § 18.2-366, or an equivalent offense of another state, the United States, or any foreign jurisdiction, and the child was conceived as a result of such violation.

G. No notice or consent shall be required of any person whose parental rights have been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction, including foreign courts that have competent jurisdiction. No notice or consent is required of any birth parent of a child for whom a guardianship order was granted when the child was approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for purposes of adoption.

H. No consent shall be required of a birth parent who, without just cause, has neither visited nor contacted the child for a period of six months immediately prior to the filing of the petition for adoption or the filing of a petition to accept consent to an adoption. The prospective adoptive parent(s) shall establish by clear and convincing evidence that the birth parent(s), without just cause, has neither visited nor contacted the child for a period of six months immediately prior to the filing of the petition for adoption or the filing of a petition to accept consent to an adoption. This provision shall not infringe upon the birth parent's right to be noticed and heard on the allegation of abandonment. For purposes of this section, the payment of child support, in the absence of other contact with the child, shall not be considered contact.

I. A birth father of the child may consent to the termination of all of his parental rights prior to the birth of the child.

J. The failure of the nonconsenting party to appear at any scheduled hearing, either in person or by counsel, after proper notice has been given to said party, shall constitute a waiver of any objection and right to consent to the adoption.

K. If a birth parent, legal guardian, or prospective adoptee, executing a consent, entrustment, or other documents related to the adoption, cannot provide the identification required pursuant to § 47.1-14, the birth parent, legal guardian, or prospective adoptee may execute a self-authenticating affidavit as to his identity subject to the penalties contained in § 63.2-1217.

Code 1950, § 63-351; 1954, c. 489; 1956, c. 300; 1960, c. 331; 1962, c. 603; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-225; 1972, cc. 73, 475, 823; 1974, c. 620; 1978, cc. 730, 735, 744; 1985, c. 18; 1986, c. 387; 1989, c. 647; 1993, c. 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.10; 2002, c. 747; 2005, c. 890; 2006, cc. 825, 848; 2007, cc. 606, 623; 2009, c. 805; 2011, c. 486; 2012, c. 424; 2017, c. 200.

§ 63.2-1203. When consent is withheld or unobtainable.

A. If, after consideration of the evidence, the circuit court finds that the valid consent of any person or agency whose consent is required is withheld contrary to the best interests of the child as set forth in § 63.2-1205, or is unobtainable, the circuit court may grant the petition without such consent:

1. Fifteen days after personal service of notice of petition on the party or parties whose consent is required by this section;

2. If personal service is unobtainable, 10 days after the completion of the execution of an order of publication against the party or parties whose consent is required by this section concerning the petition;

3. If a birth parent is deceased, upon the filing of a death certificate for a deceased birth parent with the court; or

4. If the judge certifies on the record that the identity of any person whose consent is hereinabove required is not reasonably ascertainable.

An affidavit of the birth mother that the identity of the birth father is not reasonably ascertainable shall be sufficient evidence of this fact, provided there is no other evidence before the circuit court that would refute such an affidavit. The absence of such an affidavit shall not be deemed evidence that the identity of the birth father is reasonably ascertainable. For purposes of determining whether the identity of the birth father is reasonably ascertainable, the standard of what is reasonable under the circumstances shall control, taking into account the relative interests of the child, the birth mother and the birth father.

B. If the child is not in the custody of a child-placing agency and both parents are deceased, the circuit court, after hearing evidence to that effect, may grant the petition without the filing of any consent.

C. In an adoption proceeding where the consent of a birth parent is required, but the petition for adoption alleges that the birth parent is withholding consent to the adoption, the court shall provide written notice to the birth parent of his right to be represented by counsel prior to any hearing or decision on the petition. Upon request, the court shall appoint counsel for any such birth parent if such parent has been determined to be indigent by the court pursuant to § 19.2-159.

Code 1950, § 63-351; 1954, c. 489; 1956, c. 300; 1960, c. 331; 1962, c. 603; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-225; 1972, cc. 73, 475, 823; 1974, c. 620; 1978, cc. 730, 735, 744; 1985, c. 18; 1986, c. 387; 1989, c. 647; 1993, c. 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.11; 2002, c. 747; 2009, c. 805; 2012, c. 425.

§ 63.2-1204. When consent is revocable; fraud or duress; mutual consent.

Parental consent to an adoption or an entrustment agreement not yet finalized by the court, shall be revocable prior to the final order of adoption (i) upon proof of fraud or duress or (ii) after placement of the child in an adoptive home, upon written, mutual consent of the birth parents and prospective adoptive parents or the child-placing agency.

Code 1950, § 63-351; 1954, c. 489; 1956, c. 300; 1960, c. 331; 1962, c. 603; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-225; 1972, cc. 73, 475, 823; 1974, c. 620; 1978, cc. 730, 735, 744; 1985, c. 18; 1986, c. 387; 1989, c. 647; 1993, c. 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.12; 2002, c. 747; 2009, c. 805.

§ 63.2-1205. Best interests of the child; standards for determining.

In determining whether the valid consent of any person whose consent is required is withheld contrary to the best interests of the child, or is unobtainable, the circuit court or juvenile and domestic relations district court, as the case may be, shall consider whether granting the petition pending before it would be in the best interest of the child. The circuit court or juvenile and domestic relations district court, as the case may be, shall consider all relevant factors, including the birth parent(s)' efforts to obtain or maintain legal and physical custody of the child; whether the birth parent(s) are currently willing and able to assume full custody of the child; whether the birth parent(s)' efforts to assert parental rights were thwarted by other people; the birth parent(s)' ability to care for the child; the age of the child; the quality of any previous relationship between the birth parent(s) and the child and between the birth parent(s) and any other minor children; the duration and suitability of the child's present custodial environment; and the effect of a change of physical custody on the child.

1995, cc. 772, 826, § 63.1-225.1; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.13; 2002, c. 747; 2003, c. 467; 2006, cc. 825, 848.

§ 63.2-1205.1. Violent sex offenders prohibited from adopting a child.

No petition for adoption shall be granted if the person seeking to adopt has been convicted of a sexually violent offense or an offense requiring registration pursuant to § 9.1-902.

2006, c. 384.

§ 63.2-1206. No parental presumption after revocation period expires.

If, after the expiration of the appropriate revocation period provided for in § 63.2-1223 or § 63.2-1234, a birth parent or an alleged birth parent attempts to obtain or regain custody of or attempts to exercise parental rights to a child who has been placed for adoption, there shall be no parental presumption in favor of any party. Upon the motion of any such birth parent or alleged birth parent, or upon the motion of any person or agency with whom the child has been placed, the circuit or juvenile and domestic relations district court, as the case may be, shall determine (i) whether the birth parent or alleged birth parent is a person whose consent to the adoption is required and, if so, then (ii) pursuant to § 63.2-1205, whether, in the best interest of the child, the consent of the person whose consent is required is being withheld contrary to the best interest of the child or is unobtainable.

1995, cc. 772, 826, § 63.1-220.7; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.14; 2002, c. 747; 2003, c. 467.

§ 63.2-1207. Removal of child from adoptive home.

When a child is placed in an adoptive home pursuant to an adoptive home placement agreement by a local board or by a licensed child-placing agency pursuant to § 63.2-1221, or by the birth parent or legal guardian of the child pursuant to § 63.2-1230, and a circuit court of competent jurisdiction has not entered an interlocutory order of adoption, such child shall not be removed from the physical custody of the adoptive parents, except (i) with the consent of the adoptive parents; (ii) upon order of the juvenile and domestic relations district court or the circuit court of competent jurisdiction; (iii) pursuant to § 63.2-904, which removal shall be subject to review by the juvenile and domestic relations district court upon petition of the adoptive parents; or (iv) upon order of the juvenile and domestic relations district court that accepted consent when consent has been revoked as authorized by § 63.2-1204 or § 63.2-1223.

When a child has been placed in an adoptive home directly by the birth parents or legal guardian of the child, the adoptive parents have been granted custody of the child pursuant to § 63.2-1233, and it becomes necessary to remove the child from the home of the adoptive parents, the juvenile and domestic relations district court entering such an order shall order that any consent given for the purposes of such placement shall be void and shall determine the custody of the child.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.5; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.15; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1208. Investigations; report to circuit court.

A. Upon consideration of the petition, the circuit court shall, upon being satisfied as to proper jurisdiction and venue, immediately enter an order referring the case to a child-placing agency to conduct an investigation and prepare a report unless no investigation is required pursuant to this chapter. The court shall enter the order of reference prior to or concurrently with the entering of an order of publication, if such is necessary. Upon entry of the order of reference, the clerk shall forward a copy of the order of reference, the petition, and all exhibits thereto to the Commissioner and the child-placing agency retained to provide investigative, reporting, and supervisory services. If no Virginia agency was retained to provide such services, the order of reference, petition, and all exhibits shall be forwarded to the local director of social services of the locality where the petitioners reside or resided at the time of filing the petition or had legal residence at the time the petition was filed.

B. Upon receiving a petition and order of reference from the circuit court, the applicable agency shall make a thorough investigation of the matter and report thereon in writing, in such form as the Commissioner may prescribe, to the circuit court within 60 days after the copy of the petition and all exhibits thereto are forwarded. A copy of the report to the circuit court shall be served on the Commissioner by delivering or mailing a copy to him on or before the day of filing the report with the circuit court. On the report to the circuit court there shall be appended either acceptance of service or certificate of the local director, or the representative of the child-placing agency, that copies were served as this section requires, showing the date of delivery or mailing. The circuit court shall expeditiously consider the merits of the petition upon receipt of the report.

C. If the report is not made to the circuit court within the periods specified, the circuit court may proceed to hear and determine the merits of the petition and enter such order or orders as the circuit court may deem appropriate.

D. The investigation requested by the circuit court shall include, in addition to other inquiries that the circuit court may require the child-placing agency or local director to make, inquiries as to (i) whether the petitioner is financially able, except as provided in Chapter 13 (§ 63.2-1300 et seq.) of this title, morally suitable, in satisfactory physical and mental health and a proper person to care for and to train the child; (ii) what the physical and mental condition of the child is; (iii) why the parents, if living, desire to be relieved of the responsibility for the custody, care, and maintenance of the child, and what their attitude is toward the proposed adoption; (iv) whether the parents have abandoned the child or are morally unfit to have custody over him; (v) the circumstances under which the child came to live, and is living, in the physical custody of the petitioner; (vi) whether the child is a suitable child for adoption by the petitioner; (vii) what fees have been paid by the petitioners or on their behalf to persons or agencies that have assisted them in obtaining the child; and (viii) whether the requirements of subsections E and F have been met. Any report made to the circuit court shall include a recommendation as to the action to be taken by the circuit court on the petition. A copy of any report made to the circuit court shall be furnished to counsel of record representing the adopting parent or parents. When the investigation reveals that there may have been a violation of § 63.2-1200 or § 63.2-1218, the local director or child-placing agency shall so inform the circuit court and the Commissioner.

E. The report shall include the relevant physical and mental history of the birth parents if known to the person making the report. The child-placing agency or local director shall document in the report all efforts they made to encourage birth parents to share information related to their physical and mental history. However, nothing in this subsection shall require that an investigation of the physical and mental history of the birth parents be made.

F. The report shall include a statement by the child-placing agency or local director that all reasonably ascertainable background, medical, and psychological records of the child, including whether the child has been the subject of an investigation as the perpetrator of sexual abuse, have been provided to the prospective adoptive parent(s). The report also shall include a list of such records provided.

G. If the specific provisions set out in §§ 63.2-1228, 63.2-1238, 63.2-1242 and 63.2-1244 do not apply, the petition and all exhibits shall be forwarded to the local director where the petitioners reside or to a licensed child-placing agency.

Code 1950, §§ 63-348.1, 63-349, 63-356.1; 1950, pp. 441, 626; 1954, c. 489; 1956, cc. 187, 300, 489; 1962, c. 603; 1964, cc. 139, 429; 1968, cc. 346, 578, §§ 63.1-222, 63.1-223, 63.1-231; 1972, c. 823; 1974, cc. 26, 337, 421, 493, 507; 1975, c. 364; 1977, c. 526; 1978, c. 730; 1979 c. 339; 1980, c. 740; 1982, c. 115; 1985, cc. 298, 300; 1986, cc. 481, 482; 1987, c. 482; 1988, cc. 53, 579, 599, 882; 1989, c. 647; 1992, c. 607; 1993, c. 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, §§ 63.1-219.35, 63.1-219.45, 63.1-219.49, 63.1-219.51; 2002, c. 747; 2003, c. 502; 2006, cc. 825, 848; 2007, c. 446; 2018, c. 694.

§ 63.2-1209. Entry of interlocutory order.

If, in the case of a direct parental placement adoption pursuant to § 63.2-1230 or in circumstances in which an interlocutory order is necessary in an agency adoption, after considering the home study or any required report, the circuit court is satisfied that all of the applicable requirements have been complied with, that the petitioner is financially able to maintain adequately, except as provided in Chapter 13 (§ 63.2-1300 et seq.) of this title, and is morally suitable and a proper person to care for and train the child, that the child is suitable for adoption by the petitioner, and that the best interests of the child will be promoted by the adoption, it shall enter an interlocutory order of adoption declaring that henceforth, subject to the probationary period hereinafter provided for and to the provisions of the final order of adoption, the child will be, to all intents and purposes, the child of the petitioner. If the petition includes a prayer for a change of the child's name and the circuit court is satisfied that such change is in the best interests of the child, upon entry of final order, the name of the child shall be changed. An attested copy of every interlocutory order of adoption shall be forwarded forthwith by the clerk of the circuit court in which it was entered to the Commissioner and to the licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency or the local director that prepared the required home study or report. The agency or director shall, after receipt of the attested copy of the interlocutory order of adoption, prepare a report of visitation pursuant to § 63.2-1212.

If the circuit court denies the petition for adoption and if it appears to the circuit court that the child is without proper care, custody or guardianship, the circuit court may, in its discretion, appoint a guardian for the child or commit the child to a custodial agency as provided for in §§ 16.1-278.2, 16.1-278.3 and 64.2-1703, respectively.

Code 1950, § 63-352; 1954, c. 489; 1964, c. 429; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-226; 1974, c. 507; 1975, c. 364; 1989, c. 647; 1991, c. 534; 1992, c. 607; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.16; 2002, c. 747; 2009, c. 805.

§ 63.2-1210. Probationary period, interlocutory order and order of reference not required under certain circumstances.

The circuit court may omit the probationary period and the interlocutory order and enter a final order of adoption under the following circumstances:

1. If the child is legally the child by birth or adoption of one of the petitioners and the circuit court is of the opinion that the entry of an interlocutory order would otherwise be proper.

2. If one of the petitioners is a step-parent of the child and the circuit court is of the opinion that the entry of an interlocutory order would otherwise be proper. The court may omit the order of reference if the petitioners meet the requirements of § 63.2-1241.

3. After receipt of the report required by § 63.2-1208, if the child has been placed in the physical custody of the petitioner by a child-placing agency and (i) the placing or supervising agency certifies to the circuit court that the child has lived in the physical custody of the petitioner continuously for a period of at least six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition and has been visited by a representative of such agency at least three times within a six-month period, provided there are not less than 90 days between the first visit and the last visit, and (ii) the circuit court is of the opinion that the entry of an interlocutory order would otherwise be proper. The circuit court may, for good cause shown, in cases of placement by a child-placing agency, omit the requirement that the three visits be made within a six-month period.

4. After receipt of the report, if the child has been in physical custody of the petitioner continuously for at least three years immediately prior to the filing of the petition for adoption, and the circuit court is of the opinion that the entry of an interlocutory order would otherwise be proper.

5. After receipt of the report, if the child has been legally adopted according to the laws of a foreign country with which the United States has diplomatic relations and if the circuit court is of the opinion that the entry of an interlocutory order would otherwise be proper, and the child (i) has been in the physical custody of the petitioners for at least one year immediately prior to the filing of the petition and a representative of a child-placing agency has visited the petitioner and child at least once in the six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition or during its investigation pursuant to § 63.2-1208 or (ii) has been in the physical custody of the petitioners for at least six months immediately prior to the filing of the petition, has been visited by a representative of a child-placing agency or of the local department three times within such six-month period with no fewer than ninety days between the first and last visits, and the last visit has occurred within six months immediately prior to the filing of the petition.

6. After receipt of the report, if the child was placed into Virginia from a foreign country in accordance with § 63.2-1104, the adoption was not finalized pursuant to the laws of that foreign country, and the child has been in the physical custody of the petitioner for at least six months immediately prior to the filing of the petition and has been visited by a representative of a licensed child-placing agency or of the local department three times within the six-month period with no fewer than 90 days between the first and last visits. The circuit court may, for good cause shown, in cases of an international placement, omit the requirement that the three visits be made within a six-month period.

Code 1950, § 63-355; 1952, c. 71; 1954, c. 489; 1962, c. 603; 1964, c. 429; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-229; 1975, c. 364; 1978, c. 750; 1980, c. 268; 1983, c. 334; 1986, c. 470; 1992, c. 607; 1993, c. 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.17; 2002, c. 747; 2006, cc. 825, 848; 2011, c. 486.

§ 63.2-1211. Revocation of interlocutory order.

The circuit court may, by order entered of record, revoke its interlocutory order of adoption at any time prior to the entry of the final order, for good cause shown, on its own motion, or on the motion of the birth parents of the child, or of the petitioner, or of the child himself by his next friend, or of the child-placing agency, which placed the child with the petitioners or of the Commissioner; but, no such order of revocation shall be entered, except on motion of the petitioner, unless the petitioner is given ten days' notice of such motion in writing and an opportunity to be heard or has removed from the Commonwealth. The clerk of the circuit court shall forward an attested copy of every such order to the Commissioner and to the child-placing agency that placed the child.

When an interlocutory order has been entered and subsequently is revoked, the circuit court may proceed in the same manner as set forth in § 63.2-1209 to enter an order concerning the subsequent custody or guardianship of the child.

Code 1950, § 63-353; 1954, c. 489; 1964, c. 429; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-227; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.18; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1212. Visitations during probationary period and report.

A. Except as hereinafter provided, after the entry of an interlocutory order of adoption, (i) the licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency; (ii) if the child was not placed by an agency and the placement is not a parental placement, the local director; (iii) if the placement is a parental placement, the child-placing agency that submitted the home study; or, (iv) if the child was placed by an agency in another state or by an agency, court, or other entity in another country, the local director or licensed child-placing agency, whichever agency completed the home study or provided supervision, shall cause or have caused the child to be visited at least three times within a period of six months by an agent of such local board or local department or by an agent of such licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency. Whenever practicable, such visits shall be made within the six-month period immediately following the date upon which the child was placed in the physical care of the adoptive parents or of entry of the interlocutory order; however, no less than ninety days shall elapse between the first visit and the last visit. The agency that placed the child, the child-placing agency that submitted the home study, the local director or the licensed child-placing agency, as applicable, shall make a written report to the circuit court, in such form as the Commissioner may prescribe, of the findings made pursuant to such visitations. A copy of the report to the circuit court shall be furnished to the counsel of record for the parties, which copy shall be returned by such counsel as is required by § 63.2-1246 for the return of the original report. A copy of the report to the circuit court shall be served on the Commissioner by delivering or mailing a copy to him on or before the day of filing the report with the circuit court. On the report to the circuit court there shall be appended either acceptance of service or certification of the local director or the representative of the child-placing agency, that copies were served as this section requires, showing the date of delivery or mailing.

B. The three supervisory visits required in subsection A shall be conducted in the presence of the child. At least one such visit shall be conducted in the home of the petitioners in the presence of the child and both petitioners, unless the petition was filed by a single parent or one of the petitioners is no longer residing in the home.

C. When it is determined for purposes of subsection B that the petitioner no longer resides in the adoptive home, the child-placing agency or local director shall contact the petitioner to determine whether or not the petitioner wishes to remain a party to the proceedings and shall include in its report to the circuit court the results of its findings.

Code 1950, § 63-354; 1956, c. 187; 1962, c. 603; 1964, c. 429; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-228; 1972, c. 73; 1975, c. 364; 1976, c. 367; 1980, c. 740; 1988, c. 599; 1989, c. 647; 1992, c. 607; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.19; 2002, c. 747; 2007, cc. 606, 623; 2009, c. 805.

§ 63.2-1213. Final order of adoption.

After consideration of the report made pursuant to § 63.2-1212 or as permitted pursuant to § 63.2-1210, if the circuit court is satisfied that the best interests of the child will be served thereby, the circuit court shall enter the final order of adoption. However, a final order of adoption shall not be entered until information has been furnished by the petitioner in compliance with § 32.1-262 unless the circuit court, for good cause shown, finds the information to be unavailable or unnecessary. No circuit court shall deny a petitioner a final order of adoption for the sole reason that the child was placed in the physical custody of the petitioner by a person not authorized to make such placements pursuant to § 63.2-1200. An attested copy of every final order of adoption shall be forwarded, by the clerk of the circuit court in which it was entered, to the Commissioner and to the child-placing agency that placed the child or to the local director, in cases where the child was not placed by an agency.

Code 1950, § 63-356; 1962, c. 603; 1964, c. 429; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-230; 1975, c. 364; 1981, c. 318; 1988, c. 431; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.20; 2002, c. 747; 2006, cc. 825, 848; 2007, cc. 606, 623.

§ 63.2-1214. Annual review of pending petitions for adoption; duty of Commissioner and circuit court clerk.

After the expiration of twelve months from the date of the entry of the last order upon a petition for adoption, except when the last order entered is a final order of adoption, it shall be the responsibility of the Commissioner to notify the clerk of the circuit court of all adoption cases that have been pending for a period of more than twelve months, and the clerk of the circuit court shall place on the docket all such cases for review by the circuit court as soon as practicable.

1976, c. 353, § 63.1-230.1; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.21; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1215. Legal effects of adoption.

The birth parents, and the parents by previous adoption, if any, other than any such parent who is the husband or wife of one of the petitioners, shall, by final order of adoption, be divested of all legal rights and obligations in respect to the child including the right to petition any court for visitation with the child. Except where a final order of adoption is entered pursuant to § 63.2-1241, any person whose interest in the child derives from or through the birth parent or previous adoptive parent, including but not limited to grandparents, stepparents, former stepparents, blood relatives and family members shall, by final order of adoption, be divested of all legal rights and obligations in respect to the child including the right to petition any court for visitation with the child. In all cases the child shall be free from all legal obligations of obedience and maintenance in respect to such persons divested of legal rights. Any child adopted under the provisions of this chapter shall, from and after the entry of the interlocutory order or from and after the entry of the final order where no such interlocutory order is entered, be, to all intents and purposes, the child of the person or persons so adopting him, and, unless and until such interlocutory order or final order is subsequently revoked, shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges, and subject to all the obligations, of a child of such person or persons born in lawful wedlock. An adopted person is the child of an adopting parent, and as such, the adopting parent shall be entitled to testify in all cases civil and criminal, as if the adopted child was born of the adopting parent in lawful wedlock.

