Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–909.03. Voluntary paternity acknowledgment program for birthing hospitals.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term “birthing hospital” means a hospital that has an obstetric care unit or provides obstetric services, or a birthing center.

(b)(1) Each public and private birthing hospital in the District of Columbia shall operate a program that, immediately before and after the birth of a child, provides to each unmarried woman who gives birth at the hospital and the alleged putative father, if present in the hospital:

(A) Written materials concerning paternity establishment;

(B) Forms necessary to acknowledge paternity voluntarily that meet the federal requirements;

(C) A written and oral description (the oral description may be videotaped or audiotaped) of the alternatives to, the legal consequences of, and the rights and responsibilities that arise from, signing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity;

(D) Written notice that a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity is not effectuated unless the mother and putative father each signs the form under oath and a notary authenticates the signatures;

(E) The opportunity to speak, either by telephone or in person, with hospital or IV-D agency staff who are trained to clarify information and answer questions about paternity establishment;

(F) Access to the services of a notary on the premises of the birthing hospital; and

(G) The opportunity to acknowledge paternity voluntarily in the hospital.

(2) The Mayor shall provide to each birthing hospital the materials described in paragraph (1)(A) through (D) of this subsection, in sufficient amounts to be distributed to each unmarried mother giving birth in the hospital and to each putative father present in the hospital.

(c) The birthing hospital shall transmit each completed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form to the Registrar of Vital Records within 14 days of completion. The Registrar shall promptly record identifying information from the form and permit the IV-D agency timely access to the identifying information and any other documentation recorded from the form that the IV-D agency needs to determine if a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity has been recorded and to seek a support order on the basis of the recorded voluntary acknowledgment of paternity.

(d) The Mayor shall provide to the staff of each birthing hospital training, guidance, and written instructions necessary to operate the paternity acknowledgment program required by this section.

(e) The Mayor shall assess the program of each birthing hospital each year.


(Feb. 27, 1998, D.C. Law 12-54, § 2, 44 DCR 6231; Apr. 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-269, § 106(e), 48 DCR 1270.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-909.3.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-909.05, § 16-2342.01, and § 16-2345.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-269 rewrote this section.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary addition of section, see § 2(b) of the Paternity Acknowledgment Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-423, October 28, 1996, 43 DCR 6136), § 2 (b) of the Paternity Acknowledgment Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-480, December 30, 1996, 44 DCR 212),§ 2(b) of the Paternity Acknowledgment Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-20, March 3, 1997, 44 DCR 1765), § 2(b) of the Paternity Acknowledgment Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-181, October 30, 1997, 44 DCR 6953, repealed by D.C. Act 12-222, § 14(a)), and § 2(b) of the Paternity Acknowledgment Congressional Recess Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-253, January 29, 1998, 45 DCR 903).

For temporary addition of section, see § 102 of the Paternity Acknowledgment and Gas Station Advisory Board Re-establishment Emergency Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-356, August 8, 1996, 43 DCR 4561).

For temporary designation of title I of the act as the Paternity Acknowledgment Emergency Act of 1996, see § 101 of the Paternity Acknowledgment and Gas Station Advisory Board Re-establishment Emergency Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-356, August 8, 1996, 43 DCR 4561).

Section 3 of D.C. Act 11-423, D.C. Act 11-480, and D.C. Act 12-20 provided that the enactment “will ensure that the District government remains eligible for approximately $13 million in federal funds used in the collection of child support payments from noncustodial parents for the care of children who reside in the District.”.

For temporary addition of section, see § 5(e) of the Child Support Welfare and Reform Compliance Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-222, December 23, 1997, 44 DCR 114), § 5(e) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-309, March 20, 1998, 45 DCR 1923), § 5(e) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Second Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-439, August 12, 1998, 45 DCR 6110), § 5(e) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-503, October 27, 1998, 45 DCR 8495), and § 5(e) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-600, January 20, 1999, 46 DCR 1239).

For temporary addition of § 16-909.4 1981 Ed., see § 5(f) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-222, December 23, 1997, 44 DCR 114) and § 5(f) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-309, March 20, 1998, 45 DCR 1923).

For temporary repeal of § 16-909.03, see § 14(b) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-222, December 23, 1997, 44 DCR 114).

For temporary repeal of D.C. Law 12-103, see § 13 of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Second Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-439, August 12, 1998, 45 DCR 6110).

For temporary addition of § 16-909.4 1981 Ed. and 16-909.5 1981 Ed., see § 5(f) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Second Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-439, August 12, 1998, 45 DCR 6110), § 5(f) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-503, October 27, 1998, 45 DCR 8495), and § 5(f) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-600, January 20, 1999, 46 DCR 1239).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 105(e) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-126, August 4, 1999, 46 DCR 6606).

For temporary addition of § 16-909.4 1981 Ed. and 16-909.5 1981 Ed., see § 105(f) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-126, August 4, 1999, 46 DCR 6606).

For temporary repeal of D.C. Law 12-210, see § 113 of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-126, August 4, 1999, 46 DCR 6606).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 105(e) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-126, August 4, 1999, 46 DCR 6606). For temporary (90-day) addition of §§ 16-909.4 1981 Ed. and 16-909.5 1981 Ed., see § 105(f) of the same Act.

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 105(b) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-177, November 2, 1999, 46 DCR 9678). For temporary (90-day) addition of §§ 16-909.4 1981 Ed. and 16-909.5 1981 Ed., see § 105(f) of the same Act.

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 105(b) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-241, January 11, 2000, 47 DCR 581). For temporary (90-day) addition of §§ 16-909.4 1981 Ed. and 16-909.5 1981 Ed., see § 105(f) of the same Act.

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 105(e) of the Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-446, November 7, 2000, 47 DCR 9213).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 106(e) of Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-5, February 13, 2001, 48 DCR 2440).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 5(e) of Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Temporary Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Law 12-210, April 13, 1999, law notification 46 DCR 3832).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 105(e) of Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Temporary Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Law 13-57, March 7, 2000, law notification 47 DCR 1979).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 105(e) of Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Temporary Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Law 13-207, March 31, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 3238).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 201(b) of Medical Support Establishment and Enforcement Temporary Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Law 14-238, March 25, 2003, law notification 50 DCR 2751).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 201(b) of Medical Support Establishment and Enforcement Temporary Amendment Act of 2003 (D.C. Law 15-84, March 10, 2004, law notification 51 DCR 3376).

For temporary (225 day) addition of section and § 16-909.4 1981 Ed, see § 5(b) and (e) of Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Temporary Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Law 12-103, May 8, 1998, law notification 45 DCR 3254).

For temporary (225 day) addition of § 16-909.4 1981 Ed and § 16-909.5 1981 Ed, see § 5(f) of Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Temporary Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Law 12-210, April 13, 1999, law notification 46 DCR 3832).

For temporary (225 day) addition of § 16-909.4 1981 Ed and § 16-909.5 1981 Ed, see § 105(f) of Child Support and Welfare Reform Compliance Temporary Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Law 13-57, March 7, 2000, law notification 47 DCR 1979).

Editor's Notes

Section 28(b)(1) of D.C. Law 15-354 provided that the section designation of § 16-901.3 of the District of Columbia Official Code is redesignated as § 16-901.03.