Vol. 28 Iss. 10 - January 16, 2012

Chapter 131
Final Regulation

REGISTRAR'S NOTICE: The regulatory action to repeal 22VAC40-130, Minimum Standards for Licensed Private Child Placing Agencies, and promulgate 22VAC40-131, Standards for Licensed Child-Placing Agencies, was suspended pursuant to § 2.2-4007.06 of the Code of Virginia for an additional 30-day public review and comment period after the State Board of Social Services adopted the final regulation. The suspension was published in 28:1 VA.R. 34 September 12, 2011. Subsequently, the board readopted the final regulation without amendment on December 14, 2011, and set a new effective date of May 1, 2012. Since no changes were made to the regulation since its initial publication in 27:25 VA.R. 2675-2717 August 15, 2011, the text of the regulation is not set out.

Titles of Regulations: 22VAC40-130. Minimum Standards for Licensed Private Child Placing Agencies (repealing 22VAC40-130-10 through 22VAC40-130-550).

22VAC40-131. Standards for Licensed Child-Placing Agencies (adding 22VAC40-131-10 through 22VAC40-131-610).

Statutory Authority: §§ 63.2-217 and 63.2-1734 of the Code of Virginia.

Effective Date: May 1, 2012.

Agency Contact: Joni S. Baldwin, Program Development Consultant, Division of Licensing Programs, Department of Social Services, 801 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219, telephone (804) 726-7162, FAX (804) 726-7132, or email


This regulatory action repeals the existing regulation, 22VAC40-130, and establishes a comprehensive new regulation, 22VAC40-131, for licensed private child-placing agencies. The comprehensive new regulation is intended to: (i) improve clarity; (ii) reflect current federal and state law; (iii) align home approvals, supervision, monitoring practices, and responsibilities of private child-placing agencies with public child-placing agencies; (iv) remove intrusive and burdensome language; and (v) provide greater protection for children in care. The new regulation creates consistency between providers approved by licensed child-placing agencies and local departments of social services, as required by federal regulations, identified in the federal Child and Family Services Review, and included in the Department of Social Services' Performance Improvement Plan.

Major components of the new regulation include incorporating changes for consistency with 22VAC40-211, Resource, Foster and Adoptive Family Home Approval Standards, including: (i) definitions; (ii) home provider training mandates; (iii) home study requirements, streamlining the provider approval process, and documentation protocols; (iv) safety of the providers' home environment; and (v) background check requirements.

Although most of the provisions in the new regulations are not different in effect from those in current regulations, there are several substantive changes as follows:

1. Specify how many treatment foster care cases may be handled at one time by a caseworker,

2. Allow executive directors of social services to have a doctorate or master's degree in any subject but require them to have five years experience rather than the currently required three,

3. Specify topics that must be covered in training for foster parents,

4. Increase the time allowed after a foster care placement for the child-placing agency to complete a full written assessment from 30 days to 45 days, and

5. Change bedroom requirements so that children over the age of two may not share a bed and children over the age of three may not share a bedroom with a child of the opposite gender.

Substantive revisions in the new regulation from proposed to final include: (i) changing the definition of "serious incident reports" to include the requirement to report incidents involving criminal activity and police intervention; (ii) allowing parents with adoption experience to serve on the agency's board; (iii) changing language pertaining to discrimination regarding the denial or delay of a child's placement or regarding the denial of an opportunity for persons to apply to be a foster or adoptive parent to make the language consistent with 42 USC § 671; (iv) allowing the agency to develop preservice training for new providers based on their program statement and description: short-term foster families are no longer required to complete this training; (v) allowing one parent to sign the entrustment agreement instead of requiring both parents to sign the agreement to be consistent with the Code of Virginia; (vi) changing the requirement for Interstate Compact approval of a placement of an out-of-state child in Virginia to allow the child to be placed with verbal approval from Interstate Compact: verbal approval will be followed by written approval; (vii) adding a requirement for the licensee to work collaboratively and cooperatively with the local education authority to ensure educational stability and school enrollment for children in care; (viii) requiring one face-to-face contact with the child in the child's placement setting every 60 days; (ix) requiring that the licensee inform the local departments who have referred children to the licensee for placement of where the children are placed at all times, including permanent, nonpermanent and short-term placement settings; (x) requiring the licensee to be responsible for compliance with all elements of 22VAC40-131-370 H 3 for active and closed file maintenance; (xi) clarifying the requirement for staffing of treatment foster care to provide the flexibility to have either at least one full-time or part-time staff with hours equivalent to a full-time position; (xii) removing the section that referenced state board policy regarding involuntary termination of parental rights and adding a requirement to be in compliance with other legal requirements at the suggestion of the Attorney General; (xiii) clarifying the Adoption Resource Exchange of Virginia registration requirements to specify the timeframes or circumstances that the licensee must register in the Adoption Resource Exchange of Virginia the prospective adoptive families who will accept a child with special needs; (ix) aligning the license's responsibility to provide necessary and appropriate services to children with special needs with requirements of the Code of Virginia; and (xv) adding a requirement for the licensee to include information about the child's education when providing full factual information about the child to adoptive parents.

Summary of Public Comments and Agency's Response: A summary of comments made by the public and the agency's response may be obtained from the promulgating agency or viewed at the office of the Registrar of Regulations.

VA.R. Doc. No. R10-2036; Filed December 15, 2011, 3:51 p.m.