Child Protective Services

Abuse and neglect of children is a serious problem in Virginia. Each year in this state over 48,000 children are reported for suspected abuse or neglect. The Code of Virginia requires local social services departments to respond to all valid reports and to assist families in protecting their children from harm.

The purpose of the child protective services program is to protect children; support and preserve families, when possible; arrange protective and other needed services; and prevent maltreatment.

Child Abuse & Neglect Definitions
Section 63.1-248.2 of the Code of Virginia defines an abused or neglected child as any child under 18 whose parent, or other person responsible for the care of the child:
  • Causes or threatens to cause a non-accidental physical or mental injury;
  • Neglects or refuses to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, emotional nurturing, or health care;
  • Abandons the child;
  • Fails to provide adequate supervision in relationship to the child’s age and level of development; and
  • Commits or allows to be committed any illegal sexual act upon a child, including incest, rape, fondling, indecent exposure, prostitution, or allows a child to be used in any sexual explicit visual material.
Infants who have been medically diagnosed for exposure to non-prescription drugs or alcohol during pregnancy are also considered to be at risk of abuse or neglect. Attending physicians are required to report these cases to CPS.