Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–2322. Limitation of time on dispositional orders.

(a)(1) A dispositional order vesting legal custody of a neglected child in a department, agency, or institution shall remain in force for an indeterminate period not exceeding two years. Unless the order specifies that release is permitted only by order of the Division, the department, agency, or institution may release the child at any time that it appears the purpose of the disposition order has been achieved.

(2) An order vesting legal custody of a child in an individual other than his or her parent shall remain in force for two years unless sooner terminated by order of the Division.

(3) An order of probation or a protective supervision order shall remain in force for a period not exceeding one year from the date entered, but the Director of Social Services or the agency providing supervision may terminate supervision at any time that it appears the purpose of the order has been achieved.

(4) A dispositional order vesting legal custody of a child adjudicated delinquent in a department, agency, or institution shall remain in force for an indeterminate period not to exceed the youth’s twenty-first birthday. Unless the order sets a minimum period for commitment of the child, or specifies that release is permitted only by order of the Division, the department, agency, or institution may release the child at any time that it appears the purpose of the disposition order has been achieved.

(5) Subject to subsection (f) of this section, a dispositional order vesting legal custody of a child adjudicated in need of supervision in a department, agency, or institution shall remain in force for an indeterminate period not to exceed the child's 18th birthday. Unless the order sets a minimum period for commitment of the child, or specifies that release is permitted only by order of the Division, the department, agency, or institution may release the child at any time that it appears the purpose of the disposition order has been achieved.

(b) A dispositional order vesting legal custody of a neglected child in an agency or institution may be extended for additional periods of one year upon motion of the department, agency, or institution to which the child was committed, if, after notice and hearing, the Division finds that the extension is necessary to safeguard the welfare of the child.

(c) Any other dispositional order may be extended for additional periods of one year, upon motion of the Director of Social Services or the Attorney General, if, after notice and hearing, the Division finds that extension is necessary to protect the interest of the child.

(d) A release or termination of an order prior to expiration of the order pursuant to subsection (a)(1) or (3), shall promptly be reported in writing to the Division.

(e) Upon termination of a dispositional order a child shall be notified in writing of its termination. Upon termination of an order or release a child shall be notified, in accordance with rules of the Superior Court, of his or her right to move for the sealing of his or her records as provided in section 16-2335.

(f)(1) Unless sooner terminated, all orders of the Division under this subchapter in force with respect to a child terminate when the child reaches 21 years of age, not including orders extended pursuant to § 16-2303(b), except that orders under this subchapter in force with respect to a child adjudicated in need of supervision, but not delinquent, terminate when the child reaches 18 years of age.

(2) Orders in force as of May 10, 2019, with respect to a child who is adjudicated in need of supervision, but not delinquent, shall terminate immediately for any child who is 18 years of age or older and, for any other child, when that child reaches 18 years of age.


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 537, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 121(a); May 15, 1993, D.C. Law 9-272, § 103, 40 DCR 796; Mar. 24, 1998, D.C. Law 12-81, § 10(cc), 45 DCR 745; Mar. 17, 2005, D.C. Law 15-261, § 502(c), 52 DCR 1188; Apr. 4, 2017, D.C. Law 21-238, § 102(g), 63 DCR 15312; May 10, 2019, D.C. Law 22-313, § 14, 66 DCR 1627; June 8, 2020, D.C. Act 23-328, § 503(b)(2), 67 DCR 7598.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-2322.

1973 Ed., § 16-2322.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-2389.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-261, in subsec. (c), substituted “Director of Social Services or the Corporation Counsel” for “Director of Social Services”.