Code of the District of Columbia

Part A. Reporting Abuse and Neglect.


§ 4–1301.01. [Reserved].


Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-131.


§ 4–1301.02. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter:

(1)(A) "Abused", when used in reference to a child, means:

(i) Abused, as that term is defined in § 16-2301(23); or

(ii) Sexual abuse, which shall include:

(I) Sex trafficking or severe forms of trafficking in persons, as those terms are defined in section 103(10) and (9)(A) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, approved October 28, 2000 (114 Stat. 1469; 22 U.S.C. § 7102(10) and (9)(A));

(II) A commercial sex act, as that term is defined in § 22-1831(4); or

(III) Sex trafficking of children, as described in § 22-1834.

(B) Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as preventing or intending to prevent:

(i) Sex trafficking, severe forms of trafficking in persons, a commercial sex act, or sex trafficking of children from being considered a form of sexual abuse for purposes of § 16-2301(32); or

(ii) The Agency from offering or providing services for a child victim of sex trafficking, severe forms of trafficking in persons, a commercial sex act, or sex trafficking of children, including where the child was not abused or neglected by a parent, guardian, or custodian.

(2) “Adoption promotion and support services” means services and activities designed to encourage more adoptions of committed children, when such adoptions promote the best interest of the children, including such activities as pre-and post-adoptive services and activities designed to expedite the adoption process and support adoptive families.

(2A) Except where used in title IV of this act, “Agency” means the Child and Family Services Agency established by § 4-1303.01a.

(2A-i) “Behavioral health” means a person’s overall social, emotional, and psychological well-being and development.

(2A-ii) “Behavioral health assessment” means a more thorough and comprehensive examination by a mental health professional of all behavioral health issues and needs identified during an initial behavioral health screening by which the mental health professional shall identify the type and extent of the behavioral health problem and make recommendations for treatment interventions.

(2A-iii) “Behavioral health screening” means a brief process designed to identify youth who are at risk of having behavioral health disorders that warrant immediate attention, or intervention, or to identify the need for further assessment with a more comprehensive examination.

(2B) “CAC” means Safe Shores, the District of Columbia’s Children’s Advocacy Center.

(3) “Case plan” means a written document concerning a child that includes at least the following:

(A) A description of the type of home or institution in which the child is to be placed, including a discussion of the safety and appropriateness of the placement and how the agency that is responsible for the child plans to carry out the voluntary placement agreement or judicial determination made with respect to the child;

(B) A plan for assuring that the child receives safe and proper care and that services are available to the parents, child, and foster parents in order to improve conditions in the parents’ home, facilitate return of the child to his or her own safe home or to the child’s permanent placement, and address the child’s needs while a committed child, including the appropriateness of services provided to the child under the plan. With respect to a child who has attained 14 years of age, the plan, and any revision or addition to the plan, shall be developed in consultation with the child and, at the option of the child, with up to 2 members of the case-planning team who are chosen by the child and who are not a foster parent of, or caseworker for, the child. The agency may reject an individual selected by a child to be a member of the case-planning team at any time if the agency has good cause to believe that the individual would not act in the best interests of the child. One individual selected by a child to be a member of the child's case-planning team may be designated to be the child's advisor and, as necessary, advocate, with respect to the application of the reasonable and prudent parent standard to the child.

(C) To the extent available and accessible, the child’s health and education records;

(D) Where appropriate, for a child 14 years of age or over, a written description of the programs and services which will help the child prepare for the transition from being a committed child to independent living; and

(E) If the child’s permanent plan is adoption or placement in another permanent home, documentation of the steps (including child specific recruitment efforts) taken to accomplish the following:

(i) Find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangement, such as with a legal custodian, with a kinship caregiver, or in independent living;

(ii) Place the child with an adoptive family, a kinship caregiver, a legal custodian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and

(iii) Finalize the adoption or legal custody or guardianship.

(F) In the case of a child with respect to whom the permanency plan is placement with a relative and receipt of kinship guardianship assistance payments under § 16-2399, a description of the:

(i) Steps taken to determine that it is not appropriate for the child to be returned home or adopted;

(ii) Reasons for any separation of siblings, including individuals who would have been considered siblings of the child but for the termination of parental rights or death of a parent, during placement;

(iii) Reasons a permanent placement with a fit and willing relative through a kinship guardianship-assistance arrangement is in the child’s best interests;

(iv) Ways in which the child meets the eligibility requirements for a kinship guardianship-assistance payment;

(v) Efforts made to discuss adoption by the child’s relative foster parent as a more permanent alternative to legal guardianship and, in the case of a relative foster parent who has chosen not to pursue adoption, documentation of the reasons therefore; and

(vi) Efforts made to discuss with the child’s parent the kinship guardianship-assistance arrangement, or the reasons the efforts were not made; and

(G) A plan for ensuring the educational stability of the child while in foster care, including:

(i) Assurances that the placement of the child in foster care takes into account the appropriateness of the current educational setting and the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement; and

(ii)(I) An assurance that the Agency has coordinated with appropriate local educational agencies, as defined under section 9101(26) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, approved January 8, 2002 (115 Stat. 1425; 20 U.S.C. § 7801(26)), to ensure that the child remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement; or

(II) If remaining in the school the child is enrolled in at the time of placement is not in the best interests of the child, assurances by the Agency and the local educational agencies to provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school, with all of the educational records of the child provided to the new school.

(4) “Child Protection Register” means the confidential index of all reports established pursuant to § 4-1302.01.

(4A) “Consumer reporting agency” means a person or entity that assembles or evaluates consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports and the disclosure of file information to third parties.

(5) “Credible evidence” means any evidence that indicates that a child is an abused or neglected child, including the statement of any person worthy of belief.

(6) “Director” means the Director of the Child and Family Services Agency established by § 4-1303.01.

(6A) “Domestic partnership” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32-701(4).