Code 1950, § 63-357; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-233; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1997, c. 690; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.22; 2002, c. 747; 2003, c. 229.

§ 63.2-1216. Final order not subject to attack after six months.

After the expiration of six months from the date of entry of any final order of adoption from which no appeal has been taken to the Court of Appeals, the validity thereof shall not be subject to attack in any proceedings, collateral or direct, for any reason, including but not limited to fraud, duress, failure to give any required notice, failure of any procedural requirement, or lack of jurisdiction over any person, and such order shall be final for all purposes.

Code 1950, § 63-361; 1954, c. 489; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-237; 1984, c. 703; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.23; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1217. Provision of false information; penalty.

Any person who knowingly and intentionally provides false information in writing and under oath, which is material to an adoptive placement shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. The Commissioner is authorized to investigate such cases and may refer the case to the attorney for the Commonwealth for prosecution.

1995, cc. 772, 826, § 63.1-220.6; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.24; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1218. Certain exchange of property, advertisement, solicitation prohibited; penalty.

No person or child-placing agency shall charge, pay, give, or agree to give or accept any money, property, service or other thing of value in connection with a placement or adoption or any act undertaken pursuant to this chapter except (i) reasonable and customary services provided by a licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency and fees paid for such services; (ii) payment or reimbursement for medical expenses and insurance premiums that are directly related to the birth mother's pregnancy and hospitalization for the birth of the child who is the subject of the adoption proceedings, for mental health counseling received by the birth mother or birth father related to the adoption, and for expenses incurred for medical care for the child; (iii) payment or reimbursement for reasonable and necessary expenses for food, clothing, and shelter when, upon the written advice of her physician, the birth mother is unable to work or otherwise support herself due to medical reasons or complications associated with the pregnancy or birth of the child; (iv) payment or reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred incidental to any required court appearance including, but not limited to, transportation, food and lodging; (v) usual and customary fees for legal services in adoption proceedings; and (vi) payment or reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred for transportation in connection with any of the services specified in this section or intercountry placements as defined in § 63.2-100 and as necessary for compliance with state and federal law in such placements. No person shall advertise or solicit to perform any activity prohibited by this section. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. The Commissioner is authorized to investigate cases in which fees paid for legal services appear to be in excess of usual and customary fees in order to determine if there has been compliance with the provisions of this section.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.4; 1993, c. 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.25; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1219. Suspected violation of property exchange information.

If the juvenile and domestic relations or circuit court or any participating licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency suspects that there has been a violation of § 63.2-1218 in connection with a placement or adoption, it shall report such findings to the Commissioner for investigation and appropriate action. If the Commissioner suspects that a person has violated § 63.2-1218, he shall report his findings to the appropriate attorney for the Commonwealth. If the Commissioner believes that such violation has occurred in the course of the practice of a profession or occupation licensed or regulated pursuant to Title 54.1, he shall also report such findings to the appropriate regulatory authority for investigation and appropriate disciplinary action.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.3; 1991, cc. 364, 602; 1992, c. 125; 1993, cc. 338, 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.26; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1220. Issuance of birth certificates for children adopted in the Commonwealth.

For the purpose of securing a new birth certificate for a child adopted pursuant to the laws of the Commonwealth, the procedures set forth in § 32.1-262 shall be followed. The Department shall furnish a document listing all post-adoption services available to adoptive families to the State Registrar of Vital Records for distribution to adoptive parents pursuant to § 32.1-261.

The Department of Social Services shall update annually and make available on its website the document listing all post-adoption services available to adoptive families pursuant to this section.

1970, c. 672, § 63.1-221.1; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.27; 2002, c. 747; 2003, c. 985; 2011, c. 486; 2015, cc. 5, 17.

§ 63.2-1220.01. Foreign adoptions; establishment of date of birth.

A circuit court may, as part of a proceeding for the adoption of a child born in a foreign country or upon petition to amend a certificate of birth for a person born in a foreign country, correct or establish a date of birth for such person. In cases in which adoptive parents are unable to ascertain the date of birth of the child or in which medical evidence indicates that the stated date of birth of the child is incorrect, the court may establish a corrected date of birth based on medical evidence of the child's actual age and the State Registrar of Vital Records shall issue a certificate of birth pursuant to § 32.1-261 showing the date of birth established by the court.

2012, c. 424.

§ 63.2-1220.1. Establishment of minimum training requirements.

The Department shall, pursuant to Board regulations, establish minimum training requirements and shall provide educational programs for foster and adoption workers employed by the local department and their supervisors.

2008, cc. 133, 700.

Article 1.1. Post-Adoption Contact and Communication Agreements.

§ 63.2-1220.2. Authority to enter into post-adoption contact and communication agreements.

A. In any proceeding for adoption pursuant to this chapter, the birth parent(s) and the adoptive parent(s) of a child may enter into a written post-adoption contact and communication agreement. A post-adoption contact and communication agreement may include, but is not limited to, provisions related to contact and communication between the child, the birth parent(s), and the adoptive parent(s) and provisions for the sharing of information about the child, including sharing of photographs of the child and information about the child's education, health, and welfare.

B. Any post-adoption contact and communication agreement entered into by the birth parent(s) and the adoptive parent(s) of a child shall include acknowledgment by the birth parent(s) that the adoption of the child is irrevocable, even if the adoptive parent(s) do not abide by the post-adoption contact and communication agreement, and acknowledgment by the adoptive parent(s) that the agreement grants the birth parent(s) the right to seek to enforce the post-adoption contact and communication provisions set forth in the agreement. The petitioner for adoption shall file such agreement with other documents filed in the circuit court having jurisdiction over the child's adoption.

C. In no event shall failure to enter into a post-adoption contact and communication agreement with identified adoptive parent(s) after a valid entrustment agreement or consent to the child's adoption is executed, or failure to comply with a post-adoption contact and communication agreement, affect the validity of (i) the consent to the adoption, (ii) the voluntary relinquishment of parental rights, (iii) the voluntary or involuntary termination of parental rights, or (iv) the finality of the adoption.

D. No birth parent(s) or adoptive parent(s) of a child shall be required to enter into a post-adoption contact and communication agreement.

2010, c. 331.

§ 63.2-1220.3. Approval of post-adoption contact and communication agreements.

A. The circuit court may approve a post-adoption contact and communication agreement authorized pursuant to § 16.1-283.1 or entered into pursuant to this article and filed with the court for a petition for adoption if:

1. The court determines that the child's best interest would be served by approving the post-adoption contact and communication agreement;

2. The adoptive parent or parents and birth parent or parents have consented to a post-adoption contact and communication agreement filed with the court;

3. The agency authorized to place the child for adoption and to consent to an adoption or authorized to recommend the placement of a child for adoption and the child's guardian ad litem have recommended that the post-adoption contact and communication agreement be approved as being in the best interest of the child, or, if there is no agency sponsoring the adoption, the agency that prepared the adoption report has been informed of the post-adoption contact and communication agreement and has recommended in the agency's report to the circuit court that the post-adoption contact and communication agreement be approved; however, in cases in which no child placing agency or guardian ad litem for the child is involved, this requirement may be waived; and

4. Where the child is 14 years of age or older, consent to the post-adoption contact and communication agreement is obtained from the child.

B. To be enforceable, any agreement under this section shall be approved by the circuit court and incorporated into the final order of adoption.

C. The circuit court shall not require execution of a post-adoption contact and communication agreement as a condition for approving any adoption.

2010, c. 331.

§ 63.2-1220.4. Jurisdiction to approve post-adoption contact and communication agreements.

A. Unless otherwise stated in the final order of adoption, the circuit court of the jurisdiction in which the final order of adoption was entered shall retain jurisdiction to modify or enforce the terms of a post-adoption contact and communication agreement entered into pursuant to this article.

B. A birth parent or parents or adoptive parent or parents who have executed a post-adoption contact and communication agreement as described in this article may file a petition with the circuit court of the jurisdiction in which the final order of adoption was entered:

1. To modify the post-adoption contact and communication agreement; and

2. To compel a birth or adoptive parent to comply with the post-adoption contact and communication agreement. The court may not award monetary damages as a result of the filing of a petition for modification of or compliance with the agreement. The court may modify the agreement at any time before or after the adoption if the court, after notice and opportunity to be heard by the birth parent or parents and the adoptive parent or parents, determines that the child's best interest requires the modification of the agreement. Before the court modifies an agreement or hears a motion to compel compliance, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child's best interest.

C. The circuit court shall not grant a request to modify the terms of a post-adoption contact and communication agreement unless the moving party establishes that there has been a change of circumstances and the agreement is no longer in the child's best interest; provided, however, that no modification shall affect the irrevocability of the adoption.

2010, c. 331.

Article 2. Agency Adoptions.

§ 63.2-1221. Placement of children for adoption by agency or local board.

A licensed child-placing agency or local board may place for adoption, and is empowered to consent to the adoption of, any child who is properly committed or entrusted to its care, in accordance with the provisions of §§ 63.2-900, 63.2-903, 63.2-1817 or this section, when the order of commitment or the entrustment agreement between the birth parent(s) and the agency or board provides for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities with respect to the child for the purpose of placing and consenting to the adoption of such child.

The entrustment agreement shall divest the birth parent(s) of all legal rights and obligations with respect to the child, and the child shall be free from all legal obligations of obedience and maintenance with respect to them, provided that such rights and obligations may be restored to the birth parent(s) and the child by circuit court order prior to the entry of a final order of adoption upon proof of fraud or duress. An entrustment agreement for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities shall be executed in writing and notarized, and shall be revocable prior to entry of an order finalizing the agreement (i) upon proof of fraud or duress, or (ii) after the placement of the child in an adoptive home upon written mutual consent of the birth parents and prospective adoptive parents.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.2; 1990, c. 202; 1991, c. 364; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.28; 2002, c. 747; 2004, c. 815; 2009, c. 805.

§ 63.2-1222. Execution of entrustment agreement by birth parent(s); exceptions; notice and objection to entrustment; copy required to be furnished; requirement for agencies outside the Commonwealth.

A. For the purposes of this section, a birth parent who is less than 18 years of age shall be deemed fully competent and shall have legal capacity to execute a valid entrustment agreement, including an agreement that provides for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities, and perform all acts related to adoption and shall be as fully bound thereby as if such birth parent had attained the age of 18 years.

B. An entrustment agreement for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities with respect to the child shall be valid notwithstanding that it is not signed by the birth father of a child born out of wedlock if the identity of the birth father is not reasonably ascertainable or such birth father did not register with the Virginia Birth Father Registry pursuant to Article 7 (§ 63.2-1249 et seq.) or the birth father named by the birth mother denies under oath and in writing the paternity of the child. An affidavit signed by the birth mother stating that the identity of the birth father is unknown may be filed with the court alleging that the identity of the birth father is not known or reasonably ascertainable. A birth father shall be given notice of the entrustment if he is an acknowledged father pursuant to § 20-49.1, an adjudicated father pursuant to § 20-49.8, a presumed father pursuant to § 63.2-1202, or a putative father who has registered with the Virginia Birth Father Registry pursuant to Article 7 (§ 63.2-1249 et seq.). If the putative father's identity is reasonably ascertainable, he shall be given notice pursuant to the requirements of § 63.2-1250.

C. When a birth father is required to be given notice, he may be given notice of the entrustment by registered or certified mail to his last known address. If he fails to object to the entrustment within 15 days of the mailing of such notice, his entrustment shall not be required. An objection to an entrustment agreement shall be in writing, signed by the objecting party or counsel of record for the objecting party and filed with the agency that mailed the notice of entrustment within the time period specified in § 63.2-1223.

D. The execution of an entrustment agreement shall be required of a presumed father except under the following circumstances: (i) if he denies paternity under oath and in writing in accordance with § 63.2-1202; (ii) if the presumption is rebutted by sufficient evidence, satisfactory to the circuit court, which would establish by a preponderance of the evidence the paternity of another man or the impossibility or improbability of cohabitation of the birth mother and her husband for a period of at least 300 days preceding the birth of the child; (iii) if another man admits, in writing and under oath, that he is the biological father; or (iv) if an adoptive placement has been determined to be in the best interests of the child pursuant to § 63.2-1205.

E. When none of the provisions of subsections C and D apply, notice of the entrustment shall be given to the presumed father pursuant to the requirements of § 16.1-277.01.

F. An entrustment agreement for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities with respect to the child shall be valid notwithstanding that it is not signed by the birth father of a child when the birth father has been convicted of a violation of subsection A of § 18.2-61, § 18.2-63, subsection B of § 18.2-366, or an equivalent offense of another state, the United States, or any foreign jurisdiction, and the child was conceived as a result of such violation.

G. A birth father may execute an entrustment agreement for the termination of all of his parental rights prior to the birth of the child. Such entrustment shall be subject to the revocation provisions of § 63.2-1223.

H. No entrustment shall be required of a birth father if he denies under oath and in writing the paternity of the child. Such denial of paternity may be withdrawn no more than 10 days after it is executed. Once the child is 10 days old, any executed denial of paternity is final and constitutes a waiver of all rights with respect to the adoption of the child and cannot be withdrawn.

I. A copy of the entrustment agreement shall be furnished to all parties signing such agreement.

J. When any agency outside the Commonwealth, or its agent, that is licensed or otherwise duly authorized to place children for adoption by virtue of the laws under which it operates executes an entrustment agreement in the Commonwealth with a birth parent for the termination of all parental rights and responsibilities with respect to the child, the requirements of §§ 63.2-1221 through 63.2-1224 shall apply. The birth parent may expressly waive, under oath and in writing, the execution of the entrustment under the requirements of §§ 63.2-1221 through 63.2-1224 in favor of the execution of an entrustment or relinquishment under the laws of another state if the birth parent is represented by independent legal counsel. Such written waiver shall expressly state that the birth parent has received independent legal counsel advising of the laws of Virginia and of the other state and that Virginia law is expressly being waived. The waiver also shall include the name, address, and telephone number of such legal counsel. Any entrustment agreement that fails to comply with such requirements shall be void.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.2; 1990, c. 202; 1991, c. 364; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.29; 2002, c. 747; 2004, c. 815; 2005, c. 890; 2006, cc. 825, 848; 2007, cc. 606, 623; 2009, c. 805; 2012, c. 424; 2017, c. 200.

§ 63.2-1223. Revocation of entrustment agreement.

A valid entrustment agreement terminating all parental rights and responsibilities to the child shall be revocable by either of the birth parents until (i) the child has reached the age of 10 days and (ii) seven days have elapsed from the date of execution of the agreement. In addition, a valid entrustment agreement shall be revocable by either of the birth parents if the child has not been placed in the physical custody of the prospective adoptive parents at the time of such revocation. Revocation of an entrustment agreement shall be in writing and signed by the revoking party. The written revocation shall be delivered to the child-placing agency or local board to which the child was originally entrusted. Delivery of the written revocation shall be made during the business day of the child-placing agency or local board to which the child was originally entrusted, in accordance with the applicable time period set out in this section. If the revocation period expires on a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday or any day on which the agency or local board is officially closed, the revocation period shall be extended to the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday or other day on which the agency or local board is officially closed. Upon revocation of the entrustment agreement, the child shall be returned to the parent revoking the agreement.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.2; 1990, c. 202; 1991, c. 364; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.30; 2002, c. 747; 2006, cc. 825, 848; 2007, cc. 606, 623.

§ 63.2-1224. Explanation of process, legal effects of adoption required.

Prior to the placement of a child for adoption, the licensed child-placing agency or local board having custody of the child shall provide an explanation of the adoption process to the birth mother and, if reasonably available, the man who is an acknowledged father pursuant to § 20-49.1, an adjudicated father pursuant to § 20-49.8, a presumed father pursuant to § 63.2-1202, or a putative father who has registered with the Virginia Birth Father Registry pursuant to Article 7 (§ 63.2-1249 et seq.) of this chapter.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.2; 1990, c. 202; 1991, c. 364; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.31; 2002, c. 747; 2010, c. 855; 2017, c. 200.

§ 63.2-1225. Determination of appropriate home.

A. In determining the appropriate home in which to place a child for adoption, a married couple or an unmarried individual shall be eligible to receive placement of a child for purposes of adoption. Prior to or after the acceptance of custody of a child placed for adoption, a licensed child-placing agency or a local board shall consider the recommendations of the birth parent(s), a physician or attorney licensed in the Commonwealth, or a clergyman who is familiar with the situation of the prospective adoptive parent(s) or the child. No birth parent, physician, attorney or clergyman shall advertise that he is available to make recommendations, nor shall he charge any fee for such recommendations to a board or agency, except that an attorney may charge for legal fees and services rendered in connection with such placement.

B. The agency or local board may give consideration to placement of the child with the recommended adoptive parent(s) if the agency or local board finds that such placement is in the best interest of the child. When the birth parent(s) has recommended such placement, the agency or local board shall provide the birth parent(s) the opportunity to be represented by independent legal counsel as well as the opportunity for counseling with a social worker, family-services specialist, or other qualified equivalent worker. The agency or board also shall advise the prospective adoptive parent(s) of the right to be represented by independent legal counsel. The parties may, but are not required to, exchange identifying information as provided for in subdivision A 3 of § 63.2-1232.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.2; 1990, c. 202; 1991, c. 364; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.32; 2002, c. 747; 2003, c. 779; 2006, cc. 654, 825; 2009, c. 805; 2014, c. 285.

§ 63.2-1226. When birth parents recommend adoptive parents.

When a licensed child-placing agency or a local board is requested to accept custody of a child for the purpose of placing the child with adoptive parent(s) recommended by the birth parent(s) or a person other than a licensed child-placing agency or local board, either the parental placement adoption provisions or the agency adoption provisions of this chapter shall apply to such placement at the election of the birth parent(s). Such agency or local board shall provide information to the birth parent(s) regarding the parental placement adoption and agency adoption provisions and shall provide the birth parent the opportunity to be represented by independent legal counsel as well as counseling with a social worker, family-services specialist, or other qualified equivalent worker. No person shall charge, pay, give, or agree to give or accept any money, property, services, or other thing of value in connection with such adoption except as provided in § 63.2-1218.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.2; 1990, c. 202; 1991, c. 364; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.33; 2002, c. 747; 2006, cc. 654, 825; 2007, cc. 606, 623; 2014, c. 285.

§ 63.2-1227. Filing of petition for agency adoption.

A petition for the adoption of a child placed in the physical custody of the petitioners by a child-placing agency shall be filed in the name by which the child will be known after adoption, provided the name is followed by the registration number of the child's original birth certificate and the state or country in which the registration occurred unless it is verified by the registrar of vital statistics of the state or country of birth that such information is not available. In the case of a child born in another country, an affidavit by a representative of the child-placing agency that a birth certificate number is not available may be substituted for verification by a registrar of vital statistics for that country. The report of investigation required by § 63.2-1208 and, when applicable, the report required by § 63.2-1212 shall be identified with the child's name as it appears on the birth certificate, the birth registration number and the name by which the child is to be known after the final order of adoption is entered. The petition for adoption shall not state the birth name of the child or identify the birth parents unless it is specifically stated in the agency's consent that the parties have exchanged identifying information.

A single petition for adoption under the provisions of this section shall be sufficient for the concurrent adoption by the same petitioners of two or more children who have the same birth parent or parents, and nothing in this section shall be construed as having heretofore required a separate petition for each of such children.

Code 1950, § 63-348; 1952, c. 550; 1954, c. 489; 1956, c. 300; 1964, c. 459; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-221; 1970, c. 672; 1973, c. 406; 1975, c. 461; 1978, c. 730; 1983, c. 614; 1988, c. 882; 1989, c. 647; 1991, cc. 76, 602; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.34; 2002, c. 747; 2006, cc. 825, 848.

§ 63.2-1228. Forwarding of petition.

Upon the filing of the petition, the circuit court shall, upon being satisfied as to proper jurisdiction and venue, immediately enter an order referring the case to a child-placing agency to conduct an investigation and prepare a report pursuant to § 63.2-1208. Upon entry of the order of reference, the court shall forward a copy of the petition and all exhibits thereto to the Commissioner and to the agency that placed the child. In cases where the child was placed by an agency in another state, or by an agency, court, or other entity in another country, the petition and all exhibits shall be forwarded to the local director or licensed child-placing agency, whichever agency completed the home study or provided supervision. If no Virginia agency provided such services, or such agency is no longer licensed or has gone out of business, the petition and all exhibits shall be forwarded to the local director of the locality where the petitioners reside or resided at the time of filing the petition, or had legal residence at the time of the filing of the petition.

Code 1950, § 63-349; 1954, c. 489; 1956, c. 489; 1956, c. 187; 1962, c. 603; 1964, c. 429; 1968, cc. 346, 578, § 63.1-223; 1974, cc. 26, 493, 507; 1975, c. 364; 1978, c. 730; 1980, c. 740; 1982, c. 115; 1988, cc. 579, 599, 882; 1989, c. 647; 1992, c. 607; 1993, c. 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.35; 2002, c. 747; 2006, cc. 825, 848.

§ 63.2-1228.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2010, c. 331, cl. 2.

§ 63.2-1229. Foster parent adoption.

When a foster parent who has a child placed in the foster parents' home by a licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency desires to adopt the child and (i) the child-placing agency holding custody of the child consents to the adoption after the child has resided in the home of such foster parent continuously for at least six months or the child-placing agency holding custody of the child does not consent to the adoption and the child has resided in the home of such foster parent continuously for at least 18 months and (ii) the birth parents' rights to the child have been terminated, the circuit court shall accept the petition filed by the foster parent and shall order a thorough investigation of the matter to be made pursuant to § 63.2-1208. The circuit court may refer the matter for investigation to a licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency other than the agency holding custody of the child. Upon completion of the investigation and report and filing of the consent of the agency holding custody of the child, or upon the finding contemplated by § 63.2-1205, the circuit court may enter a final order of adoption waiving visitation requirements, if the circuit court determines that the adoption is in the best interests of the child.

Code 1950, § 63-348; 1952, c. 550; 1954, c. 489; 1956, c. 300; 1964, c. 459; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-221; 1970, c. 672; 1973, c. 406; 1975, c. 461; 1978, c. 730; 1983, c. 614; 1988, c. 882; 1989, c. 647; 1991, cc. 76, 602; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.36; 2002, c. 747; 2007, cc. 606, 623; 2018, c. 94.

Article 3. Parental Placement Adoptions.

§ 63.2-1230. Placement of children by parent or guardian.

