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McAuliffe signs legislation after child abuse reports at local dept. of social services

Rockbridge Area Department of Social Services (Photo: Google Maps)

ROCKBRIDGE Co., Va. (WSET) -- Delegate Ben Cline (R, Rockbridge) announced that his bill to extend the jurisdiction of the Office of the State Inspector General to include local Departments of Social Services has been signed into law.

Governor Terry McAuliffe signed House Bill 2237 into law on Thursday.

“I am pleased that my bill to extend the jurisdiction of the Office of the State Inspector General has been signed into law. The recent tragedies involving abused and neglected children in Rockbridge County has highlighted the need for more transparency and accountability in our child welfare system, including our local Social Services departments,” said Cline.

“The Office of Inspector General was created by the General Assembly to provide more transparency and accountability, and by extending the Inspector General’s jurisdiction to local offices of the Department of Social Services, this will provide more oversight that is greatly needed," Cline continued.

Cline said the bill extends the jurisdiction of the Office of the State Inspector General by way of amending the definition of “state agency” to include any local offices of the Department of Social Services.

Delegate Cline introduced the legislation after reports that complaints of child abuse and neglect went unanswered and possibly covered up following the death of a child in 2016.

A 38-page report also revealed the supervisor had been shredding important case files and ignoring calls.

Page after page details negligence of the Rockbridge Area Department of Social Services toward the very children they were supposed to protect.

Investigations by law enforcement agencies are ongoing.

The law will go into effect July 1.

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