§49-8-1. Legislative findings; statement of legislative purpose.
(a) The Legislature finds that in certain circumstances where a parent, guardian or legal custodian of a child is temporarily unable to care for the child due to a crisis or other circumstances, a less intrusive alternative to guardianship or the Department of Health and Human Resources taking custody of the child should be available. In such circumstances, a parent, guardian or legal custodian may benefit from the assistance of charitable organizations in their community that assist families by providing safe, temporary care for children and support for families during difficult times.
(b) It is the purpose of this article to ensure that a parent, guardian or legal guardian has the right to provide for the temporary care of their child with the assistance of a qualified nonprofit organization as set forth in this article.
For purposes of this article:
(1) “Child” means an individual under eighteen years of age;
(2) “Qualified nonprofit organization” means a charitable or religious institution that is exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as an organization described by Section 501(c)(3) of that code, which assists the parent or legal guardian of a child with the process of providing for the temporary care of a child through the execution of a power of attorney as described in this section.
§49-8-3. Delegation of care and custody of a child
(a) The following shall apply only to situations where a parent, guardian or legal custodian of a child provides for the temporary care and custody of a child with the assistance of a qualified nonprofit organization. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to restrict the rights of parents, guardians or legal custodians providing for the care of children by power of attorney in other contexts.
(b) A parent, guardian or legal custodian of a child may, by a properly executed power of attorney, delegate to a person, for a period not to exceed one year, the care and custody of the child.
(c) A parent, guardian or legal custodian may not delegate:
(1) The power to consent to marriage or adoption of the child;
(2) The performance or inducement of an abortion on or for the child; or
(3) The termination of parental rights to the child.
(d) A delegation of care and custody of a child, under this article, does not change or modify any parental or legal rights, obligations, or authority established by an existing court order, or deprive the parent, guardian or legal custodian of any parental or legal rights, obligations, or authority regarding the custody, visitation, or support of the child.
(e) The parent, guardian or legal custodian of the child may revoke or withdraw this power of attorney at any time. Upon the termination, expiration, or revocation of the power of attorney the child shall be returned to the custody of the parent, guardian or legal custodian within forty-eight hours.
(f) Unless the authority is revoked or withdrawn by the parent, guardian or legal custodian, the designee shall exercise parental or legal authority on a continuous basis without compensation for the duration of the power of attorney.
(g) The care and custody of a child may only be delegated to the extent, and so long as, the parent, guardian or legal custodian retains care and custody. If the rights of the parent, guardian or custodian of the child are terminated, the power of attorney shall be deemed to be revoked. A court that revokes the care and custody rights of a parent, guardian or legal custodian shall notify the person to whom those parental rights has been delegated, and the child may remain with that person until the court shall finalize the subsequent placement of the child: Provided, That no period of placement with a person pursuant to the provisions of this article shall be considered as a factor in a custody hearing in which a family member seeks to be awarded custody of the child.
(h) The execution of a power of attorney by a parent, guardian or legal custodian does not, without other evidence, constitute abandonment, abuse or neglect unless the parent, guardian or legal custodian fails to either take custody of the child or execute a new power of attorney after the one year time limit has elapsed: Provided, That nothing in this article may be interpreted to prevent the West Virginia Bureau for Children and Families or law enforcement from investigating allegations of abuse, abandonment, neglect or other mistreatment of a child.
(i) If a parent, guardian or legal custodian of a child wishes to utilize the power of attorney authorized by this section to delegate any powers regarding the care and custody of the child to another person, the qualified nonprofit organization shall conduct a criminal history and federal and state background check on the person to whom powers are delegated prior to the execution of the power of attorney. The criminal history and federal and state background check shall be paid for by the qualified nonprofit organization, the parent, guardian or legal custodian, or the parent’s designee. Additionally, the qualified nonprofit organization shall train the designee in the rights, duties, and limitations associated with providing care for a child under this section, including the prevention and reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect.
(j) The designee may not move from the address listed on the parental rights form without written approval of the parent, guardian or legal custodian.
