Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 14. Placement of Children in Family Homes.


Subchapter I. General.

§ 4–1401. Purpose of subchapter.

The purpose of this subchapter is to secure for each child under 16 years of age who is placed in a family home, other than his own or that of a relative within the third degree, such care and guidance as will serve the child’s welfare and the best interests of the District of Columbia; and to secure for him custody and care as near as possible to that which should have been given him by his parents.


(Apr. 22, 1944, 58 Stat. 193, ch. 174, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1001.

1973 Ed., § 32-781.

Cross References

Adoption, generally, see § 16-301 et seq.


§ 4–1402. “Child-placing agency” defined; license required.

(a) Any person, firm, corporation, association, or public agency that receives or accepts a child under 16 years of age and places or offers to place such child for temporary or permanent care in a family home other than that of a relative within the third degree shall be deemed to be maintaining a child-placing agency. No child-placing agency shall be maintained in the District of Columbia without a license issued by the Mayor of the District of Columbia; provided, that notwithstanding any provisions of § 4-1404 such a license shall be issued forthwith to any corporation or association chartered by special act of Congress and having under its charter the purposes or powers of a child-placing agency as herein defined.

(b) Any license issued pursuant to this section shall be issued as a Public Health: Child Health and Welfare endorsement to a basic business license under the basic business license system as set forth in subchapter I-A of Chapter 28 of Title 47.


(Apr. 22, 1944, 58 Stat. 193, ch. 174, § 2; Apr. 23, 1980, D.C. Law 3-59, § 2(a), 27 DCR 983; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2003(z), 46 DCR 3142; Oct. 28, 2003, D.C. Law 15-38, § 3(f), 50 DCR 6913.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1002.

1973 Ed., § 32-782.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1305.01.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-38, in subsec. (b), substituted “Public Health: Child Health and Welfare endorsement to a basic business license under the basic” for “Class A Public Health: Child Health and Welfare endorsement to a master business license under the master”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(f) of Streamlining Regulation Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-145, August 11, 2003, 50 DCR 6896).


§ 4–1403. Appointment of committee to promulgate rules and regulations; composition and tenure. [Repealed]

Repealed.


(Apr. 22, 1944, 58 Stat. 193, ch. 174, § 3; June 8, 1954, 68 Stat. 246, ch. 273, § 1; Apr. 23, 1980, D.C. Law 3-59, § 2(a), (b), 27 DCR 983; Aug. 21, 1982, D.C. Law 4-141, § 2(a), (b), 29 DCR 2867; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-230, § 201(a), 57 DCR 6951.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1003.

1973 Ed., § 32-783.

Editor's Notes

Advisory group to committee established: See Commissioner’s Order No. 71-13, dated January 19, 1971.


§ 4–1404. Application for issuance of licenses.

(a) An application for a license as a child-placing agency shall be made to the Mayor on forms provided by him and in the manner prescribed. Before such license is issued the Department of Health shall arrange to have an investigation made of the activities and standards of care of the agency and shall consult with persons having official connection with the agency. If the Department of Health is satisfied as to the good character and intent of the applicant, and that the agency is adequately financed, and that its staff, procedures, and services conform to the established standards of care, the Department of Health shall recommend to the Mayor that a license be issued.

(b) A provisional license may be issued to any agency which is temporarily unable to conform to all the provisions of the established standards of care upon terms and conditions prescribed by the Mayor upon recommendation of the Department of Health.

(c) All licenses shall be issued for one year from the date thereof and may be renewed annually on the application of the agency, except that provisional licenses may be issued for not more than 3 successive years.


(Apr. 22, 1944, 58 Stat. 193, ch. 174, § 4; June 8, 1954, 68 Stat. 247, ch. 273, § 2; Apr. 23, 1980, D.C. Law 3-59, § 2(a), 27 DCR 983; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-230, § 201(b), 57 DCR 6951.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1004.

1973 Ed., § 32-784.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1402.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-230, in subsecs. (a) and (b), substituted “Department of Health” for “Department of Human Services”; and, in subsec. (a), substituted “the Department of Health” for “the Department” and “the Department of Health” for “said Department”.