The birth parent, legal guardian, or adoptive parent of a child may place his child for adoption directly with the adoptive parents of his choice. Consent to the proposed adoption shall be executed upon compliance with the provisions of this chapter before a juvenile and domestic relations district court or, if the birth parent or legal guardian does not reside in Virginia, before a court having jurisdiction over child custody matters in the jurisdiction where the birth parent or legal guardian resides when requested by a juvenile and domestic relations district court of this Commonwealth, pursuant to § 20-146.11. Consent proceedings shall be advanced on the juvenile and domestic relations district court docket so as to be heard by the court within ten days of filing of the petition, or as soon thereafter as practicable so as to provide the earliest possible disposition.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.3; 1991, cc. 364, 602; 1992, c. 125; 1993, cc. 338, 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.37; 2001, c. 305; 2002, c. 747; 2009, c. 805.

§ 63.2-1231. Home study; meeting required; exception.

A. Prior to the consent hearing in the juvenile and domestic relations district court, a home study of the adoptive parent(s) shall be completed by a licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency and the prospective adoptive parents shall be informed that information about shaken baby syndrome, its effects, and resources for help and support for caretakers is available on a website maintained by the Department in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board. Home studies by local boards shall be conducted in accordance with the Mutual Family Assessment home study template and any addenda thereto developed by the Department. All home studies conducted pursuant to this section, whether by a local board or a child-placing agency, shall make inquiry as to (i) whether the prospective adoptive parents are financially able, morally suitable, and in satisfactory physical and mental health to enable them to care for the child; (ii) the physical and mental condition of the child, if known; (iii) the circumstances under which the child came to live, or will be living, in the home of the prospective adoptive family, as applicable; (iv) what fees have been paid by the prospective adoptive family or in their behalf in the placement and adoption of the child; (v) whether the requirements of subdivisions A 1, A 2, A 3, and A 5 of § 63.2-1232 have been met; and (vi) any other matters specified by the circuit court. In the course of the home study, the agency social worker, family-services specialist, or other qualified equivalent worker shall meet at least once with the birth parent(s) and at least once with the prospective adoptive parents. Upon agreement of both parties, such meetings may occur simultaneously or separately.

B. Any home study conducted pursuant to this section for the purpose of parental placement or agency placement shall be valid for a period of 36 months from the date of completion of the study. However, the Board may, by regulation, require an additional state criminal background check before finalizing an adoption if more than 18 months have passed from the completion of the home study.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.3; 1991, cc. 364, 602; 1992, c. 125; 1993, cc. 338, 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.38; 2002, c. 747; 2006, cc. 825, 848; 2007, c. 808; 2008, c. 494; 2010, c. 551; 2014, c. 285; 2017, c. 193.

§ 63.2-1232. Requirements of a parental placement adoption; exception.

A. The juvenile and domestic relations district court shall not accept consent until it determines that:

1. The birth parent(s) are aware of alternatives to adoption, adoption procedures, and opportunities for placement with other adoptive families, and that the birth parents' consent is informed and uncoerced.

2. A licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency has counseled the prospective adoptive parents with regard to alternatives to adoption, adoption procedures, including the need to address the parental rights of birth parents, the procedures for terminating such rights, and opportunities for adoption of other children; that the prospective adoptive parents' decision is informed and uncoerced; and that they intend to file an adoption petition and proceed toward a final order of adoption.

3. The birth parent(s) and adoptive parents have exchanged identifying information including but not limited to full names, addresses, physical, mental, social and psychological information and any other information necessary to promote the welfare of the child, unless both parties agree in writing to waive the disclosure of full names and addresses.

4. Any financial agreement or exchange of property among the parties and any fees charged or paid for services related to the placement or adoption of the child have been disclosed to the court and that all parties understand that no binding contract regarding placement or adoption of the child exists.

5. There has been no violation of the provisions of § 63.2-1218 in connection with the placement; however, if it appears there has been such violation, the court shall not reject consent of the birth parent to the adoption for that reason alone but shall report the alleged violation as required by § 63.2-1219.

6. A licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency has conducted a home study of the prospective adoptive home in accordance with regulations established by the Board and, in the case of home studies by local boards, in accordance with the Mutual Family Assessment home study template and any addenda thereto developed by the Department, and has provided to the court a report of such home study, which shall contain the agency's recommendation regarding the suitability of the placement. A married couple or an unmarried individual shall be eligible to receive placement of a child for adoption.

7. The birth parent(s) have been informed of their opportunity to be represented by legal counsel.

B. The juvenile and domestic relations district court shall not accept the consent if the requirements of subsection A have not been met. In such cases, it shall refer the birth parent to a licensed or duly authorized child-placing agency for investigation and recommendation in accordance with §§ 63.2-1208 and 63.2-1238. If the juvenile and domestic relations district court determines that any of the parties is financially unable to obtain the required services, it shall refer the matter to the local director.

C. In cases in which a birth parent who resides in the Commonwealth places his child for adoption with adoptive parents in another state and the laws of that receiving state govern the proceeding for adoption, the birth parent may elect to waive the execution of consent pursuant to § 63.2-1233 and instead execute consent to the adoption pursuant to the laws of the receiving state. Any waiver of consent made pursuant to this subsection shall be made under oath and in writing, and shall expressly state that the birth parent has received independent legal counsel from an attorney licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia advising him of the laws of the Commonwealth, the laws of the receiving state pursuant to which he elects to consent to the adoption, and the effects of his waiver of consent pursuant to § 63.2-1233 and election to consent pursuant to the laws of the receiving state. Any waiver of consent and election to consent pursuant to the laws of a receiving state shall include the name, address, and telephone number of such legal counsel. Failure to comply with this section shall render a waiver of consent pursuant to § 63.2-1233 and election to consent pursuant to the laws of the receiving state as authorized by this subsection invalid.

D. When consent to a parental placement adoption is sought pursuant to this article and the prospective adoptive parent(s) have had continuous physical and legal custody of the child for five or more years, the juvenile and domestic relations district court may, in its discretion, accept consent without (i) a home study as required by subsection A of § 63.2-1231 and subdivision A 6 of this section and (ii) the meeting and counseling requirements, as they relate to the prospective adoptive parent(s), listed in subsection A of § 63.2-1231 and subdivision A 2 of this section. All other provisions of the parental placement adoption statutes shall apply.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.3; 1991, cc. 364, 602; 1992, c. 125; 1993, cc. 338, 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.39; 2002, c. 747; 2006, cc. 654, 825, 848; 2010, c. 276; 2015, c. 529; 2017, c. 193.

§ 63.2-1233. Consent to be executed in juvenile and domestic relations district court; exceptions.

When the juvenile and domestic relations district court is satisfied that all requirements of § 63.2-1232 have been met with respect to at least one birth parent and the adoptive child is at least in the third calendar day of life, that birth parent or both birth parents, as the case may be, shall execute consent to the proposed adoption in compliance with the provisions of § 63.2-1202 while before the juvenile and domestic relations district court in person and in the presence of the prospective adoptive parents. The juvenile and domestic relations district court shall accept the consent of the birth parent(s) and transfer custody of the child to the prospective adoptive parents, pending notification to any nonconsenting birth parent, as described hereinafter.

1. a. The execution of consent before the juvenile and domestic relations district court shall not be required of a birth father if the birth father consents under oath and in writing to the adoption.

b. The consent of a birth father who is not married to the mother of the child at the time of the child's conception or birth shall not be required if the putative father named by the birth mother denies under oath and in writing the paternity of the child or if the putative father did not register with the Virginia Birth Father Registry pursuant to Article 7 (§ 63.2-1249 et seq.) of this chapter. If the identity of the birth father is reasonably ascertainable, but the whereabouts of the birth father are not reasonably ascertainable, verification of compliance with the Virginia Birth Father Registry shall be provided to the court.

c. When a birth father is required to be given notice, he may be given notice of the adoption by registered or certified mail to his last known address and if he fails to object to the adoption within 15 days of the mailing of such notice, his consent shall not be required. An objection shall be in writing, signed by the objecting party or counsel of record for the objecting party and shall be filed with the clerk of the juvenile and domestic relations district court in which the petition was filed during the business day of the court, within the time period specified in this section. When no timely objection is filed, no hearing on this issue is required. Failure of the objecting party to appear at any scheduled hearing, either in person or by counsel, shall constitute a waiver of such objection.

d. The juvenile and domestic relations district court may accept the written consent of the birth father at the time of the child's conception or birth, provided that his identifying information required in § 63.2-1232 is filed in writing with the juvenile and domestic relations district court of jurisdiction. Such consent shall advise the birth father of his opportunity for legal representation, shall identify the court in which the case was or is intended to be filed, and shall be presented to the juvenile and domestic relations district court for acceptance. The consent may waive further notice of the adoption proceedings and shall contain the name, address and telephone number of the birth father's legal counsel or an acknowledgment that he was informed of his opportunity to be represented by legal counsel and declined such representation. For good cause shown, the court may dispense with the requirements regarding the filing of the birth father's identifying information pursuant to this subdivision 1. d.

e. In the event that the birth mother's consent is not executed in the juvenile and domestic relations district court, the consent of the birth father shall be executed in the juvenile and domestic relations district court.

f. A child born to a married birth mother shall be presumed to be the child of her husband and his consent shall be required, unless the court finds that the father's consent is withheld contrary to the best interests of the child as provided in § 63.2-1205 or if his consent is unobtainable. The consent of such presumed father shall be under oath and in writing and may be executed in or out of court. The presumption that the husband is the father of the child may be rebutted by sufficient evidence, satisfactory to the juvenile and domestic relations district court, which would establish by a preponderance of the evidence the paternity of another man or the impossibility or improbability of cohabitation of the birth mother and her husband for a period of at least 300 days preceding the birth of the child, in which case the husband's consent shall not be required. The executed denial of paternity by the putative father shall be sufficient to rebut the presumption that he is the father of the child. If the court is satisfied that the presumption has been rebutted, notice of the adoption shall not be required to be given to the presumed father.

2. After the application of the provisions of subdivision 1, if a birth parent is entitled to a hearing, the birth parent shall be given notice of the date and location of the hearing and be given the opportunity to appear before the juvenile and domestic relations district court. Such hearing may occur subsequent to the proceeding wherein the consenting birth parent appeared but may not be held until 15 days after personal service of notice on the nonconsenting birth parent, or if personal service is unobtainable, 10 days after the completion of the execution of an order of publication against such birth parent. The juvenile and domestic relations district court may appoint counsel for the birth parent(s). If the juvenile and domestic relations district court finds that consent is withheld contrary to the best interests of the child, as set forth in § 63.2-1205, or is unobtainable, it may grant the petition without such consent and enter an order waiving the requirement of consent of the nonconsenting birth parent and transferring custody of the child to the prospective adoptive parents. No further consent or notice shall be required of a birth parent who fails to appear at any scheduled hearing, either in person or by counsel. If the juvenile and domestic relations district court denies the petition, the juvenile and domestic relations district court shall order that any consent given for the purpose of such placement shall be void and, if necessary, the court shall determine custody of the child as between the birth parents.

3. Except as provided in subdivisions 4 and 5, if consent cannot be obtained from at least one birth parent, the juvenile and domestic relations district court shall deny the petition and determine custody of the child pursuant to § 16.1-278.2.

4. If a child has been under the physical care and custody of the prospective adoptive parents and if both birth parents have failed, without good cause, to appear at a hearing to execute consent under this section for which they were given proper notice pursuant to § 16.1-264, the juvenile and domestic relations district court may grant the petition without the consent of either birth parent and enter an order waiving consent and transferring custody of the child to the prospective adoptive parents. Prior to the entry of such an order, the juvenile and domestic relations district court may appoint legal counsel for the birth parents and shall find by clear and convincing evidence (i) that the birth parents were given proper notice of the hearing(s) to execute consent and of the hearing to proceed without their consent; (ii) that the birth parents failed to show good cause for their failure to appear at such hearing(s); and (iii) that pursuant to § 63.2-1205, the consent of the birth parents is withheld contrary to the best interests of the child or is unobtainable. Under this subdivision, the court or the parties may waive the requirement of the simultaneous meeting under § 63.2-1231 and the requirements of subdivisions A 1, A 3, and A 7 of § 63.2-1232 where the opportunity for compliance is not reasonably available under the applicable circumstances.

5. If both birth parents are deceased, the juvenile and domestic relations district court, after hearing evidence to that effect, may grant the petition without the filing of any consent.

6. No consent shall be required from the birth father of a child placed pursuant to this section when such father is convicted of a violation of subsection A of § 18.2-61, § 18.2-63, subsection B of § 18.2-366, or an equivalent offense of another state, the United States, or any foreign jurisdiction, and the child was conceived as a result of such violation, nor shall the birth father be entitled to notice of any of the proceedings under this section.

7. No consent shall be required of a birth father if he denies under oath and in writing the paternity of the child. Such denial of paternity may be withdrawn no more than 10 days after it is executed. Once the child is 10 days old, any executed denial of paternity is final and constitutes a waiver of all rights with the respect to the adoption of the child and cannot be withdrawn.

8. A birth father may consent to the adoption prior to the birth of the child.

9. The juvenile and domestic relations district court shall review each order entered under this section at least annually until such time as the final order of adoption is entered.

10. When there has been an interstate transfer of the child in a parental placement adoption in compliance with Chapter 10 (§ 63.2-1000 et seq.) of this title, all matters relating to the adoption of the child including, but not limited to, custody and parentage shall be determined in the court of appropriate jurisdiction in the state that was approved for finalization of the adoption by the interstate compact authorities.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.3; 1991, cc. 364, 602; 1992, c. 125; 1993, cc. 338, 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.40; 2002, c. 747; 2005, c. 890; 2006, cc. 825, 848; 2007, cc. 606, 623; 2009, c. 805; 2017, c. 200.

§ 63.2-1234. When consent is revocable.

Consent shall be revocable as follows:

1. By either consenting birth parent for any reason for up to seven days from its execution; however, such seven-day revocation period may be waived in writing at the time of consent provided that the child is at least 10 days old and the consenting birth parent acknowledges having received independent legal counsel regarding the effect of such waiver. In the case of two consenting birth parents, the waiver by one consenting birth parent shall not affect the right of the second consenting birth parent to retain his seven-day revocation period.

a. Such revocation shall be in writing, signed by the revoking party or counsel of record for the revoking party and shall be filed with the clerk of the juvenile and domestic relations district court in which the petition was filed during the business day of the juvenile and domestic relations district court, within the time period specified in this section. If the revocation period expires on a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday or any day on which the clerk's office is closed as authorized by statute, the revocation period shall be extended to the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday or other day on which the clerk's office is closed as authorized by statute.

b. Upon the filing of a valid revocation within the time period set out in this section, the juvenile and domestic relations district court shall order that any consent given for the purpose of such placement is void and, if necessary, the juvenile and domestic relations district court shall determine custody of the child as between the birth parents.

2. By any party prior to the final order of adoption (i) upon proof of fraud or duress or (ii) after placement of the child in an adoptive home, upon written, mutual consent of the birth parents and prospective adoptive parents.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.3; 1991, cc. 364, 602; 1992, c. 125; 1993, cc. 338, 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.41; 2002, c. 747; 2006, cc. 825, 848; 2008, c. 662.

§ 63.2-1235. Adoptive home not in child's best interests.

If the juvenile and domestic relations district court determines from the information provided to it that placement in the prospective adoptive home will be contrary to the best interests of the child, it shall so inform the birth parents. If the birth parents choose not to retain custody of the child nor to designate other prospective adoptive parents, or if the birth parents' whereabouts are not reasonably ascertainable, the juvenile and domestic relations district court shall determine custody of the child.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.3; 1991, cc. 364, 602; 1992, c. 125; 1993, cc. 338, 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.42; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1236. Duty of Department to disseminate information.

The Department shall develop and disseminate information to the public regarding the provisions of parental placement adoptions, including the desirability of initiating the procedures required by § 63.2-1232 as early in the placement and adoption process as possible to ensure that birth parents are aware of the provisions of this law and begin required procedures in a timely manner.

1989, c. 647, § 63.1-220.3; 1991, cc. 364, 602; 1992, c. 125; 1993, cc. 338, 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 1999, c. 1028; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.43; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1237. Petition for parental placement adoption; jurisdiction; contents.

Proceedings for the parental placement adoption of a minor child and for a change of name of such child shall be instituted only by petition to the circuit court in the county or city in which the petitioner resides or in the county or city where a birth parent has executed a consent pursuant to § 63.2-1233. Such petition may be filed by any natural person who resides in the Commonwealth or is the adopting parent(s) of a child who was subject to a consent proceeding held pursuant to § 63.2-1233. The petition shall ask leave to adopt a minor child not legally the petitioner's by birth and, if it is so desired by the petitioner, also to change the name of such child. In the case of married persons, the petition shall be the joint petition of the husband and wife but, in the event the child to be adopted is legally the child by birth or adoption of one of the petitioners, such petitioner shall unite in the petition for the purpose of indicating his or her consent to the prayer thereof only. The petition shall contain a full disclosure of the circumstances under which the child came to live, and is living, in the home of the petitioner. Each petition for adoption shall be signed by the petitioner as well as by counsel of record, if any. In any case in which the petition seeks the entry of an adoption order without referral for investigation, the petition shall be under oath.

The petition shall state that the findings required by § 63.2-1232 have been made and shall be accompanied by appropriate documentation supporting such statement, to include copies of documents executing consent and transferring custody of the child to the prospective adoptive parents, and a copy of the report required by § 63.2-1231. The court shall not waive any of the requirements of this paragraph nor any of the requirements of § 63.2-1232 except as allowed pursuant to subsection D of § 63.2-1232 or subdivision 4 of § 63.2-1233.

A single petition for adoption under the provisions of this section shall be sufficient for the concurrent adoption by the same petitioners of two or more children who have the same birth parent or parents; and nothing in this section shall be construed as having heretofore required a separate petition for each of such children.

Code 1950, § 63-348; 1952, c. 550; 1954, c. 489; 1956, c. 300; 1964, c. 459; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-221; 1970, c. 672; 1973, c. 406; 1975, c. 461; 1978, c. 730; 1983, c. 614; 1988, c. 882; 1989, c. 647; 1991, cc. 76, 602; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.44; 2002, c. 747; 2006, cc. 825, 848; 2015, c. 529.

§ 63.2-1238. Forwarding of petition; when investigation and report not required.

A. Upon the filing of the petition, the circuit court shall forward a copy of the petition and all exhibits thereto to the Commissioner and to the local director where the petitioners reside or resided at the time of filing the petition, or had legal residence at the time of the filing of the petition. However, in cases where a licensed child-placing agency has completed a home study, the petition and all exhibits shall be forwarded to the licensed child-placing agency.

B. In parental placement adoptions where consent has been properly executed, no investigation and report pursuant to § 63.2-1208 is required. However, the circuit court may order a thorough investigation of the matter and report in which case the provisions of § 63.2-1208 shall apply.

Code 1950, § 63-349; 1954, c. 489; 1956, c. 489; 1956, c. 187; 1962, c. 603; 1964, c. 429; 1968, cc. 346, 578, § 63.1-223; 1974, cc. 26, 493, 507; 1975, c. 364; 1978, c. 730; 1980, c. 740; 1982, c. 115; 1988, cc. 579, 599, 882; 1989, c. 647; 1992, c. 607; 1993, c. 553; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.45; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1239. Return of copies furnished to counsel.

Any copy of the report required by § 63.2-1208 to be furnished to counsel of record representing the adopting parent or parents shall, upon the entry of a final order of adoption, or other final disposition of the matter, be returned by such counsel, without having been duplicated, to the clerk of the circuit court in which final disposition of the matter is had, to be disposed of as is required by § 63.2-1246 for the return of the original report.

Code 1950, § 63-350; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-224; 1974, c. 26; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.46; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1240. Court issuing order deemed sending agency under Interstate Compact on Placement of Children.

When a petitioner moves outside the Commonwealth after the entry of an interlocutory order of adoption but prior to the entry of a final order of adoption and the child was not placed by a child-placing agency, the circuit court issuing the interlocutory order shall be deemed the sending agency for the purposes of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children authorized pursuant to the provisions of § 63.2-1000.

1978, c. 733, § 63.1-226.1; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.47; 2002, c. 747.

Article 4. Stepparent Adoption.

§ 63.2-1241. Adoption of child by spouse of birth or adoptive parent.

A. In cases in which the spouse of a birth parent or parent by adoption who is not the birth parent of a child wishes to adopt the child, the birth parent and his spouse may file a petition for adoption in the circuit court of the county or city where the birth parent and his spouse reside or the county or city where the child resides. The petition shall be the joint petition of the birth parent and his spouse but the birth parent shall unite in the petition for the purpose of indicating consent to the prayer thereof only. The petition shall also state whether the petitioners seek to change the name of the child.

B. The court may order the proposed adoption and change of name without referring the matter to the local director if (i) the birth parent or parent by adoption, other than the birth parent or parent by adoption joining in the petition for adoption, is deceased; (ii) the birth parent or parent by adoption, other than the birth parent or parent by adoption joining in the petition for adoption, consents to the adoption in writing and under oath; (iii) the acknowledged, adjudicated, presumed, or putative father denies paternity of the child; (iv) the birth mother swears under oath and in writing that the identity of the father is not reasonably ascertainable; (v) the child is the result of surrogacy and the birth parent, other than the birth parent joining in the petition, consents to the adoption in writing; (vi) the parent by adoption joining in the petition was not married at the time the child was adopted; or (vii) the child is 14 years of age or older and has lived in the home of the person desiring to adopt the child for at least five years. However, if the court in its discretion determines that there should be an investigation before a final order of adoption is entered, the court shall refer the matter to the local director for an investigation and report to be completed within such time as the circuit court designates. If an investigation is ordered, the circuit court shall forward a copy of the petition and all exhibits thereto to the local director and the provisions of § 63.2-1208 shall apply.

C. If an acknowledged, adjudicated, presumed, or putative birth parent or parent by adoption of a child refuses to consent to the adoption of a child by the spouse of the other birth parent or parent by adoption of the child, the court shall determine whether consent to the adoption is withheld contrary to the best interests of the child. If the court determines that consent to the adoption is withheld contrary to the best interests of the child, the court may order the adoption and change of name without referring the matter to the local director. However, if the court in its discretion determines that there should be an investigation before a final order of adoption is entered, the circuit court shall refer the matter to the local director for an investigation and report to be completed within such time as the circuit court designates. The order of reference may include a requirement that the local director investigate factors relevant to determining whether consent of a birth parent is withheld contrary to the best interests of the child, including factors set forth in § 63.2-1205. If an investigation is ordered, the circuit court shall forward a copy of the petition and all exhibits thereto to the local director and the provisions of § 63.2-1208 shall apply.

D. In any case involving adoption of a child by a stepparent pursuant to this section, the court may waive appointment of a guardian ad litem for the child.

Code 1950, § 63-356.1; 1950, p. 626; 1956, c. 300; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-231; 1974, c. 421; 1975, c. 364; 1977, c. 526; 1979, c. 339; 1986, cc. 481, 482; 1987, c. 482; 1992, c. 607; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.48; 2002, c. 747; 2006, cc. 825, 848; 2007, cc. 606, 623; 2010, c. 306; 2012, c. 424.

