Code of the District of Columbia

§ 4–1301.09a. Reasonable efforts.

(a) In determining and making reasonable efforts under this section, the child’s safety and health shall be the paramount concern.

(b)(1) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, reasonable efforts shall be made to preserve and reunify the family by the Agency.

(2) These reasonable efforts shall be made prior to the removal of a child from the home in order to prevent or eliminate the need for removing the child, unless the provision of services would put the child in danger.

(3) Reasonable efforts shall be made to make it possible for the child to return safely to the child’s home.

(c) If reasonable efforts as required by subsection (b) of this section are determined to be inconsistent with the child’s permanency plan, the Agency shall make reasonable efforts to place the child in accordance with the child’s permanency plan and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the child’s permanent placement.

(d) The Agency shall not be required to make reasonable efforts to preserve and reunite the family with respect to a parent if:

(1) A court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the parent:

(A) Subjected the child who is the subject of a petition before the Family Court of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (“Family Court”), a sibling of the child, or another child to cruelty, abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, or sexual abuse;

(B) Committed the murder or voluntary manslaughter of a sibling of the child who is the subject of a petition before the Family Court or another child, or of any other member of the household of the parent;

(C) Aided, abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit the murder or voluntary manslaughter of the child who is the subject of a petition before the Family Court, a sibling of the child, or another child, or of any other member of the household of the parent; or

(D) Committed an assault that constitutes a felony against the child who is the subject of a petition before the Family Court, a sibling of the child, or another child;

(2) The parent’s parental rights have been terminated involuntarily with respect to a sibling; or

(3) A court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the parent is required to register with a sex offender registry under section 113(a) of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, approved July 27, 2006 (120 Stat. 593; 42 U.S.C. § 16913(a)).

(e) If reasonable efforts are not made pursuant to subsection (d) of this section:

(1) A permanency hearing conducted pursuant to § 16-2323 shall be held for the child within 30 days after the determination that reasonable efforts are not required; and

(2) Reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanency plan, and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.

(f) Reasonable efforts to place a child for adoption, with an approved kinship caregiver, with a legal custodian or guardian, or in another permanent placement may be made concurrently with the reasonable efforts required by subsection (b) of this section.


(Sept. 23, 1977, D.C. Law 2-22, title I, § 109a; as added June 27, 2000, D.C. Law 13-136, § 201(c), 47 DCR 2850; Apr. 4, 2001, D.C. Law 13-277, § 2(h), 48 DCR 2043; Apr. 12, 2005, D.C. Law 15-341, § 2(e), 52 DCR 2315; July 13, 2012, D.C. Law 19-164, § 2, 59 DCR 6185.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-2323 and § 16-2354.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-277, in par. (1) of subsec. (b), substituted “Agency” for “Division” and deleted “or the Child Abuse Unit of the Social Services Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, whichever is responsible for making determinations providing services to the child and family,” following “by the Division”; in subsec. (c), substituted “Agency” for “Division” and deleted “or the Child Abuse Unit of the Social Services Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, whichever is responsible for providing services to the child and family,” following “the Division”; and, in subsec. (d), substituted “Agency” for “Division” and deleted “and the Child Abuse Unit of the Social Services Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia” following “The Division”.

D.C. Law 15-341, in subpars. (B) and (C) of par. (1) of subsec. (d), substituted “child, or of any other member of the household of the parent” for “child”.

D.C. Law 19-164, in the lead-in language of subsec. (d), substituted “efforts to preserve and reunite the family” for “efforts”; in subsec. (d)(1)(A), substituted “the child who is the subject of a petition before the Family Court of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (‘Family Court’), a sibling of the child, or another child” for “a sibling or another child”; in subsec. (d)(1)(B), substituted “a sibling of the child who is the subject of a petition before the Family Court” for “a sibling”; in subsec. (d)(1)(C), substituted “the child who is the subject of a petition before the Family Court, a sibling of the child, or another child” for “a sibling or another child”; in subsec. (d)(1)(D), substituted “Family Court, a sibling of the child, or another child;” for “Family Division of the Superior Court, a sibling of such a child, or another child; or”; in subsec. (d)(2), substituted “sibling; or” for “sibling.”; and added subsec. (d)(3).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of § 4-1301.09a, see § 201(c) of the Adoption and Safe Families Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-117, July 28, 1999, 46 DCR 6558).

For temporary (90-day) addition of § 4-1301.09a, see § 201(c) of the Adoption and Safe Families Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-178, November 2, 1999, 46 DCR 9714).

For temporary (90-day) addition of § 4-1301.09a, see § 201(c) of the Adoption and Safe Families Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-240, January 11, 2000, 47 DCR 556).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 4(a) of the Adoption and Safe Families Compliance Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-451, November 7, 2000, 47 DCR 9399).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 4(a) of Adoption and Safe Families Compliance Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-65, June 6, 2001, 48 DCR 5721).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-165, October 11, 2011, 58 DCR 8896).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 201(c) of Adoption and Safe Families Temporary Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Law 13-56, March 7, 2000, law notification 47 DCR 1978).

Section 2 of D.C. Law 19-64, in subsecs. (d)(1)(A) and (C), substituted “child who is the subject of a petition before the Family Division of the Superior Court, a sibling of such child, or another child” for “sibling or another child”; in subsec. (d)(1)( C), deleted “and” at the end; and added subsec. (d)(1)(E) to read as follows:

“(E) Is required to register with a sex offender registry under section 113(a) of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Registry, approved July 27, 2006 (120 Stat. 593; 42 U.S.C. § 16913(a)); or”.

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 19-64 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Editor's Notes

For applicability of D.C. Law 13-277, see note following § 4-1303.01a.