Recommendations: Improving Virginia's Foster Care System.
Virginia General Assembly. Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission.
State Resource Technical Report
Published: December 2018
Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (Virginia)
919 East Main Street Suite 2101
Richmond, VA 23219
This brief presents 34 recommendations for improving the foster care system in Virginia. It begins with a recommendation to direct the Virginia Department of Social Services to thoroughly review all the information collected through the agency case reviews conducted in 2017 and 2018 by regional staff, re-communicate all serious case-specific or systemic safety-related concerns identified in past reviews to the relevant departments of social services, communicate such concerns to the relevant local boards of social services, and work with local department staff to resolve all identified safety problems. Additional recommendations address the underutilization of the CANS assessment in case planning and service provision for children in the foster care system, funding a director of foster care health and safety, requiring an annual search for relatives of children with no clear permanent placement options, facilitating the approval of relatives to serve as foster parents, developing a statewide strategic plan for recruiting and retaining foster families, reviewing congregate care, requiring caseworker visits with birth parents at least once every two months as long as reunification remains the foster care goal, requiring documentation of reasons for not initiating a termination of parental rights petition after 15 months in foster care, expediting the appeals process for termination of parents rights cases, developing a list of children who have been in foster care for more than 36 months to be updated quarterly, establishing a caseload standard, address the recruitment and retaining of foster care caseworkers, and evaluating foster care cases, and developing a plan for facilitating effective State supervision of the delivery of foster care services.
Virginia; child welfare reform; foster children; proposed legislation; child welfare agencies; caseload; recruitment; foster parent retention; family reunification; termination of parental rights; foster care drift; documentation; standards; guidelines