P.O. BOX 2120




March 1, 2002




Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Recommended Procedures and Protocol for Local Agreements for Handling Child Abuse or Neglect Reports


The purpose of this memo is to share recently revised procedures and protocol for handling suspected child abuse and neglect reports. The Code of Virginia requires certain professionals to report suspected abuse or neglect of children. These include all persons employed by public schools. The purpose of required reporting is to identify suspected abused and neglected children as soon as possible so that they can be protected from further harm.


In order to implement this requirement, it is important that teachers and other school personnel (1) understand their responsibility as mandated reporters and (2) cooperate with the local social service agency in identifying and reporting suspected cases of abuse and neglect.


In January 2002, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) revised their interagency agreement related to reporting child abuse and neglect. The purpose of the agreement is to facilitate maximum cooperation between the two departments at the state and local levels in assuring the reporting, the investigation, confidentiality and follow-up requirements of all suspected instances of child abuse and neglect. This agreement also addresses neglect or exploitation of students with disabilities aged 18 to 22, that come to the attention of public school personnel.


In order to facilitate cooperation between public schools and local departments of social services, VDOE and VDSS encourage the development of a local interagency agreement. Recommended Procedures for Local Agreements between Schools and Local Departments of Social Services, (Attachment A) is offered as suggested protocol for handling suspected child abuse and neglect reports.

The information in the protocol recommends the review of existing policies and procedures for reporting and releasing records to VDSS to ensure compliance with state and federal requirements.


The Mandated Reporter Assistance Series published by VDSS is a valuable resource for school divisions as they prepare information on child abuse and neglect for mandated reporters. These booklets are designed to help educators, school nurses and law enforcement personnel recognize and understand abuse and neglect of children; to improve the reporting accuracy when there is suspicion of child abuse or neglect; and to provide strategies for interdisciplinary collaboration that will facilitate a sensitive and effective response. You may contact the Virginia Department of Social Services, Child Protective Services Unit at (804) 692-1259 to purchase copies of the booklet.


If you have any questions regarding the recommended procedures for your local interagency agreement or any questions regarding child abuse and neglect, contact Lanett W. Brailey at ( or (804) 786-0308.