(7) “Drug” shall have the same meaning as the term “controlled substance” has in § 48-901.02(4).

(8) “Drug-related activity” means the use, sale, distribution, or manufacture of a drug or drug paraphernalia without a legally valid license or medical prescription.

(9) “Entry into foster care” means the earlier of:

(A) The date of the first judicial finding that the child has been neglected; or

(B) The date that is 60 days after the date on which the child is removed from the home.

(9A) “Family assessment” means an evaluation, for the purpose of developing a service plan, to determine:

(A) A family’s strengths and needs;

(B) The safety of any children in the home, including assessing whether there exists a risk of abuse or neglect of any child, but excludes a determination as to whether a report of abuse or neglect is substantiated, inconclusive, or unfounded;

(C) A family’s ability to function as a cohesive unit; and

(D) A family’s access to resources.

(10) “Family preservation services” means services for children and families who are at risk of abuse or neglect, or in crisis, including:

(A) Services designed to help children return to families from which they have been removed, or be placed for adoption, where safe and appropriate, with a legal guardian, or, if adoption or legal guardianship is determined not to be safe and appropriate for a child, in another permanent living arrangement;

(B) Replacement prevention services;

(C) Services which provide follow-up care to families to whom a child has returned after commitment;

(D) Respite care services; and

(E) Services designed to improve parenting skills and abilities.

(11) “Family support services” means community-based services to promote the safety and well-being of children and families, and designed to:

(A) Increase family strength and stability;

(B) Increase parent confidence and competence;

(C) Afford children safe, stable, and supportive family environments; and

(D) Otherwise enhance child development.

(12) “Godparent” means an individual identified by a relative of the child by blood, marriage, domestic partnership, or adoption, in a sworn affidavit, to have close personal or emotional ties with the child or the child’s family, which pre-dated the child’s placement with the individual.

(13) “Guardian ad litem” means an attorney appointed by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to represent the child’s best interests in neglect proceedings.

(13A) “Inconclusive report” means a report, made pursuant to § 4-1321.03, which cannot be proven to be either substantiated or unfounded.

(14) “Kinship caregiver” means an individual who:

(A) Is approved by the Division to provide kinship care;

(B) Is at least 21 years of age;

(C) Is providing, or is willing to provide for, the day-to-day care of a child; and

(D) Either:

(i) Is a relative of the child by blood, marriage, domestic partnership, or adoption; or

(ii) Is a godparent of the child.

(15) “Law enforcement officer” means a sworn officer of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.

(15A) "Neglected child" means a child who is a:

(A) Neglected child, as that term is defined in § 16-2301(9);

(B) Victim of sex trafficking or severe forms of trafficking in persons, as those terms are defined in section 103(10) and (9)(A) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, approved October 28, 2000 (114 Stat. 1469; 22 U.S.C. § 7102(10) and (9)(A));

(C) Victim of a commercial sex act, as that term is defined in § 22-1831(4); or

(D) Victim of sex trafficking of children, as described in § 22-1834.

(15B) “Panel” means the Citizen Review Panel established by § 4-1303.51.

(15C) “Placement disruption” means an unplanned move necessary to protect the safety and well-being of the youth.

(16) “Police” means the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.

(16A) "Reasonable and prudent parent standard" means the standard characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interests of a child while at the same time encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the child, that should be used when determining whether to allow a child to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities.

(17) “Report” means a report to the police or the Agency of a suspected or known neglected child.

(18) Repealed.

(19) “Source” means the person or institution from whom a report originates.

(19A) “Substantiated report” means a report, made pursuant to § 4-1321.03, which is supported by credible evidence and is not against the weight of the evidence.

(20) “Time-limited family reunification services” means services and activities provided to a committed child and to the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian in order to facilitate the safe, appropriate, and timely reunification of the child during the 15 months following the child’s entry into foster care. Time-limited family reunification services include:

(A) Individual, group, and family counseling;

(B) Inpatient, residential, or outpatient substance abuse treatment services;

(C) Mental health services;

(D) Assistance to address domestic violence;

(E) Services designed to provide temporary child care and therapeutic services for families; and

(F) Transportation to or from any of the services and activities described in this paragraph.

(20A) “Unfounded report” means a report, made pursuant to § 4-1321.03, which is made maliciously or in bad faith or which has no basis in fact.

(21) Repealed.

(22) “Youth” means an individual under 18 years of age residing in the District and those classified as youth in the custody of the Agency who are 21 years of age or younger.


(Sept. 23, 1977, D.C. Law 2-22, title I, § 102, 24 DCR 3341; Mar. 15, 1990, D.C. Law 8-87, § 3(a), 37 DCR 50; June 27, 2000, D.C. Law 13-136, § 201(a), 47 DCR 2850; Apr. 4, 2001, D.C. Law 13-277, § 2(a), 48 DCR 2043; Oct. 19, 2002, D.C. Law 14-206, § 2(a), 49 DCR 7815; Apr. 12, 2005, D.C. Law 15-341, § 2(a), 52 DCR 2315; Apr. 13, 2005, D.C. Law 15-354, § 96, 52 DCR 2638; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-191, § 20, 53 DCR 6794; Sept. 12, 2008, D.C. Law 17-231, § 12, 55 DCR 6758; May 27, 2010, D.C. Law 18-162, § 2(a), 57 DCR 3029; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-228, § 2(a), 57 DCR 6926; Mar. 12, 2011, D.C. Law 18-312, § 2(a), 57 DCR 12398; June 7, 2012, D.C. Law 19-141, § 505(a), 59 DCR 3083; Oct. 8, 2016, D.C. Law 21-160, § 5102(a), 63 DCR 10775; May 10, 2019, D.C. Law 22-313, § 7, 66 DCR 1627.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-2101.

