Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect - Virginia

Date:

Professionals Required to Report
Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-1509

The following professionals are required to report: 

  • Persons licensed to practice medicine or any of the healing arts
  • Hospital residents or interns and nurses
  • Social workers, family-services specialists, or probation officers
  • Teachers or other employees at public or private schools, kindergartens, or child day programs as that term is defined in § 22.1-289.02
  • Persons providing full-time or part-time child care for pay on a regular basis
  • Mental health professionals
  • Law enforcement officers, animal control officers, or mediators 
  • Professional staff employed by private or State-operated hospitals, institutions, or facilities to which children have been placed for care and treatment
  • Persons aged 18 or older associated with or employed by any public or private organization responsible for the care, custody, or control of children
  • Court-appointed special advocates
  • Persons aged 18 or older who have received training approved by the Department of Social Services for the purposes of recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect
  • Persons employed by a local department who determine eligibility for public assistance
  • Emergency medical services providers, unless such providers immediately report the matter directly to the attending physician at the hospital to which the child is transported
  • Persons employed by public or private institutions of higher education, other than an attorney who is employed by a public or private institution of higher education as it relates to information gained in the course of providing legal representation to a client
  • Athletic coaches, directors, or other persons aged 18 or older employed by or volunteering with public or private sports organizations or teams
  • Administrators or employees aged 18 or older of public or private day camps, youth centers, and youth recreation programs
  • Ministers, priests, rabbis, imams, or duly accredited practitioners of any religious organization or denomination usually referred to as a church
  • Any person who engages in the practice of behavior analysis, as defined in § 54.1-2900

Training Requirements for Mandatory Reporters

Training for mandated reporters is not addressed in the laws and policies reviewed.

The Virginia Department of Social Services offers an array of training resources on its Child Protective Services - Trainings & Resources webpage.

Reporting by Other Persons
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63.2-1509(A)(13); 63.2-1510

Persons required to report suspected child maltreatment include any person aged 18 or older who has received training approved by the Department of Social Services for the purposes of recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect.

Any other person who suspects that a child is abused or neglected may report. 

Institutional Responsibility to Report
Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-1509

If the information is received by a teacher, staff member, resident, intern, or nurse in the course of professional services in a hospital, school, or similar institution, such person may, in place of making a report, immediately notify the person in charge of the institution or department, or their designee, who shall make the report forthwith. If the initial report of suspected abuse or neglect is made to the person in charge of the institution or department or their designee, such person shall notify the teacher, staff member, resident, intern, or nurse who made the initial report when the report of suspected child abuse or neglect is made to the local department or to the toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline, and of the name of the individual receiving the report, and shall forward any communication resulting from the report, including any information about any actions taken regarding the report.

Standards for Making a Report
Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-1509

A report is required when, in their professional or official capacity, a reporter has reason to suspect that a child is abused or neglected. For purposes of this section, 'reason to suspect that a child is abused or neglected' shall include the following: 

  • A finding made by a health-care provider within 6 weeks of the birth of a child that the child was born affected by substance abuse or experiencing withdrawal symptoms resulting from in utero drug exposure 
  • A diagnosis made by a health-care provider within 4 years following a child's birth that the child has an illness, disease, or condition that, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, is attributable to maternal abuse of a controlled substance during pregnancy 
  • A diagnosis made by a health-care provider within 4 years following a child's birth that the child has a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder attributable to in utero exposure to alcohol

When 'reason to suspect' is based upon this subsection, that fact shall be included in the report along with the facts relied upon by the person making the report. 

Privileged Communications
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63.2-1509; 63.2-1519

A minister, priest, rabbi, imam, or duly accredited practitioner of any religious organization or denomination must report unless the information supporting the suspicion of child abuse or neglect is required by the doctrine of the religious organization or denomination to be kept in a confidential manner.

In any legal proceeding resulting from the filing of any report or complaint pursuant to this chapter, the physician-patient and spousal privileges shall not apply. 

Inclusion of the Reporter's Name in the Report

The reporter is not specifically required by statute to provide their name in the report. 

Disclosure of the Reporter's Identity
Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-1514

Any person who is the subject of an unfounded report who believes that the report was made in bad faith or with malicious intent may petition the court for the release of the records of the investigation or family assessment. If the court determines that there is a reasonable question of fact as to whether the report was made in bad faith or with malicious intent and that disclosure of the identity of the reporter would not be likely to endanger the life or safety of the reporter, it shall provide to the petitioner a copy of the records of the investigation or family assessment.