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Petition Information
Petition Title Clarification that release of findings or information is mandatory unless specifically exempted.
Date Filed 12/8/2009    [Transmittal Sheet]
Petitioner J. Thompson Shrader on behalf of the Amherst County Social Services Board 
Petitioner's Request

Mr. Shrader, on behalf of the Amherst County Social Services Board, states:  "…this regulation's revision to require the release of information unless doing so 'would be likely to' cause the harm set forth, will have the unintended consequence of placing child abuse and neglect victims at risk of further harm.  Rather, the Amherst County Social Services Board suggests that the regulation should be further amended to permit the withholding of information even it if only 'may' cause such harm."

 
Agency's Plan

(1) The regulation will be put out for a 21-day period for acceptance of written public comment on the petition to amend the regulation.  (2) The State Board of Social Services (Board) will review and consider the written public comment received during the 21-day public comment period at its February 17-18, 2010 meeting.  (3) The Board will issue a written decision to grant or deny the petitioner's request on February 18, 2009.

 
Comment Period Ended 2/8/2010
1 comments
Agency Decision Take no action [Transmittal Sheet]    
Response Date 2/17/2010
Agency Decision Summary

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) advised the Department of Social Services (DSS) by a letter dated June 2, 2009 that 22 VAC 40-190-100(B)(3)(b)(2) did not make clear that local deparments of social services (LDSS) do not have the discretion to withhold findings or information about a case of child abuse or neglect resulting in a child fatality or near fatality. ACF directed the State Board of Social Services (Board) to make the regulatory language consistent with the Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA), which requires states to have procedures or provisions that allow the public to access findings or information about a child abuse or neglect case that results in the fatality or near fatality of a child. The regulation in question, 22 VAC 40-190-100, was changed to clarify that release of these findings or information is mandatory by changing one word - "may" was changed to "must." In a February 4, 2010, e-mail message, ACF confirmed that to change "must" back to "may" would violate the requirements of CAPTA and would be contrary to ACF's direction to the Board.

During the public comment period only two comments were received. The petitioner submitted comments in support of the petition. Commenter Jacklyn Trudell opposed the petition.

Contact Information
Name / Title: L. Richard Martin, Jr.  / Director, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
Address: Office of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
801 East Main Street, Room 1507
Richmond, 23219
Email Address: richard.martin@dss.virginia.gov
Telephone: (804)726-7902    FAX: (804)726-7906    TDD: (800)828-1120