1973 Ed., § 6-2101.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1402.21, § 4-1301.06b, § 4-1303.03, § 16-914, and § 42-3505.07.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-136 rewrote this section, which formerly read:

“For the purposes of this act:

“(1) ‘Child Protection Register’ means the confidential index of all reports established pursuant to § 6-2111.

“(2) ‘Credible evidence’ means any evidence which indicates that a child is an abused or neglected child, including the statement of any person worthy of belief.

“(3) Except where used in title IV of this act, ‘Division’ means the Child Protective Services Division of the District of Columbia Department of Human Services.

“(4) ‘Guardian ad litem’ means an attorney appointed by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to represent the child’s best interests in neglect proceedings.

“(5) ‘Police’ means the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.

“(6) ‘Report’ means a report to the police or the Division of a suspected or known neglected child.

“(7) ‘Source’ means the person or institution from whom a report originates.

“(8) ‘Supported report’ means a report, made pursuant to § 2-1353, which is supported by credible evidence.

“(9) ‘Unsupported report’ means a report, made pursuant to § 2-1353, which is not supported by credible evidence.

“(10) ‘Drug’ shall have the same meaning as the term ‘controlled substance’ has in § 33-501(4).

“(11) ‘Drug-related activity’ means the use, sale, distribution, or manufacture of a drug or drug paraphernalia without a legally valid license or medical prescription.

“(12) ‘Law enforcement officer’ means a sworn officer of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.

“(13) ‘Abused,’ when used with reference to a child, means a child whose parent, guardian or custodian inflicts or fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent the infliction of physical or mental injury upon the child, including excessive corporal punishment, an act of sexual abuse, molestation, or exploitation, or an injury that results from exposure to drug-related activity.”

D.C. Law 13-277 added par. (2A) and rewrote par. (6) which had read:

“(6) ‘Division’ means the Child Protective Services Division of the District of Columbia Department of Human Services.”

D.C. Law 14-206 rewrote par. (1); added pars. (12A), (14A), (18A), and (19A); and repealed pars. (17) and (20).

D.C. Law 15-341 added pars. (2B) and (15B).

D.C. Law 15-354, in pars. (13A), (15A), (18), (19A), (20A), and (21), validated previously made technical corrections.

D.C. Law 16-191, in par. (15B), validated a previously made technical correction.

D.C. Law 17-231 added par. (6A); and, in pars. (12) and (14)(D)(i), substituted “marriage, domestic partnership,” for “marriage,”.

D.C. Law 18-162 added par. (4A).

D.C. Law 18-228 added par. (9A).

D.C. Law 18-312 added pars. (3)(F) and (G).

D.C. Law 19-141 added pars. (2A-i), (2A-ii), (2A-iii), (15C), and (22).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Child Neglect and Sex Trafficking Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2019 (D.C. Act 23-48, Apr. 15, 2019, 66 DCR 5303).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Child Neglect and Sex Trafficking Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-555, Dec. 31, 2018, 66 DCR 259).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Child Neglect and Sex Trafficking Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-269, Feb. 26, 2018, 65 DCR 2131).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Child Neglect and Sex Trafficking Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-61, May 17, 2017, 64 DCR 4931).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Supporting Normalcy and Empowering Children in Foster Care Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-419, June 23, 2016, 63 DCR 9005).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 3 of the Prevention of Child Neglect Emergency Amendment Act of 1993 (D.C. Act 10-100, August 9, 1993, 40 DCR 6141).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 3 of the Prevention of Child Neglect Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 (D.C. Act 10-288, July 22, 1994, 41 DCR 4992).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 201(a) 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) amendment of section, see § 201(a) 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) amendment of section, see § 201(a) 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 § 2 of the Adoption and Safe Families Compliance Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-383, July 24, 2000, 47 DCR 6700).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(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) delay of the applicability of provisions changing the manner in which the Child and Family Services Agency will process reports of child abuse and neglect, see § 3 of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-494, October 23, 2002, 49 DCR 9781).

For temporary (90 day) delay of the applicability of provisions changing the manner in which the Child and Family Services Agency will process reports of child abuse and neglect, see § 3 of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-603, January 7, 2003, 50 DCR 687).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-259, January 4, 2010, 57 DCR 337).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-586, October 20, 2010, 57 DCR 10136).

For temporary repeal of D.C. Law 18-228, § 3, see § 109 of the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Support Technical Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-482, October 12, 2012, 59 DCR 12478).

For temporary repeal of D.C. Law 18-228, § 3, see § 109 of the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Support Technical Clarification Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-604, January 14, 2013, 60 DCR 1045), applicable as of January 10, 2013.

For temporary (90 days) amendment of D.C. Law 19-141, § 601, see § 4112 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-130, July 30, 2013, 60 DCR 11384, 20 DCSTAT 1827).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of D.C. Law 19-141, § 601, see § 4112 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-204, October 17, 2013, 60 DCR 15341, 20 DCSTAT 2311).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of D.C. Law 18-228, § 3, see § 7011 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-130, July 30, 2013, 60 DCR 11384, 20 DCSTAT 1827).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of D.C. Law 18-228, § 3, see § 7011 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-204, October 17, 2013, 60 DCR 15341, 20 DCSTAT 2311).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Encouraging Foster Children To Have Connections with Siblings Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-240, Dec. 21, 2015, 63 DCR 11).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Supporting Normalcy and Empowering Children in Foster Care Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-333, Mar. 16, 2016, 63 DCR 4306).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Child Neglect and Sex Trafficking Temporary Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Law 22-100, June 5, 2018, 65 DCR 3769).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Child Neglect and Sex Trafficking Temporary Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Law 22-7, July 28, 2017, 64 DCR 5302).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Supporting Normalcy and Empowering Children in Foster Care Temporary Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Law 21-123, June 17, 2016, 63 DCR 6866).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 3 of Prevention of Child Neglect Temporary Amendment Act of 1993 (D.C. Law 10-61, November 20, 1993, law notification 40 DCR 8454).