§ 63.2-1242. (Effective until July 1, 2020) Investigation and report at discretion of circuit court.

For adoptions under this article, an investigation and report shall be undertaken only if the circuit court in its discretion determines that there should be an investigation before a final order of adoption is entered. In determining whether an investigation and report should be required, the circuit court shall consider the results of a national criminal history background check conducted on the prospective adoptive parent in accordance with the provisions of § 19.2-392.02, which shall be provided to the court by such prospective adoptive parent. If the circuit court determines that an investigation and report should be required, it shall refer the matter to the local director for an investigation and report to be completed within such time as the circuit court designates. If an investigation is ordered, the circuit court shall forward a copy of the petition and all exhibits thereto to the local director and the provisions of § 63.2-1208 shall apply.

Code 1950, § 63-356.1; 1950, p. 626; 1956, c. 300; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-231; 1974, c. 421; 1975, c. 364; 1977, c. 526; 1979, c. 339; 1986, cc. 481, 482; 1987, c. 482; 1992, c. 607; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.49; 2002, c. 747; 2018, c. 9.

§ 63.2-1242. (Effective July 1, 2020) Investigation and report at discretion of circuit court.

For adoptions under this article, an investigation and report shall be undertaken only if the circuit court in its discretion determines that there should be an investigation before a final order of adoption is entered. If the circuit court makes such a determination, it shall refer the matter to the local director for an investigation and report to be completed within such time as the circuit court designates. If an investigation is ordered, the circuit court shall forward a copy of the petition and all exhibits thereto to the local director and the provisions of § 63.2-1208 shall apply.

Code 1950, § 63-356.1; 1950, p. 626; 1956, c. 300; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-231; 1974, c. 421; 1975, c. 364; 1977, c. 526; 1979, c. 339; 1986, cc. 481, 482; 1987, c. 482; 1992, c. 607; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.49; 2002, c. 747.

Article 4.1. Close Relative Adoption.

§ 63.2-1242.1. Close relative adoption.

A. For the purposes of this chapter, a "close relative placement" shall be an adoption by the child's grandparent, great-grandparent, adult nephew or niece, adult brother or sister, adult uncle or aunt, or adult great uncle or great aunt.

B. In a close relative placement the court may accept the written and signed consent of the birth parent(s) that is signed under oath and acknowledged by an officer authorized by law to take such acknowledgements.

2006, cc. 825, 848.

§ 63.2-1242.2. Close relative adoption; child in home less than two years.

A. When the child has continuously resided in the home or has been in the continuous physical custody of the prospective adoptive parent(s) who is a close relative for less than two years, the adoption proceeding, including court approval of the home study, shall commence in the juvenile and domestic relations district court pursuant to the parental placement adoption provisions of this chapter with the following exceptions:

1. The birth parent(s)' consent does not have to be executed in juvenile and domestic relations district court in the presence of the prospective adoptive parents.

2. The simultaneous meeting specified in § 63.2-1231 is not required.

3. No hearing is required for this proceeding.

B. Upon the juvenile and domestic relations district court issuing an order accepting consents or otherwise dealing with birth parents rights and appointing the close relative(s) custodians of the child, the close relative(s) may file a petition in the circuit court as provided in Article 1 (§ 63.2-1200 et seq.) of this chapter.

C. For adoptions under this section:

1. An order of reference, an investigation and a report shall not be made if the home study report is filed with the circuit court unless the circuit court in its discretion requires an investigation and report to be made.

2. The circuit court may omit the probationary period and the interlocutory order and enter a final order of adoption when the court is of the opinion that the entry of an order would otherwise be proper.

3. If the circuit court determines that there is a need for an additional investigation, it shall refer the matter to the licensed child-placing agency that drafted the home study report for an investigation and report, which shall be completed within such times as the circuit court designates.

4. The circuit court may waive appointment of a guardian ad litem for the child.

2006, cc. 825, 848; 2010, c. 306; 2018, c. 4.

§ 63.2-1242.3. Close relative placement; child in home for two years or more.

When the child has continuously resided in the home or has been in the continuous physical custody of the prospective adoptive parent(s) who is a close relative for two or more years, the parental placement provisions of this chapter shall not apply and the adoption proceeding shall commence in the circuit court.

For adoptions under this section:

1. An order of reference, an investigation and a report shall not be made unless the circuit court in its discretion shall require an investigation and report to be made.

2. The circuit court may omit the probationary period and the interlocutory order and enter a final order of adoption when the court is of the opinion that the entry of an order would otherwise be proper.

3. If the circuit court determines the need for an investigation, it shall refer the matter to the local director of the department of social services for an investigation and report, which shall be completed in such time as the circuit court designates.

4. The circuit court may waive appointment of a guardian ad litem for the child.

2006, cc. 825, 848; 2010, c. 306; 2018, c. 4.

Article 5. Adult Adoption.

§ 63.2-1243. Adoption of certain persons eighteen years of age or over.

A petition may be filed in circuit court by any natural person who is a resident of this Commonwealth (i) for the adoption of a stepchild eighteen years of age or over to whom he has stood in loco parentis for a period of at least three months; (ii) for the adoption of a close relative, as defined in § 63.2-1242.1, eighteen years of age or older; (iii) for the adoption of any person eighteen years of age or older who is the birth child of the petitioner or who had resided in the home of the petitioner for a period of at least three months prior to becoming eighteen years of age; or (iv) for the adoption of any person eighteen years of age or older, for good cause shown, provided that the person to be adopted is at least fifteen years younger than the petitioner and the petitioner and the person to be adopted have known each other for at least one year prior to the filing of the petition for adoption. Proceedings in any such case shall conform as near as may be to proceedings for the adoption of a minor child under this chapter except that:

(a) No consent of either parent shall be required; and

(b) The consent of the person to be adopted shall be required in all cases.

Any interlocutory or final order issued in any case under this section shall have the same effect as other orders issued under this chapter; and in any such case the word "child" in any other section of this chapter shall be construed to refer to the person whose adoption is petitioned for under this section. The entry of a final order of adoption pursuant to this section which incorporates a change of name shall be deemed to meet the requirements of § 8.01-217.

The provisions of this section shall apply to any person who would have been eligible for adoption hereunder prior to July 1, 1972.

Code 1950, § 63-348.1; 1950, p. 441; 1954, c. 489; 1964, c. 139; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-222; 1972, c. 823; 1974, c. 337; 1979, c. 339; 1985, cc. 298, 300; 1988, c. 53; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.50; 2001, c. 236; 2002, c. 747; 2006, cc. 825, 848.

§ 63.2-1244. Investigation and report at discretion of circuit court; exception.

For adoptions under this article, an investigation and report shall not be made unless the circuit court in its discretion so requires. However, if a petition is filed for the adoption of any person eighteen years of age or older under clause (iv) of § 63.2-1243, the circuit court shall require an investigation and report to be made. If an investigation is required, the circuit court shall forward a copy of the petition and all exhibits to the local director and the provisions of § 63.2-1208 shall apply.

Code 1950, § 63-348.1; 1950, p. 441; 1954, c. 489; 1964, c. 139; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-222; 1972, c. 823; 1974, c. 337; 1979, c. 339; 1985, cc. 298, 300; 1988, c. 53; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.51; 2002, c. 747.

Article 6. Records.

§ 63.2-1245. Separate order book, file and index of adoption cases; to whom available; permanent retention.

Each circuit court clerk shall establish and maintain a separate and exclusive order book, file and index of adoption cases, none of which shall be exposed to public view but which shall be made available by such clerk to attorneys of record, social service officials, court officials, and to such other persons as the circuit court shall direct in specific cases by order of the circuit court entered in accordance with § 63.2-1246.

Such records shall be retained permanently in original form or on microfilm or converted to an electronic format in accordance with § 17.1-213. Such microfilm and microphotographic process and equipment shall meet state archival standards pursuant to § 42.1-82; such electronic format shall follow state electronic records guidelines; and such records shall be available for examination to those persons listed in this section. The clerk shall further provide security negative copies of any such microfilmed materials for storage in The Library of Virginia.

Code 1950, § 63-359.1; 1952, c. 420; 1968, cc. 35, 578, § 63.1-235; 1981, cc. 435, 637; 1994, c. 64; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.52; 2002, c. 747; 2013, c. 263.

§ 63.2-1246. Disposition of reports; disclosure of information as to identity of birth family.

Upon the entry of a final order of adoption, the clerk of the circuit court in which it was entered shall forthwith transmit to the Commissioner all orders and reports made in connection with the case, and the Commissioner shall preserve such orders and reports in a separate file pursuant to this section and § 63.2-1246.1. Except as provided in § 63.2-1246.1 and subsections C, D, and E of § 63.2-1247, nonidentifying information from such adoption file shall not be open to inspection, or be copied, by anyone other than the adopted person, if 18 years of age or over, or licensed or authorized child-placing agencies providing services to the child or the adoptive parents, except upon the order of a circuit court entered upon good cause shown. However, if the adoptive parents, or either of them, is living, the adopted person shall not be permitted to inspect the home study of the adoptive parents unless the Commissioner first obtains written permission to do so from such adoptive parent or parents.

No identifying information from such adoption file shall be disclosed, open to inspection, or made available to be copied except as provided in § 63.2-1246.1 and subsections A, B, and E of § 63.2-1247 or upon application of the adopted person, if 18 years of age or over, to the Commissioner, who shall designate the person or agency that made the investigation to attempt to locate and advise the birth family of the application. The designated person or agency shall report the results of the attempt to locate and advise the birth family to the Commissioner, including the relative effects that disclosure of the identifying information may have on the adopted person, the adoptive parents, and the birth family. The adopted person and the birth family may submit to the Commissioner, and the Commissioner shall consider, written comments stating the anticipated effect that the disclosure of identifying information may have upon any party. Upon a showing of good cause, the Commissioner shall disclose the identifying information. If the Commissioner fails to designate a person or agency to attempt to locate the birth family within 30 days of receipt of the application, or if the Commissioner denies disclosure of the identifying information after receiving the designated person's or agency's report, the adopted person may apply to the circuit court for an order to disclose such information. Such order shall be entered only upon good cause shown after notice to and opportunity for hearing by the applicant for such order and the person or agency that made the investigation. "Good cause" when used in this section shall mean a showing of a compelling and necessitous need for the identifying information.

An eligible adoptee who is a resident of Virginia may apply for the court order provided for herein to (i) the circuit court of the county or city where the adoptee resides or (ii) the circuit court of the county or city where the central office of the Department is located. An eligible adoptee who is not a resident of Virginia shall apply for such a court order to the circuit court of the county or city where the central office of the Department is located.

If the identity and whereabouts of the adoptive parents and the birth parents are known to the person or agency, the circuit court may require the person or agency to advise the adoptive parents and the birth parents of the pendency of the application for such order. In determining good cause for the disclosure of such information, the circuit court shall consider the relative effects of such action upon the adopted person, the adoptive parents and the birth parents. The adopted person and the birth family may submit to the circuit court, and the circuit court shall consider, written comments stating the anticipated effect that the disclosure of identifying information may have upon any party.

When consent of the birth parents is not obtainable, due to the death of the birth parents or mental incapacity of the birth parents, the Commissioner shall, upon application of the adult adopted person and a showing of good cause, disclose the identifying information to the adult adopted person. If the Commissioner denies disclosure of the identifying information, the adult adopted person may apply to the circuit court for an order to disclose such information and the circuit court may release identifying information to the adult adopted person. In making this decision, the circuit court shall consider the needs and concerns of the adopted person and the birth family if such information is available, the actions the agency took to locate the birth family, the information in the agency's report and the recommendation of the agency.

The Commissioner, person or agency may charge a reasonable fee to cover the costs of processing requests for nonidentifying information.

Upon entry of a final order of adoption, the child-placing agency or local board shall transmit to the Commissioner the adoption file in connection with the case, which shall be preserved by the Commissioner in accordance with this section and § 63.2-1246.1.

For purposes of this chapter, "adoption file" means records, orders, and other documents kept or created by the Commissioner, child-placing agency, or local board, beginning with the earliest of (i) an order terminating residual parental rights, (ii) an entrustment agreement, (iii) a home study or investigation conducted in preparation for adoption, or (iv) the filing of a petition for adoption, and ending with the final order of adoption. "Adoption file" also includes all records regarding applications for disclosure and post-adoption searches pursuant to this section and § 63.2-1247.

Code 1950, § 63-360; 1964, c. 429; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-236; 1970, c. 672; 1972, c. 823; 1976, c. 366; 1977, c. 556; 1978, cc. 256, 730; 1979, c. 43; 1988, c. 221; 1992, c. 607; 1993, c. 962; 1994, cc. 856, 942; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.53; 2002, c. 747; 2014, c. 127; 2018, c. 10.

§ 63.2-1246.1. Commissioner authority to store, preserve, and certify adoption files.

Upon receipt of all orders from the clerk of the circuit court and adoption files from the child-placing agency or local board, the Commissioner shall have the authority to direct the storage and preservation of such records. The Commissioner shall have custody of and retain all adoption files, whether in paper or electronic form, including reports, orders, and other documents with identifying information of birth parents and adoptees, in his office or at another location designated by the Commissioner.

The Commissioner or his designee may direct adoption files, in whole or in part, to be microfilmed, digitally reproduced, copied, photographed, or otherwise duplicated for the purpose of preserving and retaining such files. The Commissioner may allow adoption files to be taken from his office or other designated location for the purpose of being microfilmed, digitally reproduced, copied, photographed, or otherwise duplicated, but shall take all necessary and proper precautions, by requiring bonds or otherwise, to ensure the preservation and return and to prevent the mutilation thereof. The Commissioner or his designee shall examine and compare the reproductions from the microfilm, digitally reproduced, copied, photographed, or otherwise duplicated records with the originals and, if satisfied that the copies are exact, certify them as true copies of the records retained by the Commissioner. The same faith and credit shall be given to such reproductions from the microfilm, digitally reproduced, copied, photographed, or otherwise duplicated record as the record reproduced would have been entitled to.

2018, c. 10.

§ 63.2-1247. Disclosure to birth family; adoptive parents; medical, etc., information; exchange of information; open records in parental placement adoptions.

A. Where the adoption is finalized on or after July 1, 1994, and the adopted person is 21 years of age or over, the adopted person's birth parents and adult birth siblings may apply to the Commissioner for the disclosure of identifying information from the adoption file. The Commissioner shall designate the person or agency that made the investigation to attempt to locate and advise the adopted person of the application. The designated person or agency shall report the results of the attempt to locate and advise the adopted person to the Commissioner, including the relative effects that disclosure of the identifying information may have on the adopted person, the adoptive parents, and the birth family. The adopted person and the birth family may submit to the Commissioner, and the Commissioner shall consider, written comments stating the anticipated effect that the disclosure of identifying information may have upon any party. Upon a showing of good cause, the Commissioner shall disclose the identifying information. If the Commissioner fails to designate a person or agency to attempt to locate the adopted person within 30 days of receipt of the application, or if the Commissioner denies disclosure of the identifying information after receiving the designated person's or agency's report, the birth parents or adult birth siblings, whoever applied, may apply to the circuit court for an order to disclose such information. Such order shall be entered only upon good cause shown after notice to and opportunity for hearing by the applicant for such order and the person or agency that made the investigation. "Good cause" when used in this section shall mean a showing of a compelling and necessitous need for the identifying information.

A birth parent or adult birth sibling who is a resident of Virginia may apply for the court order provided for herein to (i) the circuit court of the county or city where the birth parent or adult birth sibling resides or (ii) the circuit court of the county or city where the central office of the Department is located. A birth parent or adult birth sibling who is not a resident of Virginia shall apply for such a court order to the circuit court of the county or city where the central office of the Department is located.

If the identity and whereabouts of the adopted person and adoptive parents are known to the person or agency, the circuit court may require the person or agency to advise the adopted person and adoptive parents of the pendency of the application for such order. In determining good cause for the disclosure of such information, the circuit court shall consider the relative effects of such action upon the adopted person, the adoptive parents and the birth family. The adopted person and the birth family may submit to the circuit court, and the circuit court shall consider, written comments stating the anticipated effect that the disclosure of identifying information may have upon any party.

When consent of the adopted person is not obtainable, due to the death or mental incapacity of the adopted person, the circuit court may release identifying information to the birth parents or adult birth siblings. In making this decision, the circuit court shall consider the needs and concerns of the birth parents or adult birth siblings and the adoptive family if such information is available, the actions the agency took to locate the adopted person, the information in the agency's report and the recommendation of the agency.

B. Where the adoption is finalized on or after July 1, 1994, and the adopted person is under 18 years of age, the adoptive parents or other legal custodian of the child may apply to the Commissioner for the disclosure of identifying information about the birth family. The Commissioner shall designate the person or agency that made the investigation to attempt to locate and advise the birth family of the application. The designated person or agency shall report the results of the attempt to locate and advise the birth family to the Commissioner, including the relative effects that disclosure of the identifying information may have on the adopted person, the adoptive parents or other legal custodian, and the birth family. The adoptive parents, legal custodian and birth family may submit to the Commissioner, and the Commissioner shall consider, written comments stating the anticipated effect that the disclosure of identifying information may have upon any party. Upon a showing of good cause, the Commissioner shall disclose the identifying information. If the Commissioner fails to designate a person or agency to attempt to locate the birth family within 30 days of receipt of the application, or if the Commissioner denies disclosure of the identifying information after receiving the designated person's or agency's report, the adoptive parents or legal custodian, whoever applied, may apply to the circuit court for an order to disclose such information. Such order shall be entered only upon good cause shown after notice to and opportunity for hearing by the applicant for such order and the person or agency that made the investigation. "Good cause" when used in this section shall mean a showing of a compelling and necessitous need for the identifying information.

An adoptive parent or legal custodian who is a resident of Virginia may apply for the court order provided for herein to (i) the circuit court of the county or city where the adoptive parent or legal custodian resides or (ii) the circuit court of the county or city where the central office of the Department is located. An adoptive parent or legal custodian who is not a resident of Virginia shall apply for such a court order to the circuit court of the county or city where the central office of the Department is located.

If the identity and whereabouts of the birth parents are known to the person or agency, the circuit court may require the person or agency to advise the birth parents of the pendency of the application for such order. In determining good cause for the disclosure of such information, the circuit court shall consider the relative effects of such action upon the adopted person, the adoptive parents or legal custodian and the birth parents. The birth family may submit to the circuit court, and the circuit court shall consider, written comments stating the anticipated effect that the disclosure of identifying information may have upon any party.

When consent of the birth family is not obtainable, due to the death of the birth parents or mental incapacity of the birth parents, the circuit court may release identifying information to the adoptive parents or legal custodian. In making this decision, the circuit court shall consider the needs and concerns of the adoptive parents or legal custodian and the birth family if such information is available, the actions the agency took to locate the birth family, the information in the agency's report and the recommendation of the agency.

C. In any case where a physician or licensed mental health provider submits a written statement, in response to a request from the adult adoptee, adoptive parent, birth parent or adult birth siblings, indicating that it is critical that medical, psychological or genetic information be conveyed, and states clearly the reasons why this is necessary, the agency that made the investigation shall make an attempt to inform the adult adoptee, adoptive parents, birth parents or adult birth siblings, whichever is applicable, of the information. The Commissioner shall provide information from the adoption record to the searching agency if necessary to facilitate the search. Confidentiality of all parties shall be maintained by the agency.

D. In cases where at least one of the adoptive parents and one of the birth parents agree in writing, at the time of the adoption, to allow the agency involved in the adoption to exchange nonidentifying information and pictures, the agency may exchange this information with such adoptive parents and birth parents when the whereabouts of the adoptive parents and birth parents is known or readily accessible. Such agreement may be withdrawn by either party at any time or may be withdrawn by the adult adoptee.

E. In parental placement adoptions, where the consent to the adoption was executed on or after July 1, 1994, the entire adoption record shall be open to the adoptive parents, the adoptee who is 18 years of age or older, and a birth parent who executed a written consent to the adoption.

1994, cc. 856, 942, § 63.1-236.01; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.54; 2002, c. 747; 2018, c. 10.

§ 63.2-1248. Fees for home studies, investigations, visitations and reports.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 17.1-275, the circuit court with jurisdiction over any adoption matter, or the person, agency, or child-placing agency that attempts to locate the birth family pursuant to § 63.2-1246 or subsection B of § 63.2-1247, or that attempts to locate the adult adoptee pursuant to subsection A of § 63.2-1247, shall assess a fee against the petitioner, or applicant and, in the case of local departments, shall assess such fee in accordance with regulations and fee schedules established by the Board, for home studies, investigations, visits and reports provided by the appropriate local department, person, or agency pursuant to §§ 20-160, 63.2-1208, 63.2-1212, 63.2-1231, 63.2-1238 or § 63.2-1246. The Board shall adopt regulations and fee schedules, which shall include (i) standards for determining the petitioner's or applicant's ability to pay and (ii) a scale of fees based on the petitioner's or applicant's income and family size and the actual cost of the services provided. The fee charged shall not exceed the actual cost of the service. The fee shall be paid to the appropriate local department, person, or agency and a receipt therefor shall be provided to the circuit court, or to the Commissioner if pursuant to § 63.2-1246 or § 63.2-1247, prior to the acceptance of parental consent, entry of any final order, or release of identifying information by the Commissioner, and no court shall accept parental consent or enter any final order and the Commissioner shall not release any identifying information until proof of payment of such fees has been received.

1987, c. 5, § 63.1-236.1; 1989, c. 214; 1990, cc. 101, 297; 1991, c. 600; 1992, c. 607; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.55; 2002, c. 747.

Article 7. Virginia Birth Father Registry.

§ 63.2-1249. Establishment of Registry.

A. A Virginia Birth Father Registry is hereby established in the Department of Social Services.

B. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Virginia Birth Father Registry Fund, hereafter referred to as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All moneys collected under § 63.2-1201 shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund by shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purposes of administration of the Virginia Birth Father Registry. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Commissioner or his designee.

2006, c. 825; 2017, c. 200.

§ 63.2-1250. Registration; notice; form.

A. Any man who has engaged in sexual intercourse with a woman is deemed to be on legal notice that a child may be conceived and that the man is entitled to all legal rights and obligations resulting therefrom. Lack of knowledge of the pregnancy does not excuse failure to timely register with the Virginia Birth Father Registry.

B. A man who desires to be notified of a placement of a child by a local board pursuant to § 63.2-900, a proceeding for adoption, or a proceeding for termination of parental rights regarding a child that he may have fathered shall register with the Virginia Birth Father Registry.

C. Failure to timely register with the Virginia Birth Father Registry shall waive all rights of a man who is not acknowledged to be, presumed to be, or adjudicated the father to withhold consent to an adoption proceeding unless the man was led to believe through the birth mother's misrepresentation that (i) the pregnancy was terminated or the mother miscarried when in fact the baby was born or (ii) the child died when in fact the child is alive. Upon discovery of the misrepresentation, the man shall register with the Virginia Birth Father Registry within 10 days.