Editor's Notes

Board of Public Welfare abolished: The Board of Public Welfare was abolished and the functions thereof transferred to the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia by Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952. Reorganization Order No. 58 as amended, redesignated as Organization Order No. 140 and amended, established, under the direction and control of a Commissioner, a Department of Public Welfare, headed by a Director with the purpose of planning, implementing, and directing public welfare programs. Reorganization Order No. 58 provided that the previously existing Board of Public Welfare would be abolished. That Order also transferred specified functions of the former Board to the Department of Public Health and the Department of Public Welfare. The executive functions of the Board of Commissioners were transferred to the Commissioner of the District of Columbia by § 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967. Functions of the Department of Public Welfare and of the Department of Public Health as set forth in Organization Order Nos. 140 and 141, respectively, were transferred to the Director of the Department of Human Resources by Commissioner’s Order No. 69-96, dated March 7, 1969, as amended by Commissioner’s Order No. 70-83, dated March 6, 1970. The Department of Human Resources was replaced by the Department of Human Services by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1979, dated February 21, 1980.


§ 4–1405. Persons and agencies authorized to place children; custody, control and visitation by agencies; confidentiality of records.

(a) No person other than the parent, guardian, or relative within the third degree, and no firm, corporation, association, or agency, other than a licensed child-placing agency, may place or arrange or assist in placing or arranging for the placement of a child under 16 years of age in a family home or for adoption. In accordance with the rules and regulations promulgated hereunder, any licensed child-placing agency may accept children for placement in family homes and shall have and maintain care, custody, and control of any such child until returned to the person from whom received or until responsibility for the child is transferred to another child welfare agency or terminated by the order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

(b) Every such agency shall keep and maintain careful supervision of all children under its care, including those placed in family homes, and its officers or agents shall visit all such homes and families as often as may be necessary to promote the welfare of such child; provided, that legally adopted children shall not be subject to such supervision and visitation, or other supervision or visitation. Every such agency shall keep such records as shall be required by the rules and regulations promulgated hereunder and all records regarding children and all facts learned about children and their parents or relatives shall be deemed confidential.

(c) Records which are deemed confidential shall not be available for inspection by nor disclosed to any person, firm, corporation, association, or public agency, except that such records shall be available for inspection by authorities authorized by law to license child-placing agencies. Such records shall not be subject to judicial subpoena in collateral proceedings, except that the licensed child-placing agency and the Mayor in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated hereunder, may make such records, or any information contained in such records, available:

(1) When the Mayor or such agency determines that any information contained in such records shall promote or protect the interest and welfare of any child the Mayor or such agency has served; and

(2) For the purpose of research if adequate safeguards are taken against the disclosure or publication in any manner of the identity of any person contained in such records.


(Apr. 22, 1944, 58 Stat. 194, ch. 174, § 5; June 8, 1954, 68 Stat. 247, ch. 273, § 3; Apr. 23, 1980, D.C. Law 3-59, § 2(a), 27 DCR 983.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1005.

1973 Ed., § 32-785.


§ 4–1405.01. Agreements with foreign agencies.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this subchapter, the Mayor is authorized to enter into agreements with any person, firm, corporation, association, or public agency licensed or authorized by a state or country for the care and placement of minors, permitting such person, firm, corporation, association, or public agency to place nonresident children in foster or adopting homes in the District of Columbia. The Mayor shall act pursuant to regulations promulgated as provided in § 4-1403 [repealed].


(Apr. 22, 1944, ch. 174, § 5A; as added June 8, 1954, 68 Stat. 247, ch. 273, § 4; Apr. 23, 1980, D.C. Law 3-59, § 2(a), 27 DCR 983.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1006.

1973 Ed., § 32-785a.


§ 4–1406. Parental rights; termination or relinquishment; vesting in agencies or Mayor; exercise in adoption proceedings.

(a)(1) Whenever a licensed child-placing agency shall have been given the permanent care and guardianship of any child and the rights of the parent or parents of such child have been terminated by order of the court of competent jurisdiction or by a legally executed relinquishment of parental rights, the agency is vested with parental rights and may consent to the adoption of the child pursuant to the statutes regulating adoption procedure. Minority of a natural parent shall not be a bar to such parent’s relinquishment to a licensed agency.