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

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Adoption and Safe Families Compliance Temporary Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Law 13-193, October 21, 2000, law notification 47 DCR 8983).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 3(b) of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Temporary Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Law 14-240, March 25, 2003, law notification 50 DCR 2753).

Section 2 of D.C. Law 18-136, in par. (3), added subpars. (F) and (G) to read as follows:

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 18-136 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2 of D.C. Law 18-298 added pars. (3)(F) and (G) to read as follows:

“(F) In the case of a child with respect to whom the permanency plan is placement with a relative and receipt of kinship guardianship assistance payments under D.C. Official Code § 16-2399, a description of the:

“(i) Steps taken to determine that it is not appropriate for the child to be returned home or adopted;

“(ii) Reasons for any separation of siblings during placement;

“(iii) Reasons a permanent placement with a fit and willing relative through a kinship guardianship-assistance arrangement is in the child’s best interests;

“(iv) Ways in which the child meets the eligibility requirements for a kinship guardianship-assistance payment;

“(v) Efforts made to discuss adoption by the child’s relative foster parent as a more permanent alternative to legal guardianship and, in the case of a relative foster parent who has chosen not to pursue adoption, documentation of the reasons therefore; and

“(vi) Efforts made to discuss with the child’s parent the kinship guardianship-assistance arrangement, or the reasons the efforts were not made; and

“(G) A plan for ensuring the educational stability of the child while in foster care, including:

“(i) Assurances that the placement of the child in foster care takes into account the appropriateness of the current educational setting and the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement; and

“(ii)(I) An assurance that the Agency has coordinated with appropriate local educational agencies, as defined under section 601(f) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, approved April 11, 1965 (79 Stat. 27; 20 USC § 7801)), to ensure that the child remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement; or

“(II) If remaining in the school the child is enrolled in at the time of placement is not in the best interests of the child, assurances by the Agency and the local educational agencies to provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school, with all of the educational records of the child provided to the school.”.

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 18-298 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 109 of D.C. Law 19-226 repealed D.C. Law 18-228, § 3.

Section 402(b) of D.C. Law 19-226 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Encouraging Foster Children to Have Connections with Siblings Temporary Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Law 21-85, Mar. 9, 2016, 63 DCR 788).

Short Title

Section 4111 of D.C. Law 20-61 provided that Subtitle K of Title IV of the act may be cited as the “South Capitol Street Memorial Amendment Act of 2013”.

Section 7001 of D.C. Law 20-61 provided that Subtitle A of Title VII of the act may be cited as the “Subject to Appropriations Repealers Amendment Act of 2013”.

References in Text

“Title IV of this act”, referenced in par. (2A), is title IV of Law 2-22, which is codified to 16-2304, 16-2310, 16-2313, 16-2315, 16-2319, 16-2320, 16-2323 to 16-2338, and 16-2351 to 16-2365.

Editor's Notes

Application of Law 14-206: Section 16(b) of D.C. Law 14-310 provided that section 2(a)(2), (4), (5), (6), and (7), (b), (c), (d), (e), (h), (i), (j), (k), and (l) of D.C. 14-206 shall apply as of October 1, 2003.

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

Section 3 of D.C. Law 18-228 provided: “Sec. 3. Applicability. This act shall apply upon the inclusion of its fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan.”

Section 601 of D.C. Law 19-141 originally provided that the act shall apply upon the inclusion of its fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Section 601 of D.C. Law 19-141, as amended by D.C. Law 19-168, § 7004, provided that the applicability of only §§ 302(b)(1), 304, and 502(a) are contingent upon the inclusion of their fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan.

Section 601 of D.C. Law 19-141, as amended by D.C. Law 20-61, § 4112, provided that §§ 302(b)(1)(A) and (C) and 304(b)(1)(D) of D.C. Law 19-141 shall apply to public charter schools upon the inclusion of their fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan, as certified by the Chief Financial Officer to the Budget Director of the Council in a certification published by the Council in the District of Columbia Register. Section 302(b)(1)(A) of D.C. Law 19-141 added § 38-203(i)(A-i); Section 302(b)(1)(C) of D.C. Law 19-141 added § 38-203(i)(B-i); and Section 304(b)(1)(D) of D.C. Law 19-141 added 5 DCMR § A2103(c)(6).

Section 7011 of D.C. Law 20-61 repealed D.C. Law 18-228, § 3.


§ 4–1301.03. [Reserved].


§ 4–1301.04. Handling of reports — By Agency.

(a)(1) The Agency shall conduct a thorough investigation of a report of suspected child abuse or neglect to protect the health and safety of the child or children when a report involves a child fatality, suspected sex abuse, or the Agency suspects a child is at imminent risk of or has experienced abuse or neglect that the Agency determines to be severe.

(2) For all other reports of suspected child abuse or neglect, the Agency, directly or through a contractor or another appropriate District agency, shall conduct either a thorough investigation or a family assessment. A family’s cooperation with the family assessment and its acceptance of services offered pursuant to the assessment shall be voluntary; provided, that there are no child-safety concerns.

(3) If at any time the Agency determines that a report referred for family assessment should be re-referred for an investigation, the Agency shall commence an investigation pursuant to subsections (b), (c), and (d) of this section and the requirements of this subchapter.

(4) If the family assessment determines that the family needs services, the Agency, directly or through a contractor or another appropriate District agency, shall assist the family in obtaining these services.

(5) The family assessment shall commence as soon as possible, but no later than 5 days after the Agency’s receipt of the report, and shall include seeing the child and all other children in the household within that 5-day period; provided, that the report does not involve a child who is at imminent risk of or has experienced abuse or neglect that the Agency determines to be severe, in which case the report shall be referred for investigation.

(6) If at any time the Agency finds, through an evaluation, that the time period of 5 days to commence a family assessment is not serving the best interest of families and children, it shall re-evaluate its practices regarding commencement and implementation of the family assessment, comparing its practices with national standards and best practices. The Agency shall report the conclusions of any re-evaluation to the Council, along with recommendations, if any, for legislative initiatives that address the conclusions of the report.