D. A man will not prejudice any rights by failing to register if:

1. A father-child relationship between the man and the child has been established pursuant to § 20-49.1, 20-49.8, or if the man is a presumed father as defined in § 63.2-1202; or

2. The man commences a proceeding to adjudicate his paternity before a petition to accept consent or waive adoption consent is filed in the juvenile and domestic relations district court, or before a petition for adoption or a petition for the termination of his parental rights is filed with the court.

E. Registration is timely if it is received by the Department within (i) 10 days of the child's birth or (ii) the time specified in subsection C or F. Registration is complete when the signed registration form is first received by the Department. The signed registration form shall be submitted in the manner prescribed by the Department.

F. In the event that the identity and whereabouts of the birth father are reasonably ascertainable, the child-placing agency or adoptive parents shall give written notice to the birth father of the existence of an adoption plan and the availability of registration with the Virginia Birth Father Registry. Such written notice shall be provided by personal service or by certified mailing to the birth father's last known address. Registration is timely if the signed registration form is received by the Department within 10 days of personal service of the written notice or within 13 days of the certified mailing date of the written notice. The personal service or certified mailing may be completed either prior to or after the birth of the child.

G. The child-placing agency or adoptive parent(s) shall give notice to a registrant who has timely registered of a placement of a child by a local board pursuant to § 63.2-900, a proceeding for adoption, or a proceeding for termination of parental rights regarding a child. Notice shall be given pursuant to the requirements of this chapter or § 16.1-277.01 for the appropriate adoption proceeding.

H. 1. The Department shall prepare a form for registering with the agency that shall require (i) the registrant's name, date of birth and social security number; (ii) the registrant's driver's license number and state of issuance; (iii) the registrant's home address, telephone number, and employer; (iv) the name, date of birth, ethnicity, address, and telephone number of the putative mother, if known; (v) the state of conception; (vi) the place and date of birth of the child, if known; (vii) the name and gender of the child, if known; and (viii) the signature of the registrant. No form for registering with the Virginia Birth Father Registry shall be complete unless signed by the registrant and the signed registration form is received by the Department in the manner prescribed by the Department.

2. The form shall also state that (i) timely registration entitles the registrant to notice of a proceeding for adoption of the child or termination of the registrant's parental rights, (ii) registration does not commence a proceeding to establish paternity, (iii) the information disclosed on the form may be used against the registrant to establish paternity, (iv) services to assist in establishing paternity are available to the registrant through the Department, (v) the registrant should also register in another state if conception or birth of the child occurred in another state, (vi) information on registries of other states may be available from the Department, (vii) the form is signed under penalty of perjury, and (viii) procedures exist to rescind the registration of a claim of paternity.

3. A registrant shall promptly notify the Virginia Birth Father Registry of any change in information, including change of address. The Department shall incorporate all updated information received into its records but is not required to request or otherwise pursue current or updated information for incorporation in the registry.

2006, c. 825; 2009, c. 805; 2012, c. 424; 2015, c. 531; 2017, c. 200.

§ 63.2-1251. Furnishing information; confidentiality; penalty.

A. The Department is not required to locate the mother of a child who is the subject of a registration, but the Department shall send a copy of the notice of registration to the mother if an address is provided.

B. Information contained in the registry is confidential and may only be released on request to:

1. A court or a person designated by the court;

2. The mother of the child who is the subject of the registration;

3. An agency authorized by law to receive such information;

4. A licensed child-placing agency;

5. A support enforcement agency;

6. The child's guardian ad litem;

7. A party or the party's attorney of record in an adoption proceeding, custody proceeding, paternity proceeding, or in a proceeding of termination of parental rights, regarding a child who is the subject of the registration;

8. A putative father registry in another state; and

9. A local department of social services for the purpose of establishing paternity of a child accepted for placement by a local board pursuant to § 63.2-900.

C. Information contained in the registry shall be exempt from disclosure under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

D. An individual who intentionally releases information from the registry to an individual or agency not authorized to receive the information in this section is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

2006, c. 825; 2012, c. 424; 2015, c. 531.

§ 63.2-1252. Search of registry.

A. If no father-child relationship has been established pursuant to § 20-49.1, a petitioner for adoption shall obtain from the Department a certificate that a search of the Virginia Birth Father Registry was performed. If the conception or birth of the child occurred in another state, a petitioner for adoption shall obtain a certificate from that state indicating that a search of the putative father registry was performed, if that state has a putative father registry.

B. The Department shall furnish to the requester a certificate of search of the registry upon the request of an individual, court, or agency listed in § 63.2-1251. Any such certificate shall be signed on behalf of the Department and state that a search has been made of the registry and a registration containing the information required to identify the registrant has been found and is attached to the certificate of search or has not been found. Within four business days from the receipt of the request, the Department shall mail the certificate to the requestor by United States mail. Upon request of the requestor and payment of any additional costs, the Department shall have the certificate delivered to the requestor by overnight mail, in person, by messenger, by facsimile or other electronic communication. The Department's certificate or an appropriate certificate from another state shall be sufficient proof the registry was searched.

C. A petitioner shall file the certificate of search with the court before a proceeding for adoption of, or termination of parental rights regarding, a child may be concluded.

D. A certificate of search of the Virginia Birth Father Registry is admissible in a proceeding for adoption of, or termination of parental rights regarding, a child and, if relevant, in other legal proceedings.

2006, c. 825; 2015, c. 531; 2017, c. 200.

§ 63.2-1253. Duty to publicize registry.

A. The Department shall produce and distribute a pamphlet or other publication informing the public about the Virginia Birth Father Registry including (i) the procedures for voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, (ii) the consequences of acknowledgement and failure to acknowledge paternity pursuant to § 20-49.1, (iii) a description of the Virginia Birth Father Registry including to whom and under what circumstances it applies, (iv) the time limits and responsibilities for filing, (v) paternal rights and associated responsibilities, and (vi) other appropriate provisions of this article.

B. Such pamphlet or publication shall include a detachable form that meets the requirements of subsection H of § 63.2-1250, is suitable for United States mail, and is addressed to the Virginia Birth Father Registry. Such pamphlet or publication shall be made available for distribution at all offices of the Department of Health and all local departments of social services. The Department shall also provide such pamphlets or publications to hospitals, libraries, medical clinics, schools, baccalaureate institutions of higher education, and other providers of child-related services upon request.

C. The Department shall provide information to the public at large by way of general public service announcements, or other ways to deliver information to the public about the Virginia Birth Father Registry and its services.

2006, c. 825; 2017, c. 200.

Chapter 13. Adoption Assistance for Children With Special Needs.

§ 63.2-1300. Purpose and intent of adoption assistance; eligibility.

A. The purpose of adoption assistance is to facilitate adoptive placements and ensure permanency for children with special needs.

B. In accordance with § 473 of Title IV-E of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 673), a child with special needs is a child who is unlikely to be adopted within a reasonable period of time due to one or more of the following factors:

1. Physical, mental or emotional condition existing prior to adoption;

2. Hereditary tendency, congenital problem or birth injury leading to substantial risk of future disability; or

3. Individual circumstances of the child related to age, racial or ethnic background or close relationship with one or more siblings.

C. A child with special needs will be eligible for adoption assistance if (i) the child is a citizen or legal resident of the United States; (ii) the child cannot or should not be returned to the home of his parents; and (iii) reasonable efforts to place the child in an appropriate adoptive home without the provision of adoption assistance have been unsuccessful. An exception may be made to the requirement that efforts be made to place the child in an adoptive home without the provision of adoption assistance when it is in the best interest of the child due to factors such as the development of significant emotional ties with his foster parents while in their care and the foster parents wish to adopt the child.

1974, c. 507, § 63.1-238.1; 1978, c. 536; 1981, c. 359; 1987, cc. 650, 681; 2000, cc. 290, 830, § 63.1-238.03; 2002, c. 747; 2010, c. 271; 2017, c. 199.

§ 63.2-1301. Types of adoption assistance payments.

A. Title IV-E maintenance payments shall be made to the adoptive parents on behalf of an adopted child placed if it is determined that the child is a child with special needs as set forth in § 63.2-1300 and the child meets the requirements set forth in § 473 of Title IV-E of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 673).

B. State-funded maintenance payments may be made to the adoptive parents on behalf of an adopted child if it is determined that the child does not meet the requirements set forth in § 473 of Title IV-E of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 673) but the child is a child with special needs as set forth in § 63.2-1300. A child with special needs shall receive state-funded maintenance payments if he:

1. Was in the custody of a local board or a licensed child-placing agency at the time of the adoptive placement;

2. Was in the custody of a local board or a licensed child-placing agency at the time of the adoptive placement and met the factors set forth in subdivision B 1 or 2 of § 63.2-1300 at the time of adoption but such factors were not diagnosed until after the final order of adoption and no more than one year has elapsed from the date of diagnosis; or

3. Lived with his foster parents for at least 12 months and has developed significant emotional ties with his foster parents while in their care and the foster parents wish to adopt the child and state-funded maintenance payments are necessary to enable the adoption.

C. Special services payments may be made for the provision of services to the child that are not covered by insurance, Medicaid, or otherwise. Special services include (i) medical, surgical, and dental care; (ii) hospitalization; (iii) individual remedial education services; (iv) psychological and psychiatric treatment; (v) speech and physical therapy; and (vi) special equipment, treatment, and training for physical and mental handicaps. A child is eligible for special services payments if:

1. The child is a child with special needs as set forth in § 63.2-1300;

2. The child is receiving adoption assistance payments pursuant to subsection A or B; and

3. The adoptive parents are capable of providing the permanent family relationships needed by the child in all respects except financial.

D. Nonrecurring expense payments shall be made to the adoptive parents for expenses related to the adoption, including reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees and other legal service fees, as well as any other expenses that are directly related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs, including costs related to the adoption study, any health and psychological examinations, supervision of the placement prior to adoption and any transportation costs and reasonable costs of lodging and food for the child and the adoptive parents when necessary to complete the placement or adoption process for which the adoptive parents carry ultimate liability for payment and that have not been reimbursed from any other source, as set forth in 45 C.F.R. § 1356.41. However, the total amount of nonrecurring expense payments made to adoptive parents for the adoption of a child shall not exceed $2,000 or an amount established by federal law.

1974, c. 507, § 63.1-238.2; 1982, c. 171; 1983, c. 292; 1987, cc. 650, 681; 2002, c. 747; 2010, c. 271; 2017, c. 199.

§ 63.2-1302. Adoption assistance payments; maintenance; special needs; payment agreements; continuation of payments when adoptive parents move to another jurisdiction; procedural requirements.

A. Adoption assistance payments may include Title IV-E or state-funded maintenance payments; however, such payments shall not exceed the foster care payment that would otherwise be made for the child at the time the adoption assistance agreement is signed.

B. Adoption assistance payments shall cease when the child with special needs reaches 18 years of age. However, assistance payments may continue until the child reaches 21 years of age under the following circumstances:

1. The local department determines on or within six months prior to the child's eighteenth birthday that the child has a mental or physical handicap, or an educational delay resulting from such handicap, warranting the continuation of assistance; or

2. The initial adoption assistance agreement became effective on or after the child's sixteenth birthday and the child is (i) completing secondary education or an equivalent thereof; (ii) enrolled in an institution that provides postsecondary or vocational education; (iii) employed for at least 80 hours per month; (iv) participating in a program or activity designed to promote employment or remove barriers to employment; or (v) incapable of doing any of the activities set forth in clauses (i) through (iv) due to a medical condition.

C. Adoption assistance payments shall be made on the basis of an adoption assistance agreement entered into by the local board and the adoptive parents or, in cases in which the child is in the custody of a licensed child-placing agency, an agreement between the local board, the licensed child-placing agency and the adoptive parents. A representative of the Department shall negotiate all adoption assistance agreements with both existing and prospective adoptive parents on behalf of local departments.

Prior to entering into an adoption assistance agreement, the local board or licensed child-placing agency shall ensure that adoptive parents have received information about their child's eligibility for adoption assistance; about their child's special needs and, to the extent possible, the current and potential impact of those special needs. The local board or licensed child-placing agency shall also ensure that adoptive parents receive information about the process for appeal in the event of a disagreement between the adoptive parent and the local board or the adoptive parent and the child-placing agency and information about the procedures for renegotiating the adoption assistance agreement.

Adoptive parents shall submit annually to the local board within 30 days of the anniversary date of the approved agreement an affidavit which certifies that (i) the child on whose behalf they are receiving adoption assistance payments remains in their care, (ii) the child's condition requiring adoption assistance continues to exist, and (iii) whether or not changes to the adoption assistance agreement are requested.

Title IV-E maintenance payments made pursuant to this section shall be changed only in accordance with the provisions of § 473 of Title IV-E of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 673).

D. Responsibility for adoption assistance payments for a child placed for adoption shall be continued by the local board that initiated the agreement in the event that the adoptive parents live in or move to another jurisdiction.

E. Payments may be made under this chapter from appropriations for foster care services for the maintenance and medical or other services for children who have special needs in accordance with § 63.2-1301. Within the limitations of the appropriations to the Department, the Commissioner shall reimburse any agency making payments under this chapter. Any such agency may seek and accept funds from other sources, including federal, state, local, and private sources, to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

1974, c. 507, § 63.1-238.3; 1976, c. 216; 1977, c. 533; 1978, c. 536; 1980, c. 280; 1981, c. 359; 1982, c. 171; 1985, c. 568; 1987, cc. 650, 681; 1988, c. 417; 1989, c. 191; 2000, c. 290; 2002, c. 747; 2010, c. 271; 2017, c. 199.

§ 63.2-1303. Application for adoption assistance payments.

Eligibility for adoption assistance payments shall be determined by the local board in response to an application for adoption assistance submitted in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board.

1974, c. 507, § 63.1-238.4; 1976, c. 216; 1981, c. 359; 1987, cc. 650, 681; 2002, c. 747; 2010, c. 271; 2017, c. 199.

§ 63.2-1304. Appeal to Commissioner regarding adoption assistance.

Any applicant for or recipient of adoption assistance aggrieved by any decision of a local board or licensed child-placing agency in granting, denying, changing or discontinuing adoption assistance, may, within 30 days after receiving written notice of such decision, appeal therefrom to the Commissioner. Any applicant or recipient aggrieved by the failure of the local board or licensed child-placing agency to make a decision within a reasonable time may ask for review by the Commissioner. The Commissioner may delegate the duty and authority to duly qualified hearing officers to consider and make determinations on any appeal or review. The Commissioner shall provide an opportunity for a hearing, reasonable notice of which shall be given in writing to the applicant or recipient and to the proper local board in such manner and form as the Commissioner may prescribe. The Commissioner may make or cause to be made an investigation of the facts. The Commissioner shall give fair and impartial consideration to the testimony of witnesses, or other evidence produced at the hearing, reports of investigation of the local board and local director or licensed child-placing agency or of investigations made or caused to be made by the Commissioner, or any facts that the Commissioner may deem proper to enable him to decide fairly the appeal or review. The decision of the Commissioner shall be binding and considered a final agency action for purposes of judicial review of such action pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

2003, c. 467.

§ 63.2-1305. Kinship Guardianship Assistance program.

A. The Kinship Guardianship Assistance program is established to facilitate placements with relatives and ensure permanency for children for whom adoption or being returned home are not appropriate permanency options. Kinship guardianship assistance payments may include Title IV-E maintenance payments, state-funded maintenance payments, state special services payments, and nonrecurring expense payments made pursuant to this section.

B. A child is eligible for kinship guardianship assistance under the program if:

1. The child has been removed from his home pursuant to a voluntary placement agreement or as a result of a judicial determination that continuation in the home would be contrary to the welfare of the child;

2. The child was eligible for foster care maintenance payments under 42 U.S.C. § 672 or under state law while residing for at least six consecutive months in the home of the prospective kinship guardian;

3. Being returned home or adopted is not an appropriate permanency option for the child;

4. The child demonstrates a strong attachment to the prospective kinship guardian, and the prospective kinship guardian has a strong commitment to caring permanently for the child; and

5. The child has been consulted regarding the kinship guardianship if the child is 14 years of age or older.

C. If a child does not meet the eligibility criteria set forth in subsection B but has a sibling who meets such criteria, the child may be placed in the same kinship guardianship with his eligible sibling, in accordance with 42 U.S.C. § 671(a)(31), if the local department and kinship guardian agree that such placement is appropriate. In such cases, kinship guardianship assistance may be paid on behalf of each sibling so placed.

D. In order to receive payments under 42 U.S.C. § 674(a)(5) or pursuant to the Children's Services Act (§ 2.2-5200 et seq.), the local department and the prospective kinship guardian of a child who meets the requirements of subsection B shall enter into a written kinship guardianship assistance agreement negotiated by the Department and containing terms providing for the following:

1. The amount of, and the manner in which, each kinship guardianship assistance payment will be provided and the manner in which such payment may be adjusted periodically, in consultation with the kinship guardian, on the basis of the circumstances of the kinship guardian and the needs of the child;

2. The additional services or assistance, if any, for which the child and kinship guardian will be eligible under the agreement;

3. The procedure by which the kinship guardian may apply for additional services as needed;

4. Subject to 42 U.S.C. § 673(d)(1)(D), assurance that the local department shall pay the total cost of nonrecurring expenses associated with obtaining kinship guardianship of the child, to the extent that the total cost does not exceed $2,000; and

5. Assurance that the agreement shall remain in effect without regard to the state of residency of the kinship guardian.

E. A kinship guardianship assistance payment on behalf of a child pursuant to this section shall not exceed the foster care maintenance payment that would have been paid on behalf of the child had the child remained in a foster family home.

F. The Board shall promulgate regulations for the Kinship Guardianship Assistance program that are necessary to comply with Title IV-E requirements, including those set forth in 42 U.S.C. § 673. The regulations may set forth qualifications for kinship guardians, the conditions under which a kinship guardianship may be established, the requirements for the development and amendment of a kinship guardianship assistance agreement, and the manner of payments on behalf of siblings placed in the same household.

2018, cc. 769, 770.

Chapter 14. Uniform Act on Adoption and Medical Assistance.

§ 63.2-1400. Not Set Out.

Not set out. ( 2002, c. 747.)

§ 63.2-1401. Compacts authorized.

The Governor is authorized to develop, participate in the development of, negotiate and enter into one or more interstate compacts on behalf of this Commonwealth with other states to implement one or more of the purposes set forth in this chapter. When so entered into, and for so long as it remains in force, the compact shall have the force and effect of law.

1988, c. 154, § 63.1-238.7; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1402. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter:

"Adoption assistance state" means the state that is signatory to an adoption assistance agreement in a particular case.

"Residence state" means the state of which the child is a resident by virtue of the residence of the adoptive parents.

"State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or a territory or possession of or administered by the United States.

1988, c. 154, § 63.1-238.8; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1403. Contents of compacts.

A. A compact entered into pursuant to the authority conferred by this chapter shall have the following content:

1. A provision making it available for joinder by all states.

2. A provision or provisions for withdrawal from the compact upon written notice to the parties, but with a period of one year between the date of the notice and the effective date of the withdrawal.

3. A requirement that the protections afforded by or pursuant to the compact continue in force for the duration of the adoption assistance and be applicable to all children and their adoptive parents who, on the effective date of the withdrawal, are receiving adoption assistance from a party state other than the one in which they are resident and have their principal place of abode.

4. A requirement that each instance of adoption assistance to which the compact applies be covered by an adoption assistance agreement in writing between the adoptive parents and the child welfare agency of the state which undertakes to provide the adoption assistance, and further, that any such agreement be expressly for the benefit of the adopted child and enforceable by the adoptive parents and the state agency providing the adoption assistance.

5. Such other provisions as may be appropriate to implement the proper administration of the compact.

B. A compact entered into pursuant to the authority conferred by this chapter may contain the following provisions in addition to those required pursuant to subsection A:

1. Provisions establishing procedures and entitlements to medical, developmental, child care or other social services for the child in accordance with applicable laws, even though the child and the adoptive parents are in a state other than the one responsible for or providing the services or the funds to defray part or all of the costs thereof.

2. Such other provisions as may be appropriate or incidental to the proper administration of the compact.

1988, c. 154, § 63.1-238.9; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1404. Medical assistance; penalties.

A. A child with special needs resident in this Commonwealth who is the subject of an adoption assistance agreement with another state shall be entitled to receive a medical assistance identification from this Commonwealth upon the filing in the Department of a certified copy of the adoption assistance agreement obtained from the adoption assistance state. In accordance with regulations of the Department, the adoptive parents shall be required at least annually to show that the agreement is still in force or has been renewed.

B. The Department of Medical Assistance Services shall consider the holder of medical assistance identification pursuant to this section as any other holder of a medical assistance identification under the laws of this Commonwealth and shall process and make payment on claims on account of such holder in the same manner and pursuant to the same conditions and procedures as for other recipients of medical assistance.

C. The Department shall provide coverage and benefits not provided by the state plan for medical assistance in the residence state for a child who is in another state and who is covered by an adoption assistance agreement made in Virginia to the extent required by the agreement. However, there shall be no reimbursement for services or benefit amounts covered under any insurance or other third party medical contract or arrangement held by the child or the adoptive parents. The Department of Medical Assistance Services shall adopt regulations implementing this subsection. The additional coverages and benefit amounts provided pursuant to this subsection shall be for services for which there is no federal financial contribution or which, if federally aided, are not provided by the residence state. Such regulations shall include procedures to be followed in obtaining prior approvals for services when such approval is required for the assistance.

D. The submission of any claim for payment or reimbursement for services or benefits pursuant to this section or the making of any statement in connection therewith, which claim or statement the maker knows or should know to be false, misleading or fraudulent shall be punishable as perjury and shall also be subject to a fine of not more than $10,000, or imprisonment for not more than two years, or both.

E. The provisions of this section shall apply only to medical assistance for children under adoption assistance agreements from states that have entered into a compact with this Commonwealth under which the other state provides medical assistance to children with special needs under adoption assistance agreements made by this Commonwealth. All other children entitled to medical assistance pursuant to adoption assistance agreements entered into by this Commonwealth shall be eligible to receive it in accordance with the laws and procedures applicable thereto.

1988, c. 154, § 63.1-238.10; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1405. Federal participation.

Consistent with federal law, the Department and the Department of Medical Assistance Services, in connection with the administration of this chapter and any compact pursuant hereto, shall include in any state plan made pursuant to the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-272), Titles IV-E and XIX of the Social Security Act, as amended, and any other applicable federal laws, the provision of adoption assistance and medical assistance for which the federal government pays some or all of the costs. The Departments shall apply for and administer all relevant federal aid in accordance with law.

1988, c. 154, § 63.1-238.11; 2002, c. 747.

Chapter 15. Child Abuse and Neglect.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 63.2-1500. Policy of the Commonwealth [Not set out].

(Acts 2002, c. 747.)

§ 63.2-1501. Definitions.

