RD13 - Temporary Placements of Children

Executive Summary:
During the 2015 General Assembly Session, Delegate Kathy J. Byron introduced House Bill 2034. It provides that a parent or legal custodian of a minor may delegate to another person by a properly executed power of attorney any powers regarding care, custody, or property of the minor for a period not exceeding one year. Members of the House Courts of Justice Committee reviewed the bill and determined that further study would be appropriate. The Committee passed the bill by indefinitely and requested that the Commission on Youth study the provisions set forth in the bill. The Commission on Youth designed a study plan to consider the implications of various policy options to improve Virginia’s current process of providing parents with support and respite during difficult times while having children stay in a safe environment with the ultimate goal of reunification. Text of the introduced version of House Bill 2034 can be found under Appendix A.

After presentations of the findings and recommendations at the Commission’s September 8 and October 20, 2015 meetings, and receipt of public comment, the Commission on Youth approved the following recommendation:

Recommendation 1

Request a budget amendment in the 2016 budget (caboose) and 2016 – 2018 biennial budget for the Department of Social Services to partner with Patrick Henry Family Services to implement a pilot program in the area encompassing Planning District 11 (Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Campbell Counties and the City of Lynchburg) for the temporary placements of children for children and families in crisis.

This pilot program would allow a parent or legal custodian of a minor, with the assistance of Patrick Henry Family Services, to delegate to another person by a properly executed power of attorney any powers regarding care, custody, or property of the minor for temporary placement for a period that is not greater than 90 days. This program would allow for an option of a one-time 90 day extension. Prior to the expiration of the 180 day period, if the child is unable to return to his home, then Patrick Henry Family Services shall contact the local department of social services and request an assessment of the child and an evaluation of services needed and to determine if a petition to assess the care and custody of the child should be filed in the local juvenile and domestic relations court.

The Department of Social Services shall ensure that this pilot program meets the following specific programmatic and safety requirements outlined in 22 VAC 40-131 and 22 VAC 40-191.

• The pilot program organization shall meet the background check requirements described in 22 VAC 40-191.

• The pilot program organization shall provide pre-service and ongoing training for temporary placement providers and staff (22 VAC 40-131-210 and 22 VAC 40-131-150).

• The pilot program organization shall develop and implement written policies and procedures for governing active and closed cases, admissions, monitoring the administration of medications, prohibiting corporal punishment, ensuring that children are not subjected to abuse or neglect, investigating allegations of misconduct toward children, implementing the child’s back-up emergency care plan, assigning designated casework staff, management of all records, discharge policies, and the use of seclusion and restraint (22 VAC 40-131-90).

The Department of Social Services shall evaluate the pilot program and determine if this model of prevention is effective. A report of the evaluation findings and recommendations shall be submitted to the Governor and Chairs of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees as well as the Commission on Youth by December 1, 2017.