(b) The investigation shall commence:

(1) Immediately upon receiving a report of suspected abuse or neglect or a referral for investigation following a family assessment indicating that the child’s safety or health is in immediate danger; and

(2) As soon as possible, and at least within 24 hours, upon receiving any report or a referral for investigation following a family assessment not involving immediate danger to the child.

(c) The initial phase of the investigation shall:

(1) Be completed within 24 hours of its commencement;

(2) Include notification and coordination with the Metropolitan Police Department when there is indication of a crime, including sexual or serious physical abuse; and

(3) Include:

(A) Seeing the child and all other children in the household outside of the presence of the caretaker or caretakers;

(B) Conducting an interview with the child’s caretaker or caretakers;

(C) Speaking with the source of the report;

(D) Assessing the safety and risk of harm to the child from abuse or neglect in the place where the child lives;

(E) Deciding on the safety of the child and of other children in the household;

(F) Deciding on the safety of other children in the care or custody of the person or persons alleged to be abusing or neglecting the child; and

(G) A finding as to whether the report of abuse or neglect is substantiated, inconclusive, or unfounded, unless at any time during the investigation the Director determines it appropriate to refer the family for a family assessment and suspends the investigation to complete a family assessment in accordance with rules issued pursuant to § 4-1306.01(d).

(d) The Agency may request the assistance of the Metropolitan Police Department to assist in the investigation or to ensure the safety of Agency staff.

(e)(1) Repealed.

(2) On or before December 15, 2011, the Agency shall submit a written report to the Council’s Committee on Human Services detailing the Agency’s progress toward using family assessments as authorized by this section, which shall include:

(A) A detailed review of the steps taken to phase in full implementation of this alternative to investigation;

(B) An evaluation of the strengths and needs of the implementation process; and

(C) Whether additional funding will be needed in fiscal year 2013 for expanded implementation.


(Sept. 23, 1977, D.C. Law 2-22, title I, § 104, 24 DCR 3341; Apr. 4, 2001, D.C. Law 13-277, § 2(b), 48 DCR 2043; Apr. 12, 2005, D.C. Law 15-341,§ 2(b), 52 DCR 2315; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-228, § 2(b), 57 DCR 6926; Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 5052(a), 58 DCR 6226.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-2102.

1973 Ed., § 6-2102.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1301.06a, § 4-1303.03, and § 4-1303.04.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-277 substituted “Agency” for “Division” throughout the section.

D.C. Law 15-341 rewrote the section.

D.C. Law 18-228 rewrote the section.

D.C. Law 19-21 repealed subsec. (e)(1); and, in subsec. (e)(2), substituted “December 15, 2011” for “October 1, 2010” in the lead-in language, substituted “to phase in full implementation of this alternative to investigation;” for “toward full implementation of this alternative to investigation; and” in subpar. (A), substituted “process; and” for “process.” in subpar. (B), and added subpar. (C).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 5022(a) of Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-93, June 29, 2011, 58 DCR 5599).

For temporary repeal of D.C. Law 18-228, § 3, see § 109 of the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Support Technical Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-482, October 12, 2012, 59 DCR 12478).

For temporary repeal of D.C. Law 18-228, § 3, see § 109 of the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Support Technical Clarification Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-604, January 14, 2013, 60 DCR 1045), applicable as of January 10, 2013.

For temporary (90 days) repeal of D.C. Law 18-228, § 3, see § 7011 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-130, July 30, 2013, 60 DCR 11384, 20 DCSTAT 1827).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of D.C. Law 18-228, § 3, see § 7011 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-204, October 17, 2013, 60 DCR 15341, 20 DCSTAT 2311).

Temporary Legislation

Section 109 of D.C. Law 19-226 repealed D.C. Law 18-228, § 3.

Section 402(b) of D.C. Law 19-226 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Short Title

Short title: Section 5051 of D.C. Law 19-21 provided that subtitle F of title V of the act may be cited as “Families Together Amendment Act of 2011”.

Section 7001 of D.C. Law 20-61 provided that Subtitle A of Title VII of the act may be cited as the “Subject to Appropriations Repealers Amendment Act of 2013”.

Editor's Notes

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

Section 3 of D.C. Law 18-228 provided: “Sec. 3. Applicability. This act shall apply upon the inclusion of its fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan.”

Section 7011 of D.C. Law 20-61 repealed D.C. Law 18-228, § 3.


§ 4–1301.05. Handling of reports — By police.

(a) The police shall, as soon as possible after the receipt of a report of a neglected child other than an abused child, inform the Agency of its contents and any action the police are taking or have taken.

(b) The police may, upon the receipt of a report of an abused child, inform the Agency of its contents and shall, as soon as possible when the report is a substantiated report, inform the Agency of its contents and any action they are taking or have taken.

(c) The police shall immediately after a report is received commence an investigation of the circumstances alleged in the report.

(d) The police shall immediately after a report is received commence an investigation of a case of a neglected child in immediate danger which case was referred from the Agency or reported directly to the police.

(e) Upon the receipt of a report alleging a child is or has been left alone or without adequate supervision, the police shall respond to the report immediately and shall take such steps as are necessary to safeguard the child until a Agency staff member arrives: Provided, however, that if the Agency does not arrive within a reasonable time, the police may transport the child to the Agency. The transporting of a child to the Agency pursuant to this subsection shall not be considered a taking into custody as described in § 16-2309.


(Sept. 23, 1977, D.C. Law 2-22, title I, § 105, 24 DCR 3341; Apr. 4, 2001, D.C. Law 13-277, § 2(c), 48 DCR 2043; Oct. 19, 2002, D.C. Law 14-206,§ 2(b), 49 DCR 7815.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-2103.

1973 Ed., § 6-2103.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1303.04.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-277 substituted “Agency” for “Division” throughout the section.

