Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records - Virginia

Date: February 2022

Confidentiality of Records

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63.2-1514; 63.2-1515

The State Department of Social Services shall maintain a child abuse and neglect information system that includes a central registry of founded complaints. The information contained in the central registry shall not be open to inspection by the public.

Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63.2-1514; 63.2-1515; 63.2-1503

The State department shall maintain all (i) unfounded investigations, (ii) family assessments, and (iii) reports or complaints determined to be not valid in a record that is separate from the central registry and accessible only to the State department and to local departments for child protective services. The subject of the complaint or report shall have access to his or her own record.

Appropriate disclosure of information from the central registry may be made in accordance with the regulations of the State Board of Social Services.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the local department, in accordance with board regulations, shall transmit information regarding reports, complaints, family assessments, and investigations involving children of active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces or members of their household to family advocacy representatives of the U.S. Armed Forces.

When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed

Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-1530

The Virginia Child Protection Accountability System collects and makes available to the public information on the response to reported cases of child abuse and neglect. The department shall maintain the system. Notwithstanding any State law regarding confidentiality of records, the following information shall be included in the system:

  • From the department, the total number of the following:
    • Complaints
    • Complaints deemed valid
    • Complaints investigated
    • Cases determined to be founded
    • Cases by type of abuse; by gender, age, and race of the alleged victim; and by the nature of the relationship between the alleged victim and alleged abuser
  • From the Department of State Police, arrest and disposition statistics
  • From every circuit court, data on the total number of felony charges and conviction on all charges, by type of trial
  • From the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission, information on sentences imposed for criminal offenses, including, but not limited to, the offense for which a sentence was imposed, the age of the victim and offender, and the relationship between the victim and the offender
  • From the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts' Case Management System data regarding child abuse and neglect, including the following:
    • The number of petitions filed
    • The number of emergency removal orders issued
    • The number of cases in which a preliminary removal order or a preliminary child protective order or both were issued at a preliminary hearing

The data collected shall be made available to the public on a website established and maintained by the department and also be made readily available to the public in print format. Information included in the system shall be presented in such a manner that no individual identifying information shall be included.

Use of Records for Employment Screening

Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-1515

The State department shall respond to requests for a search of the central registry made by local departments, local school boards, and governing boards or administrators of accredited private schools regarding applicants for employment.

A central registry check shall be conducted at no charge of a person who has applied to be a volunteer with the following:

  • A Virginia affiliate of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America
  • A Virginia affiliate of Compeer
  • A Virginia affiliate of Childhelp USA
  • A volunteer fire company or volunteer emergency medical services agency
  • A court-appointed special advocate program