As used in this chapter unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Court" means the juvenile and domestic relations district court of the county or city.

"Prevention" means efforts that (i) promote health and competence in people and (ii) create, promote and strengthen environments that nurture people in their development.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.2; 1981, c. 123; 1986, c. 308; 1990, c. 760; 1995, c. 520; 2000, c. 500; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1502. Establishment of Child-Protective Services Unit; duties.

There is created a Child-Protective Services Unit in the Department that shall have the following powers and duties:

1. To evaluate and strengthen all local, regional and state programs dealing with child abuse and neglect.

2. To assume primary responsibility for directing the planning and funding of child-protective services. This shall include reviewing and approving the annual proposed plans and budgets for protective services submitted by the local departments.

3. To assist in developing programs aimed at discovering and preventing the many factors causing child abuse and neglect.

4. To prepare and disseminate, including the presentation of, educational programs and materials on child abuse and neglect.

5. To provide educational programs for professionals required by law to make reports under this chapter.

6. To establish standards of training and provide educational programs to qualify workers in the field of child-protective services. Such standards of training shall include provisions regarding the legal duties of the workers in order to protect the constitutional and statutory rights and safety of children and families from the initial time of contact during investigation through treatment.

7. To establish standards of training and educational programs to qualify workers to determine whether complaints of abuse or neglect of a child in a private or state-operated hospital, institution or other facility, or public school, are founded.

8. To maintain staff qualified pursuant to Board regulations to assist local department personnel in determining whether an employee of a private or state-operated hospital, institution or other facility or an employee of a school board, abused or neglected a child in such hospital, institution, or other facility, or public school.

9. To monitor the processing and determination of cases where an employee of a private or state-operated hospital, institution or other facility, or an employee of a school board, is suspected of abusing or neglecting a child in such hospital, institution, or other facility, or public school.

10. To help coordinate child-protective services at the state, regional, and local levels with the efforts of other state and voluntary social, medical and legal agencies.

11. To maintain a child abuse and neglect information system that includes all cases of child abuse and neglect within the Commonwealth.

12. To provide for methods to preserve the confidentiality of all records in order to protect the rights of the child, and his parents or guardians.

13. To establish minimum training requirements for workers and supervisors on family abuse and domestic violence, including the relationship between domestic violence and child abuse and neglect.

14. To establish minimum training requirements for workers and supervisors on identifying, assessing, and providing comprehensive services for children who are victims of sex trafficking or severe forms of trafficking as defined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, 22 U.S.C § 7102 et seq., and in the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, 42 U.S.C. § 5101 et seq., including efforts to coordinate with law-enforcement, juvenile justice, and social service agencies such as runaway and homeless youth shelters to serve this population.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.7; 1984, c. 734; 1993, c. 955; 2000, c. 500; 2002, c. 747; 2004, cc. 93, 233, 972, 980; 2016, c. 631.

§ 63.2-1503. Local departments to establish child-protective services; duties.

A. Each local department shall establish child-protective services under a departmental coordinator within such department or with one or more adjacent local departments that shall be staffed with qualified personnel pursuant to regulations adopted by the Board. The local department shall be the public agency responsible for receiving and responding to complaints and reports, except that (i) in cases where the reports or complaints are to be made to the court and the judge determines that no local department within a reasonable geographic distance can impartially respond to the report, the court shall assign the report to the court services unit for evaluation; and (ii) in cases where an employee at a private or state-operated hospital, institution or other facility, or an employee of a school board is suspected of abusing or neglecting a child in such hospital, institution or other facility, or public school, the local department shall request the Department and the relevant private or state-operated hospital, institution or other facility, or school board to assist in conducting a joint investigation in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board, in consultation with the Departments of Education, Health, Medical Assistance Services, Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Juvenile Justice and Corrections.

B. The local department shall ensure, through its own personnel or through cooperative arrangements with other local agencies, the capability of receiving reports or complaints and responding to them promptly on a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-per-week basis.

C. The local department shall widely publicize a telephone number for receiving complaints and reports.

D. The local department shall notify the local attorney for the Commonwealth and the local law-enforcement agency of all complaints of suspected child abuse or neglect involving (i) any death of a child; (ii) any injury or threatened injury to the child in which a felony or Class 1 misdemeanor is also suspected; (iii) any sexual abuse, suspected sexual abuse or other sexual offense involving a child, including but not limited to the use or display of the child in sexually explicit visual material, as defined in § 18.2-374.1; (iv) any abduction of a child; (v) any felony or Class 1 misdemeanor drug offense involving a child; or (vi) contributing to the delinquency of a minor in violation of § 18.2-371, immediately, but in no case more than two hours of receipt of the complaint, and shall provide the attorney for the Commonwealth and the local law-enforcement agency with records and information of the local department, including records related to any complaints of abuse or neglect involving the victim or the alleged perpetrator, related to the investigation of the complaint. The local department shall notify the local attorney for the Commonwealth of all complaints of suspected child abuse or neglect involving the child's being left alone in the same dwelling with a person to whom the child is not related by blood or marriage and who has been convicted of an offense against a minor for which registration is required as a violent sexual offender pursuant to § 9.1-902, immediately, but in no case more than two hours of receipt of the complaint, and shall provide the attorney for the Commonwealth with records and information of the local department that would help determine whether a violation of post-release conditions, probation, parole, or court order has occurred due to the nonrelative sexual offender's contact with the child. The local department shall not allow reports of the death of the victim from other local agencies to substitute for direct reports to the attorney for the Commonwealth and the local law-enforcement agency. The local department shall develop, when practicable, memoranda of understanding for responding to reports of child abuse and neglect with local law enforcement and the attorney for the Commonwealth.

In each case in which the local department notifies the local law-enforcement agency of a complaint pursuant to this subsection, the local department shall, within two business days of delivery of the notification, complete a written report, on a form provided by the Board for such purpose, which shall include (a) the name of the representative of the local department providing notice required by this subsection; (b) the name of the local law-enforcement officer who received such notice; (c) the date and time that notification was made; (d) the identity of the victim; (e) the identity of the person alleged to have abused or neglected the child, if known; (f) the clause or clauses in this subsection that describe the reasons for the notification; and (g) the signatures, which may be electronic signatures, of the representatives of the local department making the notification and the local law-enforcement officer receiving the notification. Such report shall be included in the record of the investigation and may be submitted either in writing or electronically.

E. When abuse or neglect is suspected in any case involving the death of a child, the local department shall report the case immediately to the regional medical examiner and the local law-enforcement agency.

F. The local department shall use reasonable diligence to locate (i) any child for whom a report of suspected abuse or neglect has been received and is under investigation, receiving family assessment, or for whom a founded determination of abuse and neglect has been made and a child-protective services case opened and (ii) persons who are the subject of a report that is under investigation or receiving family assessment, if the whereabouts of the child or such persons are unknown to the local department.

G. When an abused or neglected child and the persons who are the subject of an open child-protective services case have relocated out of the jurisdiction of the local department, the local department shall notify the child-protective services agency in the jurisdiction to which such persons have relocated, whether inside or outside of the Commonwealth, and forward to such agency relevant portions of the case record. The receiving local department shall arrange protective and rehabilitative services as required by this section.

H. When a child for whom a report of suspected abuse or neglect has been received and is under investigation or receiving family assessment and the child and the child's parents or other persons responsible for the child's care who are the subject of the report that is under investigation or family assessment have relocated out of the jurisdiction of the local department, the local department shall notify the child-protective services agency in the jurisdiction to which the child and such persons have relocated, whether inside or outside of the Commonwealth, and complete such investigation or family assessment by requesting such agency's assistance in completing the investigation or family assessment. The local department that completes the investigation or family assessment shall forward to the receiving agency relevant portions of the case record in order for the receiving agency to arrange protective and rehabilitative services as required by this section.

I. Upon receipt of a report of child abuse or neglect, the local department shall determine the validity of such report and shall make a determination to conduct an investigation pursuant to § 63.2-1505 or, if designated as a child-protective services differential response agency by the Department according to § 63.2-1504, a family assessment pursuant to § 63.2-1506.

J. The local department shall foster, when practicable, the creation, maintenance and coordination of hospital and community-based multidisciplinary teams that shall include where possible, but not be limited to, members of the medical, mental health, social work, nursing, education, legal and law-enforcement professions. Such teams shall assist the local departments in identifying abused and neglected children; coordinating medical, social, and legal services for the children and their families; developing innovative programs for detection and prevention of child abuse; promoting community concern and action in the area of child abuse and neglect; and disseminating information to the general public with respect to the problem of child abuse and neglect and the facilities and prevention and treatment methods available to combat child abuse and neglect. These teams may be the family assessment and planning teams established pursuant to § 2.2-5207. Multidisciplinary teams may develop agreements regarding the exchange of information among the parties for the purposes of the investigation and disposition of complaints of child abuse and neglect, delivery of services and child protection. Any information exchanged in accordance with the agreement shall not be considered to be a violation of the provisions of § 63.2-102, 63.2-104, or 63.2-105.

The local department shall also coordinate its efforts in the provision of these services for abused and neglected children with the judge and staff of the court.

K. The local department may develop multidisciplinary teams to provide consultation to the local department during the investigation of selected cases involving child abuse or neglect, and to make recommendations regarding the prosecution of such cases. These teams may include, but are not limited to, members of the medical, mental health, legal and law-enforcement professions, including the attorney for the Commonwealth or his designee; a local child-protective services representative; and the guardian ad litem or other court-appointed advocate for the child. Any information exchanged for the purpose of such consultation shall not be considered a violation of § 63.2-102, 63.2-104, or 63.2-105.

L. The local department shall report annually on its activities concerning abused and neglected children to the court and to the Child-Protective Services Unit in the Department on forms provided by the Department.

M. Statements, or any evidence derived therefrom, made to local department child-protective services personnel, or to any person performing the duties of such personnel, by any person accused of the abuse, injury, neglect or death of a child after the arrest of such person, shall not be used in evidence in the case-in-chief against such person in the criminal proceeding on the question of guilt or innocence over the objection of the accused, unless the statement was made after such person was fully advised (i) of his right to remain silent, (ii) that anything he says may be used against him in a court of law, (iii) that he has a right to the presence of an attorney during any interviews, and (iv) that if he cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning.

N. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the local department, in accordance with Board regulations, shall transmit information regarding reports, complaints, family assessments, and investigations involving children of active duty members of the United States Armed Forces or members of their household to family advocacy representatives of the United States Armed Forces.

O. The local department shall notify the custodial parent and make reasonable efforts to notify the noncustodial parent as those terms are defined in § 63.2-1900 of a report of suspected abuse or neglect of a child who is the subject of an investigation or is receiving family assessment, in those cases in which such custodial or noncustodial parent is not the subject of the investigation.

P. The local department shall (i) notify the Superintendent of Public Instruction without delay when an individual holding a license issued by the Board of Education is the subject of a founded complaint of child abuse or neglect and shall transmit identifying information regarding such individual if the local department knows the person holds a license issued by the Board of Education and (ii) notify the Superintendent of Public Instruction without delay if the founded complaint of child abuse or neglect is dismissed following an appeal pursuant to § 63.2-1526. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to affect the rights of any individual holding a license issued by the Board of Education to any hearings or appeals otherwise provided by law. Any information exchanged for the purpose of this subsection shall not be considered a violation of § 63.2-102, 63.2-104, or 63.2-105.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.6; 1978, c. 747; 1979, cc. 347, 348; 1984, c. 392; 1987, c. 443; 1989, cc. 109, 547; 1991, c. 644; 1992, cc. 214, 837, 880; 1993, cc. 506, 955; 1994, cc. 643, 675, 840; 1996, cc. 858, 863; 1998, cc. 704, 716; 2000, cc. 500, 854; 2002, c. 747; 2004, cc. 114, 220, 886; 2008, cc. 474, 827; 2009, cc. 813, 840; 2014, cc. 300, 565; 2017, cc. 88, 142; 2018, cc. 5, 209, 823.

§ 63.2-1504. Child-protective services differential response system.

The Department shall implement a child-protective services differential response system in all local departments. The differential response system allows local departments to respond to valid reports or complaints of child abuse or neglect by conducting either an investigation or a family assessment. The Department shall publish a plan to implement the child-protective services differential response system in local departments by July 1, 2000, and complete implementation in all local departments by July 1, 2003. The Department shall develop a training program for all staff persons involved in the differential response system, and all such staff shall receive this training.

2000, c. 500, § 63.1-248.2:1; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1505. Investigations by local departments.

A. An investigation requires the collection of information necessary to determine:

1. The immediate safety needs of the child;

2. The protective and rehabilitative services needs of the child and family that will deter abuse or neglect;

3. Risk of future harm to the child;

4. Alternative plans for the child's safety if protective and rehabilitative services are indicated and the family is unable or unwilling to participate in services;

5. Whether abuse or neglect has occurred;

6. If abuse or neglect has occurred, who abused or neglected the child; and

7. A finding of either founded or unfounded based on the facts collected during the investigation.

B. If the local department responds to the report or complaint by conducting an investigation, the local department shall:

1. Make immediate investigation and, if the report or complaint was based upon one of the factors specified in subsection B of § 63.2-1509, the local department may file a petition pursuant to § 16.1-241.3;

2. Complete a report and enter it into the statewide automation system maintained by the Department;

3. Consult with the family to arrange for necessary protective and rehabilitative services to be provided to the child and his family;

4. Petition the court for services deemed necessary including, but not limited to, removal of the child or his siblings from their home;

5. Determine within 45 days if a report of abuse or neglect is founded or unfounded and transmit a report to such effect to the Department and to the person who is the subject of the investigation. However, upon written justification by the local department, the time for such determination may be extended not to exceed a total of 60 days or, in the event that the investigation is being conducted in cooperation with a law-enforcement agency and both parties agree that circumstances so warrant, as stated in the written justification, the time for such determination may be extended not to exceed 90 days. If through the exercise of reasonable diligence the local department is unable to find the child who is the subject of the report, the time the child cannot be found shall not be computed as part of the total time period allowed for the investigation and determination and documentation of such reasonable diligence shall be placed in the record. In cases involving the death of a child or alleged sexual abuse of a child who is the subject of the report, the time during which records necessary for the investigation of the complaint but not created by the local department, including autopsy or medical or forensic records or reports, are not available to the local department due to circumstances beyond the local department's control shall not be computed as part of the total time period allowed for the investigation and determination, and documentation of the circumstances that resulted in the delay shall be placed in the record. In cases in which the subject of the investigation is a full-time, part-time, permanent, or temporary employee of a school division who is suspected of abusing or neglecting a child in the course of his educational employment, the time period for determining whether a report is founded or unfounded and transmitting a report to that effect to the Department and the person who is the subject of the investigation shall be mandatory, and every local department shall make the required determination and report within the specified time period without delay;

6. If a report of abuse or neglect is unfounded, transmit a report to such effect to the complainant and parent or guardian and the person responsible for the care of the child in those cases where such person was suspected of abuse or neglect; and

7. If a report of child abuse and neglect is founded, and the subject of the report is or was at the time of the investigation or the conduct that led to the report a full-time, part-time, permanent, or temporary employee of a school division located within the Commonwealth, notify the relevant school board of the founded complaint without delay.

Any information exchanged for the purposes of this subsection shall not be considered a violation of § 63.2-102, 63.2-104, or 63.2-105.

C. Each local board may obtain and consider, in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board, statewide criminal history record information from the Central Criminal Records Exchange and results of a search of the child abuse and neglect central registry of any individual who is the subject of a child abuse or neglect investigation conducted under this section when there is evidence of child abuse or neglect and the local board is evaluating the safety of the home and whether removal will protect a child from harm. The local board also may obtain such a criminal records or registry search on all adult household members residing in the home where the individual who is the subject of the investigation resides and the child resides or visits. If a child abuse or neglect petition is filed in connection with such removal, a court may admit such information as evidence. Where the individual who is the subject of such information contests its accuracy through testimony under oath in hearing before the court, no court shall receive or consider the contested criminal history record information without certified copies of conviction. Further dissemination of the information provided to the local board is prohibited, except as authorized by law.

D. A person who has not previously participated in the investigation of complaints of child abuse or neglect in accordance with this chapter shall not participate in the investigation of any case involving a complaint of alleged sexual abuse of a child unless he (i) has completed a Board-approved training program for the investigation of complaints involving alleged sexual abuse of a child or (ii) is under the direct supervision of a person who has completed a Board-approved training program for the investigation of complaints involving alleged sexual abuse of a child. No individual may make a determination of whether a case involving a complaint of alleged sexual abuse of a child is founded or unfounded unless he has completed a Board-approved training program for the investigation of complaints involving alleged sexual abuse of a child.

2000, c. 500, § 63.1-248.6 :01; 2002, c. 747; 2007, c. 495; 2008, c. 555; 2013, cc. 340, 506; 2014, cc. 299, 504; 2015, c. 524; 2017, cc. 176, 428; 2018, cc. 3, 193.

§ 63.2-1506. Family assessments by local departments.

A. A family assessment requires the collection of information necessary to determine:

1. The immediate safety needs of the child;

2. The protective and rehabilitative services needs of the child and family that will deter abuse or neglect;

3. Risk of future harm to the child;

4. Whether the mother of a child who was exposed in utero to a controlled substance sought substance abuse counseling or treatment prior to the child's birth; and

5. Alternative plans for the child's safety if protective and rehabilitative services are indicated and the family is unable or unwilling to participate in services.

B. When a local department has been designated as a child-protective services differential response system participant by the Department pursuant to § 63.2-1504 and responds to the report or complaint by conducting a family assessment, the local department shall:

1. Conduct an immediate family assessment and, if the report or complaint was based upon one of the factors specified in subsection B of § 63.2-1509, the local department may file a petition pursuant to § 16.1-241.3;

2. Immediately contact the subject of the report and the family of the child alleged to have been abused or neglected and give each a written and an oral explanation of the family assessment procedure. The family assessment shall be in writing and shall be completed in accordance with Board regulation;

3. Complete the family assessment within 45 days and transmit a report to such effect to the Department and to the person who is the subject of the family assessment. However, upon written justification by the local department, the family assessment may be extended, not to exceed a total of 60 days;

4. Consult with the family to arrange for necessary protective and rehabilitative services to be provided to the child and his family. Families have the option of declining the services offered as a result of the family assessment. If the family declines the services, the case shall be closed unless the local department determines that sufficient cause exists to redetermine the case as one that needs to be investigated. In no instance shall a case be redetermined as an investigation solely because the family declines services;

5. Petition the court for services deemed necessary;

6. Make no disposition of founded or unfounded for reports in which a family assessment is completed. Reports in which a family assessment is completed shall not be entered into the central registry contained in § 63.2-1515; and

7. Commence an immediate investigation, if at any time during the completion of the family assessment, the local department determines that an investigation is required.

C. When a local department has been designated as a child-protective services differential response agency by the Department, the local department may investigate any report of child abuse or neglect, but the following valid reports of child abuse or neglect shall be investigated: (i) sexual abuse, (ii) child fatality, (iii) abuse or neglect resulting in serious injury as defined in § 18.2-371.1, (iv) cases involving a child's being left alone in the same dwelling with a person to whom the child is not related by blood or marriage and who has been convicted of an offense against a minor for which registration is required as a violent sexual offender pursuant to § 9.1-902, (v) child has been taken into the custody of the local department, or (vi) cases involving a caretaker at a state-licensed child day center, religiously exempt child day center, licensed, registered or approved family day home, private or public school, hospital or any institution. If a report or complaint is based upon one of the factors specified in subsection B of § 63.2-1509, the local department shall (a) conduct a family assessment, unless an investigation is required pursuant to this subsection or other provision of law or is necessary to protect the safety of the child, and (b) develop a plan of safe care in accordance with federal law, regardless of whether the local department makes a finding of abuse or neglect.

2000, c. 500, § 63.1-248.6 :02; 2002, cc. 641, 642, 747; 2017, cc. 176, 428; 2018, c. 823.

§ 63.2-1507. Cooperation by state entities.

All law-enforcement departments and other state and local departments, agencies, authorities and institutions shall cooperate with each child-protective services coordinator of a local department and any multi-discipline teams in the detection and prevention of child abuse.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.17; 2002, c. 747.

Article 2. Complaints.

§ 63.2-1508. Valid report or complaint.

A valid report or complaint means the local department has evaluated the information and allegations of the report or complaint and determined that the local department shall conduct an investigation or family assessment because the following elements are present:

1. The alleged victim child or children are under the age of eighteen at the time of the complaint or report;

2. The alleged abuser is the alleged victim child's parent or other caretaker;

3. The local department receiving the complaint or report has jurisdiction; and

4. The circumstances described allege suspected child abuse or neglect.

Nothing in this section shall relieve any person specified in § 63.2-1509 from making a report required by that section, regardless of the identity of the person suspected to have caused such abuse or neglect.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.2; 1981, c. 123; 1986, c. 308; 1990, c. 760; 1995, c. 520; 2000, c. 500; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1509. Requirement that certain injuries to children be reported by physicians, nurses, teachers, etc.; penalty for failure to report.

A. The following persons who, in their professional or official capacity, have reason to suspect that a child is an abused or neglected child, shall report the matter immediately to the local department of the county or city wherein the child resides or wherein the abuse or neglect is believed to have occurred or to the Department's toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline:

1. Any person licensed to practice medicine or any of the healing arts;

2. Any hospital resident or intern, and any person employed in the nursing profession;

3. Any person employed as a social worker or family-services specialist;

4. Any probation officer;

5. Any teacher or other person employed in a public or private school, kindergarten or nursery school;

6. Any person providing full-time or part-time child care for pay on a regularly planned basis;

7. Any mental health professional;

8. Any law-enforcement officer or animal control officer;

9. Any mediator eligible to receive court referrals pursuant to § 8.01-576.8;

10. Any professional staff person, not previously enumerated, employed by a private or state-operated hospital, institution or facility to which children have been committed or where children have been placed for care and treatment;

11. Any person 18 years of age or older associated with or employed by any public or private organization responsible for the care, custody or control of children;

12. Any person who is designated a court-appointed special advocate pursuant to Article 5 (§ 9.1-151 et seq.) of Chapter 1 of Title 9.1;

13. Any person 18 years of age or older who has received training approved by the Department of Social Services for the purposes of recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect;

14. Any person employed by a local department as defined in § 63.2-100 who determines eligibility for public assistance;

15. Any emergency medical services provider certified by the Board of Health pursuant to § 32.1-111.5, unless such provider immediately reports the matter directly to the attending physician at the hospital to which the child is transported, who shall make such report forthwith;

16. Any athletic coach, director or other person 18 years of age or older employed by or volunteering with a private sports organization or team;

17. Administrators or employees 18 years of age or older of public or private day camps, youth centers and youth recreation programs; and

18. Any person employed by a public or private institution of higher education other than an attorney who is employed by a public or private institution of higher education as it relates to information gained in the course of providing legal representation to a client.