D.C. Law 14-206, in subsec. (b), substituted “substantiated report” for “supported report”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) delay of the applicability of provisions changing the manner in which the Child and Family Services Agency will process reports of child abuse and neglect, see § 3 of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-494, October 23, 2002, 49 DCR 9781).

For temporary (90 day) delay of the applicability of provisions changing the manner in which the Child and Family Services Agency will process reports of child abuse and neglect, see § 3 of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-603, January 7, 2003, 50 DCR 687).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 3(b) of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Temporary Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Law 14-240, March 25, 2003, law notification 50 DCR 2753).

Editor's Notes

Application of Law 14-206: Section 16(b) of D.C. Law 14-310 provided that section 2(a)(2), (4), (5), (6), and (7), (b), (c), (d), (e), (h), (i), (j), (k), and (l) of D.C. Law 14-206 shall apply as of October 1, 2003.

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


§ 4–1301.06. Investigation.

(a) The full investigation shall be completed no more than 30 days after the receipt of the first notice of the suspected abuse or neglect.

(b) The investigation shall determine:

(1) The nature, extent, and cause of the abuse or neglect, if any;

(2) If mental injury, as defined in § 16-2301(31), is suspected, an assessment of the suspected mental injury by a physician, a psychologist, or a licensed clinical social worker;

(3) If the suspected abuse or neglect is determined to be substantiated:

(A) The identity of the person responsible for the abuse or neglect;

(B) The name, age, sex, and condition of the abused or neglected child and all other children in the home;

(C) The conditions in the home at the time of the alleged abuse or neglect;

(D) Whether there is any child in the home whose health, safety, or welfare is at risk; and

(E) Whether any child who is at risk should be removed from the home or can be protected by the provision of resources, such as those listed in §§ 4-1303.03 and 4-1303.03a.

(c)(1) Within 5 business days after the completion of the investigation, the Agency shall complete a final report of its findings.

(2) The Agency shall provide a copy of a report regarding suspected abuse or neglect that addresses possible criminal activity to the Metropolitan Police Department, the Office of the Attorney General, and the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.

(d) If the Agency determines that a report was made in bad faith, the Agency shall refer the report to the Office of the Attorney General, which shall determine whether prosecution of the person making the report in bad faith is warranted.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be read as abrogating the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police Department for criminal investigations.


(Sept. 23, 1977, D.C. Law 2-22, title I, § 106, 24 DCR 3341; Apr. 4, 2001, D.C. Law 13-277, § 2(d), 48 DCR 2043; Apr. 12, 2005, D.C. Law 15-341,§ 2(c), 52 DCR 2315.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-2104.

1973 Ed., § 6-2104.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1301.06a, § 4-1303.03, and § 16-2353.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-277, in subsec. (a), substituted “with the Agency” for “with the Division” and substituted “either the Agency” for “either the department of Human Services”.

D.C. Law 15-341 rewrote the section.

Editor's Notes

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


§ 4–1301.06a. Exposure of children to drug-related activity.

(a) Upon receipt of a report that a child (1) is born addicted or dependent on a controlled substance or has a significant presence of a controlled substance in his or her system at birth; (2) has a controlled substance in his or her body as a direct and foreseeable consequence of the acts or omissions of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian; or (3) is regularly exposed to illegal drug-related activity in the home, the Agency shall:

(1) Commence an initial investigation in accordance with §§ 4-1301.04(b) and 4-1301.06;

(2) Determine whether the child should be removed temporarily from the home environment or can be protected in the home environment in accordance with § 4-1301.07(a); and

(3) Commence a social investigation and provide social services in accordance with § 4-1301.09(b), if the initial investigation results in a substantiated report.

(b) A social investigation pursuant to paragraph (a)(3) of this section shall include:

(1) A determination of whether there is reasonable evidence that any member of the child’s home environment uses drugs illegally, is dependent on drugs, or needs drug abuse treatment;

(2) A determination of whether there is reasonable evidence that the child is exposed regularly to drug use in the home environment;

(3) A determination of whether there is reasonable evidence that the distribution or sale of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia occurs in the child’s home environment; and

(4) A determination of whether there is reasonable evidence that drug-related activity has contributed to or is likely to contribute to violent conduct within the child’s home environment.

(c) The social services required by paragraph (a)(3) of this section shall include:

(1) Provision of drug treatment to any member of the child’s home environment who is determined to be in need of drug treatment according to Chapter 12 of Title 44;

(2) Measures to facilitate action by the child’s family, with the assistance of the Agency and the police, if necessary, to eliminate the child’s exposure to drug use or to the distribution or sale of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia in the home environment; and

(3) Any other service authorized or required by this subchapter or other applicable laws or rules of the District.


(Sept. 23, 1977, D.C. Law 2-22, title I, § 106a; as added Mar. 15, 1990, D.C. Law 8-87, § 3(b), 37 DCR 50; Apr. 18, 1996, D.C. Law 11-110, § 13(a), 43 DCR 530; Apr. 4, 2001, D.C. Law 13-277, § 2(e), 48 DCR 2043; Oct. 19, 2002, D.C. Law 14-206, § 2(c), 49 DCR 7815.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-2104.1.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-2383.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-277 substituted “Agency” for “Division” throughout the section.

D.C. Law 14-206, in subsec. (a), rewrote the lead-in language, and in par. (3), substituted “substantiated report” for “supported report”. The lead-in language of subsec. (a) had read as follows: “(a) The Agency shall, upon receipt of a report from a law enforcement officer or a health professional that a child is abused as a result of inadequate care, control, or subsistence due to exposure to drug-related activity in the home environment:”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) delay of the applicability of provisions changing the manner in which the Child and Family Services Agency will process reports of child abuse and neglect, see § 3 of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-494, October 23, 2002, 49 DCR 9781).