(2) For purposes of this section, “licensed child-placing agency” shall mean any child-placing agency licensed pursuant to this chapter or any child-placing agency licensed or authorized by any state, territory, or possession of the United States, by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or by any foreign country or any state, province or other governmental division of any foreign country for the care and placement of minors.

(b) Repealed.

(c) Any relinquishment of parental rights executed by a single natural parent or by both natural parents, other than by court order as provided in this subsection, may be automatically revoked by a verified writing executed by the single parent or both parents respectively and submitted to the agency within 14 calendar days of executing a legal relinquishment. Where both natural parents execute a relinquishment of parental rights, other than by court order, either parent may automatically revoke his or her relinquishment of parental rights by executing a verified writing submitted to the agency within 14 calendar days of executing the relinquishment. The rights of the parent not seeking custody shall be terminated and such parent shall not have the power to obstruct the revocation. If the 14th day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the deadlines for filing the revocation shall be extended to the next working day. No relinquishment of parental rights shall be considered final until the revocation period has expired with no revocation having been made by the natural parent. Automatic revocation of relinquishment can be exercised only once.

(d) A waiting period of 30 days from the date of revocation of the first relinquishment shall expire before a second relinquishment can be executed. A relinquishment, if exercised a second time, shall be irrevocable, unless an additional right to revoke is granted by court order upon a finding by the court that the relinquishment was not given voluntarily, e.g., the relinquishment was induced by fraud, coercion, material mistake or other factors that bear on a determination of voluntariness.

(e) Any relinquishment of parental rights and revocation thereof may be transferred from one licensed child-placing agency to another child-placing agency in which case the second agency shall assume all the rights and duties of the first agency.

(f) Except in proceedings for adoption, no parent may voluntarily assign or otherwise transfer to another his rights and duties with respect to the permanent care and control of a child under 16 years of age, unless such relinquishment of parental rights is made to a licensed child-placing agency. Such relinquishment of parental rights shall be a statement in writing signed by the person relinquishing such parental rights who shall subscribe his name thereto and acknowledge the same before a representative of the licensed child-placing agency in the presence of at least 1 witness. Each transfer or relinquishment of parental rights and any revocation of said relinquishment shall be recorded and filed by the child-placing agency in a properly sealed file in the Family Division of the Superior Court for the District of Columbia within 20 days after the expiration of the revocation period. Any subsequent relinquishment shall be filed by the child-placing agency in a properly sealed file in the Family Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia within 30 days after the date of relinquishment. The seal of said file shall not be broken except for good cause shown and upon the written order of a judge of said Court.

(g) The relinquishment form used by the child-placing agency shall contain the following notice to the parent in clear and conspicuous language:

(1) Notice to the relinquishing parent of the parent’s automatic right of revocation within 14 calendar days from the date of relinquishment;

(2) Notice that a relinquishment if exercised a second time shall be irrevocable;

(3) Notice that the child-placing agency has a statutory obligation to file all notices of the relinquishment and revocation thereof with the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.

(h) Relinquishing parents shall be orally advised of their rights as described in subsection (g) of this section. The child-placing agency shall orally advise the relinquishing parent as to the nature and consequences resulting from the execution of the relinquishment document prior to relinquishment.

(i) The Mayor or his designated agents are empowered to accept permanent care and guardianship of any child by a legally executed relinquishment of parental rights and when vested with such parental rights shall exercise them in the same manner as prescribed herein for a licensed child-placing agency. Such parental relinquishment taken by the Mayor or his designated agents shall be subject to the same rights and requirements as to form, transfer, and disposition as are prescribed herein for a licensed child-placing agency.


(Apr. 22, 1944, 58 Stat. 194, ch. 174, § 6; June 8, 1954, 68 Stat. 248, ch. 273, § 5; Apr. 11, 1956, 70 Stat. 113, ch. 204, § 107(c); Aug. 21, 1959, 73 Stat. 413, Pub. L. 86-177, § 1; July 8, 1963, 77 Stat. 77, Pub. L. 88-60, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 578, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 159(i); Apr. 23, 1980, D.C. Law 3-59, § 2(a), 27 DCR 983; Apr. 4, 1984, D.C. Law 5-72, §§ 2, 3, 31 DCR 732; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-230, § 201(c), 57 DCR 6951; May 2, 2015, D.C. Law 20-269, § 2(a), 62 DCR 1551.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1007.