This subsection shall not apply to any regular minister, priest, rabbi, imam, or duly accredited practitioner of any religious organization or denomination usually referred to as a church as it relates to (i) information required by the doctrine of the religious organization or denomination to be kept in a confidential manner or (ii) information that would be subject to § 8.01-400 or 19.2-271.3 if offered as evidence in court.

If neither the locality in which the child resides nor where the abuse or neglect is believed to have occurred is known, then such report shall be made to the local department of the county or city where the abuse or neglect was discovered or to the Department's toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline.

If an employee of the local department is suspected of abusing or neglecting a child, the report shall be made to the court of the county or city where the abuse or neglect was discovered. Upon receipt of such a report by the court, the judge shall assign the report to a local department that is not the employer of the suspected employee for investigation or family assessment. The judge may consult with the Department in selecting a local department to respond to the report or the complaint.

If the information is received by a teacher, staff member, resident, intern or nurse in the course of professional services in a hospital, school or similar institution, such person may, in place of said report, immediately notify the person in charge of the institution or department, or his designee, who shall make such report forthwith. If the initial report of suspected abuse or neglect is made to the person in charge of the institution or department, or his designee, pursuant to this subsection, such person shall notify the teacher, staff member, resident, intern or nurse who made the initial report when the report of suspected child abuse or neglect is made to the local department or to the Department's toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline, and of the name of the individual receiving the report, and shall forward any communication resulting from the report, including any information about any actions taken regarding the report, to the person who made the initial report.

The initial report may be an oral report but such report shall be reduced to writing by the child abuse coordinator of the local department on a form prescribed by the Board. Any person required to make the report pursuant to this subsection shall disclose all information that is the basis for his suspicion of abuse or neglect of the child and, upon request, shall make available to the child-protective services coordinator and the local department, which is the agency of jurisdiction, any information, records, or reports that document the basis for the report. All persons required by this subsection to report suspected abuse or neglect who maintain a record of a child who is the subject of such a report shall cooperate with the investigating agency and shall make related information, records and reports available to the investigating agency unless such disclosure violates the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g). Provision of such information, records, and reports by a health care provider shall not be prohibited by § 8.01-399. 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.

B. For purposes of subsection A, "reason to suspect that a child is abused or neglected" shall include (i) a finding made by a health care provider within six weeks of the birth of a child that the child was born affected by substance abuse or experiencing withdrawal symptoms resulting from in utero drug exposure; (ii) a diagnosis made by a health care provider within four years following a child's birth that the child has an illness, disease, or condition that, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, is attributable to maternal abuse of a controlled substance during pregnancy; or (iii) a diagnosis made by a health care provider within four years following a child's birth that the child has a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder attributable to in utero exposure to alcohol. When "reason to suspect" is based upon this subsection, such fact shall be included in the report along with the facts relied upon by the person making the report.

C. Any person who makes a report or provides records or information pursuant to subsection A or who testifies in any judicial proceeding arising from such report, records, or information shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability or administrative penalty or sanction on account of such report, records, information, or testimony, unless such person acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose.

D. Any person required to file a report pursuant to this section who fails to do so as soon as possible, but not longer than 24 hours after having reason to suspect a reportable offense of child abuse or neglect, shall be fined not more than $500 for the first failure and for any subsequent failures not less than $1,000. In cases evidencing acts of rape, sodomy, or object sexual penetration as defined in Article 7 (§ 18.2-61 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2, a person who knowingly and intentionally fails to make the report required pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

E. No person shall be required to make a report pursuant to this section if the person has actual knowledge that the same matter has already been reported to the local department or the Department's toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.3; 1976, c. 348; 1978, c. 747; 1993, c. 443; 1994, c. 840; 1995, c. 810; 1998, cc. 704, 716; 1999, c. 606; 2000, c. 500; 2001, c. 853; 2002, cc. 747, 860; 2006, cc. 530, 801; 2008, cc. 43, 268; 2012, cc. 391, 504, 640, 698, 728, 740, 815; 2013, cc. 72, 331; 2014, c. 285; 2017, cc. 176, 428.

§ 63.2-1510. Complaints by others of certain injuries to children.

Any person who suspects that a child is an abused or neglected child may make a complaint concerning such child, except as hereinafter provided, to the local department of the county or city wherein the child resides or wherein the abuse or neglect is believed to have occurred or to the Department's toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline. If an employee of the local department is suspected of abusing or neglecting a child, the complaint shall be made to the court of the county or city where the abuse or neglect was discovered. Upon receipt of such a report by the court, the judge shall assign the report to a local department that is not the employer of the suspected employee for investigation or family assessment; or, if the judge believes that no local department in a reasonable geographic distance can be impartial in responding to the reported case, the judge shall assign the report to the court service unit of his court for evaluation. The judge may consult with the Department in selecting a local department to respond to the report or complaint. Such a complaint may be oral or in writing and shall disclose all information which is the basis for the suspicion of abuse or neglect of the child.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.4; 1976, c. 348; 1994, c. 840; 2000, c. 500; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1511. Complaints of abuse and neglect against school personnel; interagency agreement.

A. If a teacher, principal or other person employed by a local school board or employed in a school operated by the Commonwealth is suspected of abusing or neglecting a child in the course of his educational employment, the complaint shall be investigated in accordance with §§ 63.2-1503, 63.2-1505 and 63.2-1516.1. Pursuant to § 22.1-279.1, no teacher, principal or other person employed by a school board or employed in a school operated by the Commonwealth shall subject a student to corporal punishment. However, this prohibition of corporal punishment shall not be deemed to prevent (i) the use of incidental, minor or reasonable physical contact or other actions designed to maintain order and control; (ii) the use of reasonable and necessary force to quell a disturbance or remove a student from the scene of a disturbance that threatens physical injury to persons or damage to property; (iii) the use of reasonable and necessary force to prevent a student from inflicting physical harm on himself; (iv) the use of reasonable and necessary force for self-defense or the defense of others; or (v) the use of reasonable and necessary force to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects or controlled substances or paraphernalia that are upon the person of the student or within his control. In determining whether the actions of a teacher, principal or other person employed by a school board or employed in a school operated by the Commonwealth are within the exceptions provided in this section, the local department shall examine whether the actions at the time of the event that were made by such person were reasonable.

B. For purposes of this section, "corporal punishment," "abuse," or "neglect" shall not include physical pain, injury or discomfort caused by the use of incidental, minor or reasonable physical contact or other actions designed to maintain order and control as permitted in clause (i) of subsection A or the use of reasonable and necessary force as permitted by clauses (ii), (iii), (iv), and (v) of subsection A, or by participation in practice or competition in an interscholastic sport, or participation in physical education or an extracurricular activity.

C. If, after an investigation of a complaint under this section, the local department determines that the actions or omissions of a teacher, principal, or other person employed by a local school board or employed in a school operated by the Commonwealth were within such employee's scope of employment and were taken in good faith in the course of supervision, care, or discipline of students, then the standard in determining if a report of abuse or neglect is founded is whether such acts or omissions constituted gross negligence or willful misconduct.

D. Each local department and local school division shall adopt a written interagency agreement as a protocol for investigating child abuse and neglect reports. The interagency agreement shall be based on recommended procedures for conducting investigations developed by the Departments of Education and Social Services.

2001, c. 588, § 63.1-248.4:1; 2002, c. 747; 2003, cc. 986, 1013; 2005, cc. 767, 806; 2014, c. 412.

§ 63.2-1512. Immunity of person making report, etc., from liability.

Any person making a report pursuant to § 63.2-1509, a complaint pursuant to § 63.2-1510, or who takes a child into custody pursuant to § 63.2-1517, or who participates in a judicial proceeding resulting therefrom shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability in connection therewith, unless it is proven that such person acted in bad faith or with malicious intent.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.5; 1988, c. 686; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1513. Knowingly making false reports; penalties.

A. Any person fourteen years of age or older who makes or causes to be made a report of child abuse or neglect pursuant to this chapter that he knows to be false shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Any person fourteen years of age or older who has been previously convicted under this subsection and who is subsequently convicted under this subsection shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

B. The child-protective services records regarding the person who was alleged to have committed abuse or neglect that result from a report for which a conviction is obtained under this section shall be purged immediately by any custodian of such records upon presentation to the custodian of a certified copy of such conviction. After purging the records, the custodian shall notify the person in writing that such records have been purged.

1996, cc. 813, 836, § 63.1-248.5:1.01; 1999, c. 828; 2002, c. 747.

Article 3. Records.

§ 63.2-1514. Retention of records in all reports; procedures regarding unfounded reports alleged to be made in bad faith or with malicious intent.

A. The local department shall retain the records of all reports or complaints made pursuant to this chapter, in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board. However, all records related to founded cases of child sexual abuse involving injuries or conditions, real or threatened, that result in or were likely to have resulted in serious harm to a child shall be maintained by the local department for a period of 25 years from the date of the complaint.

B. The Department shall maintain a child abuse and neglect information system that includes a central registry of founded complaints, pursuant to § 63.2-1515. The Department shall maintain all (i) unfounded investigations, (ii) family assessments, and (iii) reports or complaints determined to be not valid in a record which is separate from the central registry and accessible only to the Department and to local departments for child-protective services. The purpose of retaining these complaints or reports is to provide local departments with information regarding prior complaints or reports. In no event shall the mere existence of a prior complaint or report be used to determine that a subsequent complaint or report is founded. The subject of the complaint or report is the person who is alleged to have committed abuse or neglect. The subject of the complaint or report shall have access to his own record. The record of unfounded investigations and complaints and reports determined to be not valid shall be purged one year after the date of the complaint or report if there are no subsequent complaints or reports regarding the same child or the person who is the subject of the complaint or report in that one year. The local department shall retain such records for an additional period of up to two years if requested in writing by the person who is the subject of such complaint or report. The record of family assessments shall be purged three years after the date of the complaint or report if there are no subsequent complaints or reports regarding the same child or the person who is the subject of the report in that three-year period. The child-protective services records regarding the petitioner which result from such complaint or report shall be purged immediately by any custodian of such records upon presentation to the custodian of a certified copy of a court order that there has been a civil action that determined that the complaint or report was made in bad faith or with malicious intent. After purging the records, the custodian shall notify the petitioner in writing that the records have been purged.

C. At the time the local department notifies a person who is the subject of a complaint or report made pursuant to this chapter that such complaint or report is either an unfounded investigation or a completed family assessment, it shall notify him how long the record will be retained and of the availability of the procedures set out in this section regarding reports or complaints alleged to be made in bad faith or with malicious intent. Upon request, the local department shall advise the person who was the subject of an unfounded investigation if the complaint or report was made anonymously. However, the identity of a complainant or reporter shall not be disclosed.

D. Any person who is the subject of an unfounded report or complaint made pursuant to this chapter who believes that such report or complaint was made in bad faith or with malicious intent may petition the circuit court in the jurisdiction in which the report or complaint was made for the release to such person of the records of the investigation or family assessment. Such petition shall specifically set forth the reasons such person believes that such report or complaint was made in bad faith or with malicious intent. Upon the filing of such petition, the circuit court shall request and the local department shall provide to the circuit court its records of the investigation or family assessment for the circuit court's in camera review. The petitioner shall be entitled to present evidence to support his petition. If the circuit court determines that there is a reasonable question of fact as to whether the report or complaint was made in bad faith or with malicious intent and that disclosure of the identity of the complainant would not be likely to endanger the life or safety of the complainant, it shall provide to the petitioner a copy of the records of the investigation or family assessment. The original records shall be subject to discovery in any subsequent civil action regarding the making of a complaint or report in bad faith or with malicious intent.

1988, c. 686, § 63.1-248.5:1; 1996, cc. 780, 791; 2000, c. 500; 2002, c. 747; 2003, c. 634; 2005, c. 77; 2010, c. 334.

§ 63.2-1515. Central registry; disclosure of information.

The central registry shall contain such information as shall be prescribed by Board regulation; however, when the founded case of abuse or neglect does not name the parents or guardians of the child as the abuser or neglector, and the abuse or neglect occurred in a licensed or unlicensed child day center, a licensed, registered or approved family day home, a private or public school, or a children's residential facility, the child's name shall not be entered on the registry without consultation with and permission of the parents or guardians. If a child's name currently appears on the registry without consultation with and permission of the parents or guardians for a founded case of abuse and neglect that does not name the parents or guardians of the child as the abuser or neglector, such parents or guardians may have the child's name removed by written request to the Department. The information contained in the central registry shall not be open to inspection by the public. However, appropriate disclosure may be made in accordance with Board regulations.

The Department shall respond to requests for a search of the central registry made by (i) local departments, (ii) local school boards, and (iii) governing boards or administrators of private schools accredited pursuant to § 22.1-19 regarding applicants for employment, pursuant to § 22.1-296.4, in cases where there is no match within the central registry within 10 business days of receipt of such requests. In cases where there is a match within the central registry regarding applicants for employment, the Department shall respond to requests made by local departments, local school boards, and governing boards or administrators within 30 business days of receipt of such requests. The response may be by first-class mail or facsimile transmission.

The Department shall disclose information in the central registry to the Chairmen of the Committees for the Courts of Justice of the Senate and House of Delegates for the purpose of determining if any person being considered for election to any judgeship has been the subject of any founded complaint of child abuse or neglect.

Any central registry check of a person who has applied to be a volunteer with a (a) Virginia affiliate of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, (b) Virginia affiliate of Compeer, (c) Virginia affiliate of Childhelp USA, (d) volunteer fire company or volunteer emergency medical services agency, or (e) court-appointed special advocate program pursuant to § 9.1-153 shall be conducted at no charge.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.8; 1993, cc. 48, 348, 955; 1994, cc. 700, 830; 2000, cc. 95, 734, 805; 2001, c. 321; 2002, cc. 371, 747; 2004, c. 74; 2015, cc. 502, 503; 2016, c. 454; 2018, c. 578.

Article 4. Procedures.

§ 63.2-1516. Tape recording child abuse investigations.

Any person who is suspected of abuse or neglect of a child and who is the subject of an investigation or family assessment pursuant to this chapter may tape record any communications between him and child-protective services personnel that take place during the course of such investigation or family assessment, provided all parties to the conversation are aware the conversation is to be recorded. The parties' knowledge of the recording shall be demonstrated by a declaration at the beginning of the recorded portion of the conversation that the recording is to be made. If a person who is suspected of abuse or neglect of a child and who is the subject of an investigation or family assessment pursuant to this chapter elects to make a tape recording as provided in this section, the child-protective services personnel may also make such a recording.

1990, c. 867, § 63.1-248.6:2; 2000, c. 500; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1516.01. Investigation procedures involving person who is the subject of complaint.

The local department shall, at the initial time of contact with the person subject to a child abuse and neglect investigation, advise such person of the complaints or allegations made against the person, in a manner that is consistent with laws protecting the rights of the person making the report or complaint. In cases where a child is alleged to have been abused or neglected by a teacher, principal or other person employed by a local school board or employed in a school operated by the Commonwealth, in the course of such employment in a nonresidential setting, the provisions of § 63.2-1516.1 shall also apply.

2004, cc. 93, 233.

§ 63.2-1516.1. Investigation procedures when school employee is subject of the complaint or report; release of information in joint investigations.

A. Except as provided in subsection B of this section, in cases where a child is alleged to have been abused or neglected by a teacher, principal or other person employed by a local school board or employed in a school operated by the Commonwealth, in the course of such employment in a nonresidential setting, the local department conducting the investigation shall comply with the following provisions in conducting its investigation:

1. The local department shall conduct a face-to-face interview with the person who is the subject of the complaint or report.

2. At the onset of the initial interview with the alleged abuser or neglector, the local department shall notify him in writing of the general nature of the complaint and the identity of the alleged child victim regarding the purpose of the contacts.

3. The written notification shall include the information that the alleged abuser or neglector has the right to have an attorney or other representative of his choice present during his interviews. However, the failure by a representative of the Department of Social Services to so advise the subject of the complaint shall not cause an otherwise voluntary statement to be inadmissible in a criminal proceeding.

4. Written notification of the findings shall be submitted to the alleged abuser or neglector. The notification shall include a summary of the investigation and an explanation of how the information gathered supports the disposition.

5. The written notification of the findings shall inform the alleged abuser or neglector of his right to appeal.

6. The written notification of the findings shall inform the alleged abuser or neglector of his right to review information about himself in the record with the following exceptions:

a. The identity of the person making the report.

b. Information provided by any law-enforcement official.

c. Information that may endanger the well-being of the child.

d. The identity of a witness or any other person if such release may endanger the life or safety of such witness or person.

B. In all cases in which an alleged act of child abuse or neglect is also being criminally investigated by a law-enforcement agency, and the local department is conducting a joint investigation with a law-enforcement officer in regard to such an alleged act, no information in the possession of the local department from such joint investigation shall be released by the local department except as authorized by the investigating law-enforcement officer or his supervisor or the local attorney for the Commonwealth.

C. Failure to comply with investigation procedures does not preclude a finding of abuse or neglect if such a finding is warranted by the facts.

2003, cc. 986, 1013.

§ 63.2-1517. Authority to take child into custody.

A. A physician or child-protective services worker of a local department or law-enforcement official investigating a report or complaint of abuse and neglect may take a child into custody for up to 72 hours without prior approval of parents or guardians provided:

1. The circumstances of the child are such that continuing in his place of residence or in the care or custody of the parent, guardian, custodian or other person responsible for the child's care, presents an imminent danger to the child's life or health to the extent that severe or irremediable injury would be likely to result or if evidence of abuse is perishable or subject to deterioration before a hearing can be held;

2. A court order is not immediately obtainable;

3. The court has set up procedures for placing such children;

4. Following taking the child into custody, the parents or guardians are notified as soon as practicable. Every effort shall be made to provide such notice in person;

5. A report is made to the local department; and

6. The court is notified and the person or agency taking custody of such child obtains, as soon as possible, but in no event later than 72 hours, an emergency removal order pursuant to § 16.1-251; however, if a preliminary removal order is issued after a hearing held in accordance with § 16.1-252 within 72 hours of the removal of the child, an emergency removal order shall not be necessary. Any person or agency petitioning for an emergency removal order after four hours have elapsed following taking custody of the child shall state the reasons therefor pursuant to § 16.1-251.

B. If the 72-hour period for holding a child in custody and for obtaining a preliminary or emergency removal order expires on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday or day on which the court is lawfully closed, the 72 hours shall be extended to the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday or day on which the court is lawfully closed.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.9; 1977, c. 559; 1992, c. 688; 1994, c. 643; 1998, c. 760; 2001, c. 837; 2002, c. 747; 2003, c. 508.

§ 63.2-1518. Authority to talk to child or sibling.

Any person required to make a report or conduct an investigation or family assessment, pursuant to this chapter may talk to any child suspected of being abused or neglected or to any of his siblings without consent of and outside the presence of his parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other person standing in loco parentis, or school personnel.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.10; 1979, c. 453; 1986, c. 308; 2000, c. 500; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1519. Physician-patient and husband-wife privileges inapplicable.

In any legal proceeding resulting from the filing of any report or complaint pursuant to this chapter, the physician-patient and husband-wife privileges shall not apply.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.11; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1520. Photographs and X-rays of child; use as evidence.

In any case of suspected child abuse, photographs and X-rays of the child may be taken without the consent of the parent or other person responsible for such child as a part of the medical evaluation. Photographs of the child may also be taken without the consent of the parent or other person responsible for such child as a part of the investigation or family assessment of the case by the local department or the court; however, such photographs shall not be used in lieu of medical evaluation. Such photographs and X-rays may be introduced into evidence in any subsequent proceeding.

The court receiving such evidence may impose such restrictions as to the confidentiality of photographs of any minor as it deems appropriate.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.13; 1978, c. 553; 2000, c. 500; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1521. Testimony by child using two-way closed-circuit television.

A. In any civil proceeding involving alleged abuse or neglect of a child pursuant to this chapter or pursuant to § 16.1-241, 16.1-251, 16.1-252, 16.1-253, 16.1-253.1, 16.1-253.4, 16.1-278.14, 16.1-279.1, 16.1-283, or 20-107.2, the child's attorney or guardian ad litem or, if the child has been committed to the custody of a local department, the attorney for the local department may apply for an order from the court that the testimony of the alleged victim or of a child witness be taken in a room outside the courtroom and be televised by two-way closed-circuit television. The person seeking such order shall apply for the order at least seven days before the trial date.

B. The provisions of this section shall apply to the following:

1. An alleged victim who was 14 years of age or under on the date of the alleged offense and is 16 or under at the time of the trial; and

2. Any child witness who is 14 years of age or under at the time of the trial.

C. The court may order that the testimony of the child be taken by closed-circuit television as provided in subsections A and B if it finds that the child is unavailable to testify in open court in the presence of the defendant, the jury, the judge, and the public, for any of the following reasons:

1. The child's persistent refusal to testify despite judicial requests to do so;

2. The child's substantial inability to communicate about the offense; or

3. The substantial likelihood, based upon expert opinion testimony, that the child will suffer severe emotional trauma from so testifying.

Any ruling on the child's unavailability under this subsection shall be supported by the court with findings on the record or with written findings in a court not of record.

D. In any proceeding in which closed-circuit television is used to receive testimony, the attorney for the child and the defendant's attorney and, if the child has been committed to the custody of a local board, the attorney for the local board shall be present in the room with the child, and the child shall be subject to direct and cross examination. The only other persons allowed to be present in the room with the child during his testimony shall be the guardian ad litem, those persons necessary to operate the closed-circuit equipment, and any other person whose presence is determined by the court to be necessary to the welfare and well-being of the child.

E. The child's testimony shall be transmitted by closed-circuit television into the courtroom for the defendant, jury, judge and public to view. The defendant shall be provided with a means of private, contemporaneous communication with his attorney during the testimony.

1988, c. 845, § 63.1-248.13:1; 1999, c. 668; 2002, c. 747; 2018, c. 564.

§ 63.2-1522. Admission of evidence of sexual acts with children.

A. In any civil proceeding involving alleged abuse or neglect of a child pursuant to this chapter or pursuant to §§ 16.1-241, 16.1-251, 16.1-252, 16.1-253, 16.1-283 or § 20-107.2, an out-of-court statement made by a child the age of twelve or under at the time the statement is offered into evidence, describing any act of a sexual nature performed with or on the child by another, not otherwise admissible by statute or rule, may be admissible in evidence if the requirements of subsection B are met.

B. An out-of-court statement may be admitted into evidence as provided in subsection A if:

1. The child testifies at the proceeding, or testifies by means of a videotaped deposition or closed-circuit television, and at the time of such testimony is subject to cross examination concerning the out-of-court statement or the child is found by the court to be unavailable to testify on any of these grounds:

a. The child's death;

b. The child's absence from the jurisdiction, provided such absence is not for the purpose of preventing the availability of the child to testify;

c. The child's total failure of memory;

d. The child's physical or mental disability;

e. The existence of a privilege involving the child;

f. The child's incompetency, including the child's inability to communicate about the offense because of fear or a similar reason; and

g. The substantial likelihood, based upon expert opinion testimony, that the child would suffer severe emotional trauma from testifying at the proceeding or by means of a videotaped deposition or closed-circuit television.

