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.

Terms Used In Virginia Code 63.2-900

  • Commissioner: means the Commissioner of the Department, his designee or authorized representative. See Virginia Code 63.2-100
  • Department: means the State Department of Social Services. See Virginia Code 63.2-100
  • Foster care placement: means placement of a child through (i) an agreement between the parents or guardians and the local board where legal custody remains with the parents or guardians or (ii) an entrustment or commitment of the child to the local board or licensed child-placing agency. See Virginia Code 63.2-100
  • Foster home: means a residence approved by a child-placing agency or local board in which any child, other than a child by birth or adoption of such person or a child who is the subject of a power of attorney to delegate parental or legal custodial powers by his parents or legal custodian to the natural person who has been designated the child's legal guardian pursuant to Chapter 10 of Title 20 and who exercises legal authority over the child on a continuous basis for at least 24 hours without compensation, resides as a member of the household. See Virginia Code 63.2-100
  • Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
  • in writing: include any representation of words, letters, symbols, numbers, or figures, whether (i) printed or inscribed on a tangible medium or (ii) stored in an electronic or other medium and retrievable in a perceivable form and whether an electronic signature authorized by Chapter 42. See Virginia Code 1-257
  • Independent living: means a planned program of services designed to assist a child age 16 and over and persons who are former foster care children or were formerly committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice and are between the ages of 18 and 21 in transitioning to self-sufficiency. See Virginia Code 63.2-100
  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • Kinship care: means the full-time care, nurturing, and protection of children by relatives. See Virginia Code 63.2-100
  • Local board: means the local board of social services representing one or more counties or cities. See Virginia Code 63.2-100
  • Locality: means a county, city, or town as the context may require. See Virginia Code 1-221
  • Person: includes any individual, corporation, partnership, association, cooperative, limited liability company, trust, joint venture, government, political subdivision, or any other legal or commercial entity and any successor, representative, agent, agency, or instrumentality thereof. See Virginia Code 1-230
  • Process: includes subpoenas, the summons and complaint in a civil action, and process in statutory actions. See Virginia Code 1-237
  • Social services: means foster care, adoption, adoption assistance, child-protective services, domestic violence services, or any other services program implemented in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board. See Virginia Code 63.2-100

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; however, the local board shall seek to place the child with a foster family within the locality of the local board or a nearby locality through the collaborative local board placement program set forth in subsection F, provided that such placement is in the best interests of the child. 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.

E. Every local board shall submit to the Department through its statewide automated system the names of all foster parents licensed to provide foster care services in the locality served by the local board and update such list quarterly.

F. The Department shall establish and implement a collaborative local board placement program to increase kinship placements and the number of locally approved foster homes. Such program shall require local boards within each Department of Social Services region to work collaboratively to (i) facilitate approval of kinship foster parents through engagement, assessment, and training and (ii) expand the pool of available foster homes within and across the localities of such local boards.

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; 2019, c. 446; 2022, Sp. Sess. I, c. 10.