Northam signs bill named after local child abuse victim


RICHMOND (WAVY) – Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation that changes how social workers investigate child abuse allegations.

The bill is named after Heaven Watkins. Her mother, Latoya Smith, pleaded guilty to murder in the 11-year-old’s death.

Suffolk Delegate Mike Mullin sponsored the bill. It will require caseworkers in an investigation look back at least five years to see if a child has been abused or neglected in another state.

“Heaven’s Law” takes effect July 1.

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