Code of the District of Columbia

§ 4–1451.05. Parental rights.

(a) Notwithstanding § 4-1406(b) [(b) repealed], there shall be no 72-hour waiting period prior to relinquishment of parental rights under this chapter. A relinquishment of parental rights shall take place upon surrender. Upon CFSA’s receipt of the statement required by § 4-1451.02(d) and assuming physical custody, CFSA shall assume immediate care, custody, and control of the surrendered newborn.

(b) A relinquishment of parental rights under this chapter may be revoked and parental rights restored in accordance with § 4-1406(c) and (d); provided, that:

(1) The parent agrees to genetic testing to establish maternity or paternity;

(2) The genetic test establishes that the surrendering parent is the biological parent of the newborn; and

(3) A risk assessment is conducted to determine if a further investigation is necessary or that the family needs to be referred for support services and is so referred.

(c)(1) A relinquishment of parental rights and any revocation of the relinquishment shall be recorded and filed by CFSA in a properly sealed file in the Family Court of the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, along with a copy of the statement required by § 4-1451.02(d), within 20 days after the expiration of the 14-day revocation period in § 4-1406(c).

(2) The seal of the relinquishment file shall not be broken except for good cause shown and upon the written order of a judge.

(d)(1) No later than 90 days after surrender, CFSA shall attempt to identify, locate, and notify the non-surrendering parent by performing a missing-child search and publishing notice of the surrender of the newborn in accordance with paragraph (2) of this subsection.

(2) The notice required by paragraph (1) of this subsection shall, at a minimum, include:

(A) In regard to the surrender, the:

(i) Place;

(ii) Date; and

(iii) Time;

(B) In regard to the newborn, the:

(i) Sex;

(ii) Race;

(iii) Approximate age;

(iv) Any identifying marks; and

(v) Any other identifying information CFSA considers necessary; and

(C) A statement that the non-surrendering parent’s failure to notify CFSA, or other contact as set forth in the notice, of the intent to exercise his or her parental rights and responsibilities within 20 days of publication of this notice shall be deemed to be the non-surrendering parent’s irrevocable consent to the termination of all parental rights and his or her irrevocable waiver of any right to notice of, or opportunity to participate in, any termination of parental rights proceeding involving the surrendered newborn.

(3) The court may grant a petition for adoption without consent following relinquishment of parental rights and the termination of parental rights pursuant to this section and § 16-304(g).


(May 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-158, § 105, 57 DCR 3000; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-230, § 601, 57 DCR 6951.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-304.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-230, in subsec. (c)(1), substituted “14-day” for “10-day”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 6 of Newborn Safe Haven Emergency Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-49, April 27, 2009, 56 DCR 3581).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 105 of Newborn Safe Haven Emergency Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-321, March 1, 2010, 57 DCR 1842).

Temporary Legislation

Sections 6 of D.C. Law 18-29 added a section to read as follows:

“Sec. 6. Parental rights.

“(a) Notwithstanding section 6(b) of An Act To regulate the placing of children in family homes, and for other purposes, approved April 22, 1944 (58 Stat. 193; D.C. Official Code § 4-1406(b)) (’placement act’), there shall be no 72-hour period prior to relinquishment under this act. A relinquishment of parental rights shall take place upon surrender. Upon CFSA’s receipt of the statement required by section 3(d), CFSA shall take immediate care, custody, and control of the surrendered newborn.

“(b) A relinquishment of parental rights under this act may be revoked and parental rights restored in accordance with section 6(c) and (d) of the placement act.

“(c) Within 20 days after the expiration of the 10-day revocation period provided for in section 6(c) of the placement act, CFSA shall file a form acknowledging the surrender, along with a copy of the statement required by section 3(d), with the Family Court of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Section 10(b) of D.C. Law 18-29 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.