2. The child's out-of-court statement is shown to possess particularized guarantees of trustworthiness and reliability.

C. A statement may not be admitted under this section unless the proponent of the statement notifies the adverse party of his intention to offer the statement and the substance of the statement sufficiently in advance of the proceedings to provide the adverse party with a reasonable opportunity to prepare to meet the statement, including the opportunity to subpoena witnesses.

D. In determining whether a statement possesses particularized guarantees of trustworthiness and reliability under subdivision B 2, the court shall consider, but is not limited to, the following factors:

1. The child's personal knowledge of the event;

2. The age and maturity of the child;

3. Certainty that the statement was made, including the credibility of the person testifying about the statement and any apparent motive such person may have to falsify or distort the event including bias, corruption or coercion;

4. Any apparent motive the child may have to falsify or distort the event, including bias, corruption, or coercion;

5. The timing of the child's statement;

6. Whether more than one person heard the statement;

7. Whether the child was suffering pain or distress when making the statement;

8. Whether the child's age makes it unlikely that the child fabricated a statement that represents a graphic, detailed account beyond the child's knowledge and experience;

9. Whether the statement has internal consistency or coherence, and uses terminology appropriate to the child's age;

10. Whether the statement is spontaneous or directly responsive to questions;

11. Whether the statement is responsive to suggestive or leading questions; and

12. Whether extrinsic evidence exists to show the defendant's opportunity to commit the act complained of in the child's statement.

E. The court shall support with findings on the record, or with written findings in a court not of record, any rulings pertaining to the child's unavailability and the trustworthiness and reliability of the out-of-court statement.

1988, c. 892, § 63.1-248.13:2; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1523. Use of videotaped statements of complaining witnesses as evidence.

A. In any civil proceeding involving alleged abuse or neglect of a child pursuant to this chapter or pursuant to §§ 16.1-241, 16.1-251, 16.1-252, 16.1-253, 16.1-283 or § 20-107.2, a recording of a statement of the alleged victim of the offense, made prior to the proceeding, may be admissible as evidence if the requirements of subsection B are met and the court determines that:

1. The alleged victim is the age of twelve or under at the time the statement is offered into evidence;

2. The recording is both visual and oral, and every person appearing in, and every voice recorded on, the tape is identified;

3. The recording is on videotape or was recorded by other electronic means capable of making an accurate recording;

4. The recording has not been altered;

5. No attorney for any party to the proceeding was present when the statement was made;

6. The person conducting the interview of the alleged victim was authorized to do so by the child-protective services coordinator of the local department;

7. All persons present at the time the statement was taken, including the alleged victim, are present and available to testify or be cross examined at the proceeding when the recording is offered; and

8. The parties or their attorneys were provided with a list of all persons present at the recording and were afforded an opportunity to view the recording at least ten days prior to the scheduled proceedings.

B. A recorded statement may be admitted into evidence as provided in subsection A if:

1. The child testifies at the proceeding, or testifies by means of closed-circuit television, and at the time of such testimony is subject to cross examination concerning the recorded statement or the child is found by the court to be unavailable to testify on any of these grounds:

a. The child's death;

b. The child's absence from the jurisdiction, provided such absence is not for the purpose of preventing the availability of the child to testify;

c. The child's total failure of memory;

d. The child's physical or mental disability;

e. The existence of a privilege involving the child;

f. The child's incompetency, including the child's inability to communicate about the offense because of fear or a similar reason;

g. The substantial likelihood, based upon expert opinion testimony, that the child would suffer severe emotional trauma from testifying at the proceeding or by means of closed-circuit television; and

2. The child's recorded statement is shown to possess particularized guarantees of trustworthiness and reliability.

C. A recorded statement may not be admitted under this section unless the proponent of the statement notifies the adverse party of his intention to offer the statement and the substance of the statement sufficiently in advance of the proceedings to provide the adverse party with a reasonable opportunity to prepare to meet the statement, including the opportunity to subpoena witnesses.

D. In determining whether a recorded statement possesses particularized guarantees of trustworthiness and reliability under subdivision B 2, the court shall consider, but is not limited to, the following factors:

1. The child's personal knowledge of the event;

2. The age and maturity of the child;

3. Any apparent motive the child may have to falsify or distort the event, including bias, corruption, or coercion;

4. The timing of the child's statement;

5. Whether the child was suffering pain or distress when making the statement;

6. Whether the child's age makes it unlikely that the child fabricated a statement that represents a graphic, detailed account beyond the child's knowledge and experience;

7. Whether the statement has a "ring of verity," has internal consistency or coherence, and uses terminology appropriate to the child's age;

8. Whether the statement is spontaneous or directly responsive to questions;

9. Whether the statement is responsive to suggestive or leading questions; and

10. Whether extrinsic evidence exists to show the defendant's opportunity to commit the act complained of in the child's statement.

E. The court shall support with findings on the record, or with written findings in a court not of record, any rulings pertaining to the child's unavailability and the trustworthiness and reliability of the recorded statement.

1988, c. 900, § 63.1-248.13:3; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1524. Court may order certain examinations.

The court may order psychological, psychiatric and physical examinations of the child alleged to be abused or neglected and of the parents, guardians, caretakers or siblings of a child suspected of being neglected or abused.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.14; 1976, c. 186; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1525. Prima facie evidence for removal of child custody.

In the case of a petition in the court for removal of custody of a child alleged to have been abused or neglected, competent evidence by a physician that a child is abused or neglected shall constitute prima facie evidence to support such petition.

1975, c. 341, § 63.1-248.15; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1526. Appeals of certain actions of local departments.

A. A person who is suspected of or is found to have committed abuse or neglect may, within thirty days of being notified of that determination, request the local department rendering such determination to amend the determination and the local department's related records. Upon written request, the local department shall provide the appellant all information used in making its determination. Disclosure of the reporter's name or information which may endanger the well-being of a child shall not be released. The identity of a collateral witness or any other person shall not be released if disclosure may endanger his life or safety. Information prohibited from being disclosed by state or federal law or regulation shall not be released. The local department shall hold an informal conference or consultation where such person, who may be represented by counsel, shall be entitled to informally present testimony of witnesses, documents, factual data, arguments or other submissions of proof to the local department. With the exception of the local director, no person whose regular duties include substantial involvement with child abuse and neglect cases shall preside over the informal conference. If the local department refuses the request for amendment or fails to act within forty-five days after receiving such request, the person may, within thirty days thereafter, petition the Commissioner, who shall grant a hearing to determine whether it appears, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the determination or record contains information which is irrelevant or inaccurate regarding the commission of abuse or neglect by the person who is the subject of the determination or record and therefore shall be amended. A person who is the subject of a report who requests an amendment to the record, as provided above, has the right to obtain an extension for an additional specified period of up to sixty days by requesting in writing that the forty-five days in which the local department must act be extended. The extension period, which may be up to sixty days, shall begin at the end of the forty-five days in which the local department must act. When there is an extension period, the thirty-day period to request an administrative hearing shall begin on the termination of the extension period.

B. The Commissioner shall designate and authorize one or more members of his staff to conduct such hearings. The decision of any staff member so designated and authorized shall have the same force and effect as if the Commissioner had made the decision. The hearing officer shall have the authority to issue subpoenas for the production of documents and the appearance of witnesses. The hearing officer is authorized to determine the number of depositions that will be allowed and to administer oaths or affirmations to all parties and witnesses who plan to testify at the hearing. The Board shall adopt regulations necessary for the conduct of such hearings. Such regulations shall include provisions stating that the person who is the subject of the report has the right (i) to submit oral or written testimony or documents in support of himself and (ii) to be informed of the procedure by which information will be made available or withheld from him. In case of any information withheld, such person shall be advised of the general nature of such information and the reasons, for reasons of privacy or otherwise, that it is being withheld. Upon giving reasonable notice, either party at his own expense may depose a nonparty and submit such deposition at the hearing pursuant to Board regulation. Upon good cause shown, after a party's written motion, the hearing officer may issue subpoenas for the production of documents or to compel the attendance of witnesses at the hearing, except that alleged child victims of the person and their siblings shall not be subpoenaed, deposed or required to testify. The person who is the subject of the report may be represented by counsel at the hearing. Upon petition, the court shall have the power to enforce any subpoena that is not complied with or to review any refusal to issue a subpoena. Such decisions may not be further appealed except as part of a final decision that is subject to judicial review. Such hearing officers are empowered to order the amendment of such determination or records as is required to make them accurate and consistent with the requirements of this chapter or the regulations adopted hereunder. If, after hearing the facts of the case, the hearing officer determines that the person who is the subject of the report has presented information that was not available to the local department at the time of the local conference and which if available may have resulted in a different determination by the local department, he may remand the case to the local department for reconsideration. The local department shall have fourteen days in which to reconsider the case. If, at the expiration of fourteen days, the local department fails to act or fails to amend the record to the satisfaction of the appellant, the case shall be returned to the hearing officer for a determination. If aggrieved by the decision of the hearing officer, such person may obtain further review of the decision in accordance with Article 5 (§ 2.2-4025 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

C. Whenever an appeal of the local department's finding is made and a criminal charge is also filed against the appellant for the same conduct involving the same victim as investigated by the local department, the appeal process shall automatically be stayed until the criminal prosecution in circuit court is completed. During such stay, the appellant's right of access to the records of the local department regarding the matter being appealed shall also be stayed. Once the criminal prosecution in circuit court has been completed, the local department shall advise the appellant in writing of his right to resume his appeal within the time frames provided by law and regulation.

1988, c. 407, § 63.1-248.6:1; 1993, cc. 188, 955, 963; 1995, c. 7; 2002, c. 747.

Article 5. Oversight and Evaluation of Program.

§ 63.2-1527. Board oversight duties; Out-of-Family Investigations Advisory Committee.

A. The Board shall be responsible for establishing standards for out-of-family investigations and for the implementation of the family assessment track of the differential response system.

B. The Out-of-Family Investigations Advisory Committee (the Committee) is hereby established as an advisory committee in the executive branch of state government.

C. The Committee shall consist of 15 members as follows: one representative of public school employees, one representative of a hospital for children, one representative of a licensed child care center, one representative of a juvenile detention home, one representative of a public or private residential facility for children, one representative of a family day care home, one representative of a local department of Social Services, one representative of a religious organization with a program for children, one representative of Virginians for Child Abuse Prevention and six citizens of the Commonwealth at large. The Chairman of the Board shall appoint such persons for terms established by the Board.

D. The Committee shall advise the Board on the effectiveness of the policies and standards governing out-of-family investigations.

E. The Committee shall elect a chairman and vice-chairman from among its membership. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum. The meetings of the Committee shall be held at the call of the chairman or whenever the majority of the voting members so request.

F. Members shall receive no compensation for their services nor be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the discharge of their duties as provided in §§ 2.2-2813 and 2.2-2825.

G. The Department of Social Services shall provide staff support to the Committee. All agencies of the Commonwealth shall provide assistance to the Committee, upon request.

1993, c. 955, § 63.1-248.7:1; 2000, c. 500; 2002, c. 747; 2004, c. 103.

§ 63.2-1528. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2012, cc. 803 and 835, cl. 73.

§ 63.2-1529. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2009, c. 32.

Article 6. Virginia Child Protection Accountability System.

§ 63.2-1530. Virginia Child Protection Accountability System.

A. The Virginia Child Protection Accountability System (the System) is created to collect and make available to the public information on the response to reported cases of child abuse and neglect in the Commonwealth. The Department shall establish and maintain the System. The Board shall promulgate regulations to implement the provisions of this section.

B. The following information shall, notwithstanding any state law regarding privacy or confidentiality of records, be included in the System and made available to the public via a website maintained by the Department and in print format:

1. From the Department: (i) the total number of complaints alleging child abuse, neglect, or a combination thereof received; (ii) the total number of complaints deemed valid pursuant to § 63.2-1508; (iii) the total number of complaints investigated by the Department pursuant to subsection I of §§ 63.2-1503 and 63.2-1505; (iv) the total number of cases determined to be founded cases of abuse or neglect; and (v) the total number of cases resulting in a finding that the complaint was founded resulting in administrative appeal. Information reported pursuant to clause (v) shall be reported by total number of appeals to the local department, total number of appeals to the Department, and total number of appeals by outcome of the appeal. For each category of information required by this subdivision, the Department shall also report the total number of cases by type of abuse; by gender, age, and race of the alleged victim; and by the nature of the relationship between the alleged victim and alleged abuser.

2. From the Department of State Police, annually, in a format approved by the Department of Social Services, arrest and disposition statistics for violations of §§ 18.2-48, 18.2-61, 18.2-63, 18.2-64.1, 18.2-67.1, 18.2-67.2, 18.2-67.3, 18.2-67.4, 18.2-355, 18.2-361, 18.2-366, 18.2-370 through 18.2-370.2, 18.2-371, 18.2-371.1, 18.2-374.1, 18.2-374.1:1, 18.2-374.3, 18.2-387, and 40.1-103 for inclusion in the Child Protection Accountability System.

3. From every circuit court in the Commonwealth for which data is available through the statewide Case Management System: (i) the total number of (a) misdemeanor convictions appealed from the district court to the circuit court, (b) felony charges certified from the district court to the circuit court, and (c) charges brought by direct indictment in the circuit court that involve a violation of any Code section set forth in subdivision 2; (ii) the total number of cases appealed, certified, or transferred to the court or brought by direct indictment in the circuit court involving a violation of any Code section set forth in subdivision 2 that result in a trial, including the number of bench trials and the number of jury trials; and (iii) the total number of trials involving a violation of any Code section set forth in subdivision 2 resulting in (a) a plea agreement, (b) transfer to another court, (c) a finding of not guilty, (d) conviction on a lesser included offense, or (e) conviction on all charges, by type of trial.

4. From the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission, information on sentences imposed for offenses listed in subdivision 2, including (i) the name of the sentencing judge, (ii) the offense or offenses for which a sentence was imposed, (iii) the age of the victim and offender, (iv) the relationship between the victim and the offender, (v) the locality in which the offense occurred, (vi) the sentence imposed and the actual time served, (vii) whether the sentence was an upward or downward departure from the sentencing guidelines or within the sentencing guidelines, and (viii) the reasons given for the departure, if any, from the sentencing guidelines.

5. From the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia, information by locality on cases from the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts' Case Management System involving (i) children alleged to be abused or neglected, including (a) the number of petitions filed, (b) the number of cases in which an emergency removal order was issued, (c) the number of cases in which a preliminary removal order was issued prior to an adjudicatory hearing, (d) the number of cases in which a preliminary removal order or a preliminary child protective order or both were issued at a preliminary hearing, and (e) the number of cases in which a preliminary child protective order or a child protective order was issued other than at a preliminary hearing; and (ii) family abuse cases, including (a) the number of family abuse emergency protective orders issued by magistrates and juvenile and domestic relations district courts pursuant to § 16.1-253.4, (b) the number of family abuse protective petitions filed, and (c) the number of family abuse protective orders issued pursuant to § 16.1-279.1.

Information required to be reported pursuant to subdivisions 1 through 5 shall be reported annually in a format approved by the Department of Social Services and aggregated by locality.

C. Data collected pursuant to subsection B shall be made available to the public on a website established and maintained by the Department and shall also be made readily available to the public in print format. Information included in the System shall be presented in such a manner that no individual identifying information shall be included.

2009, c. 445; 2010, cc. 664, 726; 2012, cc. 113, 661.

Chapter 16. Adult Services.

Article 1. Adult Services.

§ 63.2-1600. Home-based services.

Each local board shall provide for the delivery of home-based services that include homemaker, companion, or chore services that will allow individuals to attain or maintain self-care and are likely to prevent or reduce dependency, subject to the supervision and in accordance with regulations of the Commissioner for Aging and Rehabilitative Services as provided in Article 4 (§ 51.5-144 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of Title 51.5. Eligibility for such services shall be determined according to regulations of the Commissioner for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. Such services shall be provided to the extent that federal or state matching funds are made available to each locality.

983, c. 605, § 63.1-55.01; 2002, c. 747; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 63.2-1601. Authority to provide adult foster care services.

Each local board is authorized to provide adult foster care services that may include recruitment, approval, and supervision subject to the supervision and in accordance with regulations of the Commissioner for Aging and Rehabilitative Services as provided in Article 4 (§ 51.5-144 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of Title 51.5.

1978, c. 180, § 63.1-55.1:1; 2002, c. 747; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 63.2-1601.1. Criminal history check for agency approved providers of services to adults.

A. Each local board shall obtain, in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board, criminal history record information from the Central Criminal Records Exchange of any individual the local board is considering approving as a provider of home-based services pursuant to § 63.2-1600 or adult foster care pursuant to § 63.2-1601. The local board may also obtain such a criminal records search on all adult household members residing in the home of the individual with whom the adult is to be placed. The local board shall not hire for compensated employment any persons who have been convicted of any offense set forth in clause (i) of the definition of barrier crime in § 19.2-392.02. If approval as an agency approved provider is denied because of information obtained through a Central Criminal Records Exchange search, the local board, upon request, shall provide a copy of the information obtained to the individual who is the subject of the search. Further dissemination of the criminal history record information is prohibited.

B. In emergency circumstances, each local board may obtain from a criminal justice agency the criminal history record information from the Central Criminal Records Exchange for the criminal records search authorized by this section. The provision of home-based services shall be immediately terminated or the adult shall be removed from the home immediately, if any adult resident has been convicted of any offense set forth in clause (i) of the definition of barrier crime in § 19.2-392.02.

2007, c. 572; 2017, c. 809.

§ 63.2-1602. Other adult services.

Subject to the supervision and in accordance with regulations of the Commissioner for Aging and Rehabilitative Services as provided in Article 4 (§ 51.5-144 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of Title 51.5, each local board shall:

1. Participate in nursing home pre-admission screenings of all individuals pursuant to § 32.1-330;

2. Provide assisted living facility assessments of residents and applicants pursuant to § 63.2-1804;

3. Participate in long-term care service coordination pursuant to § 51.5-138;

4. Provide social services or public assistance, as appropriate, to individuals discharged from state hospitals or training centers pursuant to §§ 37.2-505 and 37.2-837; and

5. Participate in other programs pursuant to state and federal law.

2002, c. 747; 2005, c. 716; 2012, cc. 476, 507, 803, 835.

§ 63.2-1602.1. Repealed.

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

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.).

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.

§ 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 exploitation 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 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 shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. Any subsequent conviction of this provision shall be 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.

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.

§ 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.

Article 3. Domestic Violence Prevention Services.

§ 63.2-1611. Policy of Commonwealth; Department designated agency to coordinate state efforts.

The General Assembly declares that it is the policy of this Commonwealth to support the efforts of public and private community groups seeking to provide assistance to and treatment for the victims of domestic violence and to provide recognition to the need to combat all phases of domestic violence in this Commonwealth. To this end the Department is designated as the state agency responsible for coordinating state efforts in this regard.

1980, c. 597, § 63.1-315; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1612. Responsibilities of Department; domestic violence prevention and services.

It shall be the responsibility of the Department, to the extent funds are appropriated by the General Assembly or otherwise made available:

1. To support, strengthen, evaluate, and monitor community-based domestic violence programs funded by the Department and to act as the administrator for state grant funds and the disbursal of federal funds pursuant to §§ 63.2-1614 and 63.2-1615;

2. To collaborate with the Statewide Domestic Violence Coalition in developing and implementing community-based programs to respond to and prevent domestic violence;

3. To prepare, disseminate, and present educational programs and materials on domestic violence to the local departments, community provider agencies, and the general public;

4. To support, strengthen, and act as a resource to local departments on issues of domestic violence, particularly as they relate to both adult and child protective services and self-sufficiency;

5. To establish minimum standards of training and provide educational programs to train workers in the fields of child and adult protective services in local departments and community-based domestic violence programs funded by the Department to identify domestic violence and provide effective referrals for appropriate services;

6. To provide training and educational opportunities on effective collaboration for all staff of local departments and community-based domestic violence programs;

7. To work with the Statewide Domestic Violence Coalition to (a) develop policies and procedures that guide the work of persons providing services to victims of domestic violence and their children; (b) implement methods to preserve the confidentiality of all domestic violence services records pursuant to §§ 63.2-104 and 63.2-104.1 in order to protect the rights and safety of victims of domestic violence; (c) develop policies and implement methods to assure the confidentiality of records pertaining to the address or location of any shelter or facility assisted under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, 42 U.S.C. § 10401 et seq.; (d) collect, prepare, and disseminate statistical data on the occurrence of domestic violence and the services provided throughout the Commonwealth; (e) operate the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault 24-hour toll-free hotline and the Statewide Domestic Violence Database (Vadata); and (f) provide a clearinghouse of information and technical assistance on intervention and prevention of domestic violence;

8. To encourage the use of existing information and referral agencies to provide specialized information on domestic violence;

9. To develop and maintain a statewide list of available community and state resources for the victims of domestic violence;

10. To provide technical assistance on establishing shelters, self-help groups and other necessary service delivery programs;

11. To provide leadership and coordination within the Department on domestic violence as it relates to child and adult abuse and neglect, benefits programs, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, foster care prevention, child support enforcement, child care, and the promotion of healthy family relationships; and

12. To promote collaboration and cooperation with other state agencies, including the Department of Criminal Justice Services, the Department of Health, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Virginia Employment Commission, for technical assistance, data collection and service delivery to facilitate the appropriate response to victims of domestic violence.

1980, c. 597, § 63.1-317; 2002, c. 747; 2005, cc. 638, 685; 2006, c. 135.

§ 63.2-1613. Responsibilities of local departments.

Local departments may, to the extent that funds are available:

1. Promote interagency cooperation at the local level for technical assistance, data collection and service delivery; and

2. Provide services directly to victims of domestic violence.

1985, c. 20, § 63.1-317.1; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1614. Authority to receive and grant funds.

Subject to regulations of the Board and to the availability of state or federal funds for services to the victims of domestic violence, the Department is authorized to:

1. Receive state and federal funds for services to the victims of domestic violence;

2. Disperse funds through matching grants to local, public or private nonprofit agencies to provide service programs for the victims of domestic violence; and

3. Develop and implement grant mechanisms for funding such local services.

1980, c. 597, § 63.1-318; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-1615. What functions and services may be funded.

In dispersing funds through grants to local agencies to provide service programs for the victims of domestic violence, the Department may fund both administrative functions and the delivery of direct services, including a portion of: the operational costs of offices and shelters including staff, rent, utilities, travel and supplies; twenty-four-hour crisis intervention hotlines; counseling; information and referral; self-help groups; transportation; emergency shelter; and follow-up services.

1980, c. 597, § 63.1-319; 2002, c. 747.

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

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