2018 Legislative Mandates and Initiatives

Collection of Evidence-based Practices for Children and Adolescents with Mental Health Treatment Needs

The Virginia Commission on Youth (VCOY) is directed to:

  • Revise the Collection of Evidence-based Practices for Children and Adolescents with Mental Health Treatment Needs (the “Collection”). The Collection is to be revised biennially pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 358 (2003).
  • Seek the assistance of the Collection Update Advisory Group, Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Secretary of Public Safety, and Secretary of Education in posting, maintaining, and biennially updating the Collection.
  • Make the Collection available through web technologies.
  • Develop a cost-effective and efficient dissemination method to allow for easy access to the information.

Study Plan  

Barriers to Obtaining a Driver’s License for Virginia’s Foster Youth

  • Teens in foster care often face significant barriers to obtaining a driver’s license. These young people often miss out on age-appropriate adolescent experiences and opportunities that create a sense of normalcy and help them make a successful transition to adulthood. Foster youth who are forced to wait until adulthood to acquire a driver’s license also do not benefit from the extensive safety training provided by graduated driver licensing programs.
  • At the Commission’s November 8, 2017, meeting, presentations were made on the survey for children aging out of foster care. As part of the presentation, foster care youth gave testimony regarding the difficulty of obtaining a driver’s license while in foster care. The Commission decided to investigate this topic during the 2018 study year.   

Study Plan  

Review of the Standard of Proof to Determine a Founded Case of Child Abuse and Neglect

  • At the September 2017 Commission on Youth meeting, the Commission heard a presentation from the Department of Social Services and the Department of Education on the child protective services (CPS) appeals process and teacher license review process.
  • Further, the Commission heard findings and recommendations from staff on the reporting of child protective service cases to Virginia’s public schools and the child protective services appeals process at the November 2017 meeting. At the December 2017 meeting, the Commission determined that further study was needed to review the standard of proof for a non-school personnel child protective services investigation vs. a conduct investigation involving a public school employee. The Commission adopted the following recommendation:
    • Request the Virginia Commission on Youth to study the difference in standards of proof to determine a founded case of child abuse and neglect between school personnel and non-school personnel and to advise the Commission of its findings and recommendations by December 1, 2018.

Study Plan  

Review of Virginia’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program – Workforce Development and Childcare

  • During the 2016 General Assembly Session, Senator Barbara Favola introduced Senate Joint Resolution 95. SJR 95 directed the Commission on Youth to:
    • Evaluate the Department of Social Services’ administration of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program and identify the amount of and reasoning for unused TANF funds
    • Determine whether TANF funds are being used for the intended purposes of the TANF Program or whether such funds are being diverted to other programs or non-TANF purposes
    • Determine whether and how TANF funds can be better used to stabilize families economically, help provide educational opportunities, and provide parenting classes and identify other support services that could be made available through TANF funding to strengthen families
    • Consult with all relevant stakeholders
  • The Commission on Youth developed and executed a study plan to review these issues. They conducted extensive research and held meetings with relevant stakeholders. The Commission adopted six recommendations in October of 2016 to improve the TANF program in Virginia.
  • In the 2018 study year, the Commission on Youth will further investigate workforce development and childcare for TANF recipients. The Commission on Youth will:
    • Explore funding for workforce development and childcare programs
    • Review current programs in place
    • Make recommendations to improve workforce development and childcare programs that support self-sufficiency

Study Plan  

School Resource Officers: Overview and Presentation of Strategies in Virginia

  • The Virginia Commission on Youth solicited suggestions from members at the end of 2017 for study topics to add to the 2018 Commission on Youth work plan.
  • Senator Dave Marsden suggested that the Commission on Youth learn more about the utilization of school resource officers (SROs) in schools in Virginia.
  • The Commission on Youth will hear presentations on issues involving SROs in Virginia schools at its June 6, 2018, meeting. The following topics will be addressed:
    • School Safety in Virginia: An Overview of Laws, Trainings, and Resources, Donna P. Michaelis, Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
    • Keeping Kids in the Classroom and Out of the Courtroom: What Virginia’s Data Tells Us, Gerard Lawson, PhD, LPC, NCC, ACS, Virginia Tech
    • Training and Support of Virginia’s School Resource Officers and School Safety Officers, Gerard Lawson, PhD, LPC, NCC, ACS, Virginia Tech

Study Plan