For temporary (90 day) delay of the applicability of provisions changing the manner in which the Child and Family Services Agency will process reports of child abuse and neglect, see § 3 of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-603, January 7, 2003, 50 DCR 687).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 3(b) of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Temporary Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Law 14-240, March 25, 2003, law notification 50 DCR 2753).

Editor's Notes

Application of Law 14-206: Section 16(b) of D.C. Law 14-310 provided that section 2(a)(2), (4), (5), (6), and (7), (b), (c), (d), (e), (h), (i), (j), (k), and (l) of D.C. Law 14-206 shall apply as of October 1, 2003.

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


§ 4–1301.06b. Obtaining records.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon the Agency’s request, a person who is required to report suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect under § 4-1321.02 shall immediately provide the Agency copies of all records in the possession of the person or the person’s employees of:

(1) A child who is the subject of an investigation of child abuse or neglect; provided, that the records bear directly on the allegations of abuse or neglect being investigated; and

(2) Any other child residing in the household where the abuse or neglect is alleged to have occurred when the Agency has a reasonable suspicion that the child’s health, safety, or welfare is at risk; provided, that the records bear directly on the basis of the Agency’s suspicion.

(b) The Agency shall request the records as needed for its investigation under this part.

(c) The Agency shall not be charged a fee for the records.

(d) If the Agency determines that the report of abuse or neglect is an unfounded report or an inconclusive report, as defined in § 4-1301.02, the Agency shall immediately destroy all copies of any records it has received under this section.


(Sept. 23, 1977, D.C. Law 2-22, title I, § 106b; as added July 18, 2008, D.C. Law 17-198, § 2, 55 DCR 6283; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-353, § 240(a), 56 DCR 1117.)

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-353 validated a previously made technical correction in subsec. (b).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2 of Child Abuse and Neglect Investigation Record Access Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-487, October 18, 2006, 53 DCR 8673).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Child Abuse and Neglect Investigation Record Access Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-670, December 28, 2006, 54 DCR 1150).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2 of Child Abuse and Neglect Investigation Record Access Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-166, October 19, 2007, 54 DCR 10972).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2 of Child Abuse and Neglect Investigation Record Access Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-246, January 23, 2008, 55 DCR 1249).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) addition, see § 2 of Child Abuse and Neglect Investigation Record Access Temporary Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Law 16-213, March 6, 2007, law notification 54 DCR 2764).

For temporary (225 day) addition, see § 2 of Child Abuse and Neglect Investigation Record Access Temporary Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Law 17-93, January 29, 2008, law notification 55 DCR 3400).


§ 4–1301.07. Removal of children.

(a) In cases in which a child is alleged to be a neglected, but not an abused, child the Agency shall determine whether the child should be removed from the home or can be protected by the provision of services or resources. If in the opinion of the Agency the available services or resources are insufficient to protect the child and there is insufficient time to petition for removal, the Agency shall request the police to remove the child pursuant to § 16-2309(a)(3) or (a)(4).

(b) In all cases for which the police are responsible for the initial investigation but which do not involve an immediate danger to a child, the police shall seek from the Agency and the Agency shall provide assistance in the determination of whether the child can be protected by the provision of services or resources or whether removal is necessary. Whenever possible the Agency shall dispatch a worker to the scene to provide assistance in this determination.

(c) In all cases for which the police are responsible for the initial investigation and which do involve an immediate danger to a child and require removal pursuant to § 16-2309(a)(3), the police shall immediately notify the Agency of the removal and the latter shall investigate alternative placements for the child.

(d) When, prior to a shelter care hearing, the Agency locates a suitable alternative placement pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the police may release the child pursuant to § 16-2311(a)(1).

(e) The Director of the Agency or his or her designee shall take custody of a child and remove the child from a hospital pending further custody proceedings if:

(1) The Director of the Agency receives written notification from the chief executive officer of a hospital located in the District of Columbia that a child has resided in the hospital for at least 10 days following the birth of the child, despite a medical determination that the child is ready for discharge; and

(2) The parent, guardian, or custodian of the child, as established by the hospital admission records, has not taken any action nor made any effort to maintain a parental, guardianship, or custodial relationship or contact with the child.


(Sept. 23, 1977, D.C. Law 2-22, title I, § 107, 24 DCR 3341; June 8, 1990, D.C. Law 8-134, § 3, 37 DCR 2613; Apr. 4, 2001, D.C. Law 13-277, § 2(f), 48 DCR 2043.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-2105.

1973 Ed., § 6-2105.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-251.03, § 4-1301.06a, § 4-1303.03, and § 16-2309.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-277 substituted “Agency” for “Division” throughout the section; and, in subsec. (e), substituted “Director of the ” for “Chief of the”.

Editor's Notes

For applicability of D.C. Law 13-277, see note following § 4-13035.01a.


§ 4–1301.08. Photographs and radiological examination.

As part of the investigation required by this part, any person responsible for the investigation may take, or have taken, photographs of each area of possible trauma on the child or photographs of the conditions surrounding the suspected abuse or neglect of the child, and if medically indicated, have radiological examinations, including full skeletal x-rays, performed on the child.


(Sept. 23, 1977, D.C. Law 2-22, title I, § 108, 24 DCR 3341; Oct. 19, 2002, D.C. Law 14-206, § 2(d), 49 DCR 7815; Apr. 12, 2005, D.C. Law 15-341,§ 2(d), 52 DCR 2315.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-2106.

1973 Ed., § 6-2106.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-206 substituted “substantiated report” for “supported report”.

D.C. Law 15-341 rewrote the section which had read as follows: “If there is a substantiated report, any person responsible for the investigation under § 4-1301.06 may take, or have taken, color photographs of each area of trauma visible on the child or photographs of the conditions surrounding the neglect of the child and, if medically indicated, have radiological examinations performed on the child.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) delay of the applicability of provisions changing the manner in which the Child and Family Services Agency will process reports of child abuse and neglect, see § 3 of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-494, October 23, 2002, 49 DCR 9781).