(k) Any person who accepts care and custody of a child pursuant to the provisions of this article shall be deemed a person mandated to report suspected abuse and neglect pursuant to the provisions of section eight hundred three, article two, chapter forty-nine of this code.
(l) If a parent, guardian or legal custodian dies or becomes incapacitated, then the provisions of article ten, chapter forty-four of this code shall apply.
(m) Nothing in this section is intended, nor shall anything herein be interpreted, to otherwise restrict the rights of custodial parents or non-custodial parents to temporarily delegate or provide for the care and custody of a child, or to assert their right to request custody, in accordance with other provisions of West Virginia law.
§49-8-4. Delegation of parental rights form.
(a) The following statutory form of power of attorney to delegate parental or legal custody may be used:
STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA
STATUTORY FORM FOR POWER OF ATTORNEY TO DELEGATE PARENTAL OR LEGAL CUSTODIAN POWERS
(1) “I, ________________, certify that I am the parent or legal custodian of:
(Full name of minor child) (Date of birth)
(Full name of minor child) (Date of birth)
(Full name of minor child) (Date of birth)
who is/are minor children.”
(2) “I designate _________________________ (Full name of designee),
(Street address, city, state and zip code of designee)
(Home phone of designee) (Work phone of designee) as the designee of each minor child named above.”
(3) “I delegate to the designee all of my power and authority regarding the care, custody and property of each minor child named above, including but not limited to the right to enroll the child in school, inspect and obtain copies of education records and other records concerning the child, the right to attend school activities and other functions concerning the child, and the right to give or withhold any consent or waiver with respect to school activities, medical and dental treatment, and any other activity, function or treatment that may concern the child. This delegation does not include the power or authority to consent to marriage or adoption of the child, the performance or inducement of an abortion on or for the child, or the termination of parental rights to the child.”
(4) “I delegate to the designee the following specific powers and responsibilities
(In the event paragraph four is completed paragraph three does not apply).
This delegation does not include the power or authority to consent to marriage or adoption of the child, the performance or inducement of an abortion on or for the child, or the termination of parental rights to the child.”
(5) “This power of attorney is effective for a period not to exceed one year, beginning,
_____________, ___, and ending _______, ____. I reserve the right to revoke this authority at any time."
By: ________________________________ (Parent/Legal Custodian signature)
(6) “I hereby accept my designation as designee for the minor child/children specified in this power of attorney.
By: ________________________________ (Designee signature)
State of _________________________
County of _______________________
Before me, the undersigned, a Notary Public, in and for said County and State on this ____day of _____________, ____, personally appeared _______________________(Name of Parent/Legal Custodian) and _______________________(Name of designee), to me known to be the identical persons who executed this instrument and acknowledged to me that each executed the same as his or her free and voluntary act and deed for the uses and purposes set forth in the instrument.
Witness my hand and official seal the day and year above written.
_________________________ (Signature of notarial officer)
_________________________ (Title and Rank)
My commission expires: ___________________”
(b) A power of attorney is legally sufficient under this article if the wording of the form substantially complies with this section, the form is properly completed, and the signatures of the parties are acknowledged.
(c) A copy of each power of attorney executed pursuant to this article shall be retained by the qualified nonprofit organization for a period of three years following the conclusion of the power of attorney. The qualified nonprofit organization shall, upon request, make these records available to the Department of Health and Human Resources.
§49-8-5. Mandatory disclosures by child investigative personnel.
During a child protective investigation that does not result in an out-of-home placement, a child protective investigator shall provide information to the parent, guardian or legal custodian about community service programs that provide respite care, voluntary guardianship or other support services for families in crisis.
§49-8-6. Applicability of licensing and other requirements of childcare facilities.
(a) A delegation under this article by a parent, guardian or legal custodian is not subject to the requirements of the child care facility licensing statutes or foster care licensing statutes, and does not constitute an out of home child placement under this code.
(b) A qualified nonprofit organization as defined herein shall not be considered a child care center, child placing agency, or child welfare agency as defined in section two hundred six of article one, chapter forty-nine of this Code, unless such organization also pursues these activities in addition to providing services outlined under this section.