For temporary (90 day) delay of the applicability of provisions changing the manner in which the Child and Family Services Agency will process reports of child abuse and neglect, see § 3 of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-603, January 7, 2003, 50 DCR 687).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 3(b) of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Temporary Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Law 14-240, March 25, 2003, law notification 50 DCR 2753).

Editor's Notes

Application of Law 14-206: Section 16(b) of D.C. Law 14-310 provided that section 2(a)(2), (4), (5), (6), and (7), (b), (c), (d), (e), (h), (i), (j), (k), and (l) of D.C. Law 14-206 shall apply as of October 1, 2003.


§ 4–1301.09. Social investigation; services; report.

(a) If the initial investigation results in a substantiated report, the information from the initial investigation shall be immediately referred to the police or the Agency, as appropriate. A social investigation shall be commenced immediately by the Agency in all cases of an allegedly abused child which are referred for petition to the Family Agency of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and by the Agency in all other cases, except that cases which are or were recently active with the Agency may be investigated by the Agency. The purpose of the social investigation shall be to determine what services are required by the family to remedy the conditions of abuse or neglect.

(b) If there is a substantiated report, the agency responsible for the social investigation shall, as soon as possible, prepare a plan for each child and family for whom services are required on more than an emergency basis and shall forthwith take such steps to ensure the protection of the child and the preservation, rehabilitation and, when safe and appropriate, reunification of the family as may be necessary to achieve the purposes of this subchapter. Such steps may include, but need not be limited to: (1) arranging for necessary protective, rehabilitative and financial services to be provided to the child and the child’s family in a manner which maintains the child in his or her home; (2) referring the child and the child’s family for placement in a family shelter or other appropriate facility; (3) securing services aimed at reuniting (with his or her family) a child taken into custody, including but not limited to parenting classes and family counseling; (4) providing or making specific arrangements for the case management of each case when child protective services are required; and (5) referring the family to drug treatment services in the event of neglect or abuse that results from drug-related activity. To the maximum extent possible, the resources of the community (public and private) shall be utilized for the provision of services and case management.

(c) A report of the social investigation required under subsection (a) of this section and the plan required under subsection (b) of this section shall be submitted to all counsel at least 5 days prior to the date of the fact-finding hearing in cases in which a petition was filed pursuant to § 16-2305; provided, that nothing added to the report or the plan subsequent to either an initial appearance or shelter care hearing shall be considered by the court prior to the completion of the fact-finding hearing unless the parent, guardian, or custodian alleged to be responsible for the neglect consents to such consideration.

(d) As part of its activities under this section, the agency responsible for the social investigation shall assure:

(1) That each child has a case plan designed to achieve the child’s placement in a safe setting that is the least restrictive and most appropriate setting available, and is consistent with the best interests and special needs of the child; and

(2) If the child is placed outside of the home pursuant to § 16-2320(a)(3), that the child’s status is reviewed periodically during an administrative review.

(e)(1) The periodic review required by subsection (d)(2) of this section shall determine the safety of the child, the continuing necessity for and appropriateness of the placement, the extent of compliance with the case plan, and the extent of progress which has been made toward alleviating or mitigating the causes necessitating placement outside the home, and to project a date, not exceeding 14 months from the date of removal from the home, by which the child may be returned to and safely maintained in the home or placed for adoption or other permanent placement.

(2) The child and the following individuals, if there are any for the child, and their attorneys, shall be provided notice of, and an opportunity to be heard during, the administrative review required by subsection (d)(2) of this section:

(A) The child’s parents;

(B) The child’s guardian or legal custodian;

(C) The child’s current foster parent;

(D) The child’s current preadoptive parent;

(E) The child’s current kinship caregiver;

(F) The child’s attorney;

(G) The child’s guardian ad litem;

(H) The child’s therapist; and

(I) A relative or other individual with whom the child is currently placed pursuant to § 16-2320(a)(3)(C).


(Sept. 23, 1977, D.C. Law 2-22, title I, § 109, 24 DCR 3341; Mar. 15, 1990, D.C. Law 8-87, § 3(c), 37 DCR 50; Mar. 16, 1995, D.C. Law 10-227, § 2(a), 42 DCR 4; June 27, 2000, D.C. Law 13-136, § 201(b), 47 DCR 2850; Apr. 4, 2001, D.C. Law 13-277, § 2(g), 48 DCR 2043; Oct. 19, 2002, D.C. Law 14-206, § 2(e), 49 DCR 7815.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-2107.

1973 Ed., § 6-2107.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1301.06a.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-136 in subsec. (b) in the first sentence, inserted “safe and” prior to “appropriate”; and added subsecs. (d) and (e).

D.C. Law 13-277 substituted “Agency” for “Division” throughout the section; and, in subsec. (a), substituted “Agency” for “Intrafamily Branch of the Social Services Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia”.

D.C. Law 14-206, in subsecs. (a) and (b), substituted “substantiated report” for “supported report”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 201(b) 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) amendment of section, see § 201(b) 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) amendment of section, see § 201(b) 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) delay of the applicability of provisions changing the manner in which the Child and Family Services Agency will process reports of child abuse and neglect, see § 3 of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-494, October 23, 2002, 49 DCR 9781).

For temporary (90 day) delay of the applicability of provisions changing the manner in which the Child and Family Services Agency will process reports of child abuse and neglect, see § 3 of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-603, January 7, 2003, 50 DCR 687).

Temporary Legislation

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

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 3(b) of Improved Child Abuse Investigations Technical Temporary Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Law 14-240, March 25, 2003, law notification 50 DCR 2753).

Editor's Notes

Application of Law 14-206: Section 16(b) of D.C. Law 14-310 provided that section 2(a)(2), (4), (5), (6), and (7), (b), (c), (d), (e), (h), (i), (j), (k), and (l) of D.C. Law 14-206 shall apply as of October 1, 2003.

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


§ 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.