1973 Ed., § 32-786.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-114, § 4-301, § 4-302, § 4-342, § 4-1451.05, and § 16-304.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-230 repealed subsec. (b); and, in subsec. (c), substituted “14” for “10” in two places and substituted “14th day” for “10th day”. Prior to repeal, subsec. (b) read as follows: “(b) No relinquishment of parental rights shall be made within the first 72 hours after birth. Prior to any relinquishment any corporation, association, or public agency that conducts a licensed child-placing agency shall provide counseling, by a professional social worker, to the relinquishing parent regarding the alternative services available in addition to psychological and emotional counseling to both the parent and the child.”

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-269 substituted “14 calendar days” for “10 calendar days” in (g)(1).

Cross References

Public welfare supervision, adoption subsidy payments, see § 4-301.

Public welfare supervision, dependent children, mayor powers regarding custody, placement, and adoption, see § 4-302.

Public welfare supervision, powers of mayor over dependent children, see § 4-114.

Family court, original jurisdiction, see § 11-1101.

References in Text

The reference to “this subsection,” in the first sentence in subsection (c), does not reflect the amendment of this section by D.C. Law 5-72. The reference should probably now read “subsection (a) of this section.”.


§ 4–1407. Refusal to issue, revocation or suspension of licenses; reinstatement or reissuance.

The Mayor may refuse to reissue or may revoke or suspend the license of any child-placing agency after full hearing on proof of violation of any provisions of this subchapter or the rules and regulations promulgated hereunder. Before any license shall be suspended or revoked the holder thereof shall have notice in writing of the charge or charges and shall, at the date and place specified in said notice, which shall be at least 5 days after the service thereof, be given a hearing by said Mayor, or his designated agents, with a full opportunity to produce testimony in his, her, or its behalf. Any licensee whose license has been suspended or revoked may, after the expiration of 90 days, on application to the said Mayor, have the same reinstated or reissued upon satisfactory proof that the disqualification has ceased.


(Apr. 22, 1944, 58 Stat. 195, ch. 174, § 7; Apr. 23, 1980, D.C. Law 3-59, § 2(a), 27 DCR 983.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1008.

1973 Ed., § 32-787.

Cross References

Administrative procedure, judicial review, see § 2-510.

Administrative procedure, supplemental procedures, suppression of conflicting laws, see § 2-501.


§ 4–1407.01. Agency required to check enumerated registers for child abuse or neglect; effect of failure of agency to check or obtain information.

Prior to placement of a child in a family home, a child-placing agency licensed in the District of Columbia and the Department of Human Services shall:

(1) Obtain written consent from applicants for release of information from:

(A) The D.C. Child Protection Register established under subchapter I of Chapter 13 of this title;

(B) Registers of child abuse and neglect located in all states, territories and possessions of the United States in which the applicant has resided within the previous 5 years; and

(C) If applicable, from any registers maintained by any branch of the armed forces of the United States.

(2) Check the proposed placement of a child in a family home with the Child Protection Register and, where applicable, with other registers pursuant to subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (1) of this section for the purpose of determining whether there has been a report of child abuse or neglect. Failure of an agency to make such check prior to placement may result in suspension, revocation, or refusal to renew that agency’s child placement license. Failure of any agency to obtain information from a register due to policies and procedures in those jurisdictions other than the District of Columbia or the various branches of the armed forces of the United States, prohibiting release of such information, shall not constitute a violation under this paragraph.


(Apr. 22, 1944, 58 Stat. 193, ch. 174, § 7a; as added Aug. 21, 1982, D.C. Law 4-141,§ 2(c), 29 DCR 2867.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1008.1.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1302.03.

Cross References

Child abuse and neglect, access to register, restrictions on release of information, see § 4-1302.03.


§ 4–1408. Violations; prosecution.

Any person, firm, corporation, association, or public agency who conducts a child-placing agency without a license as provided for in this chapter or who violates any of the provisions of this subchapter shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $300 or imprisoned for not more than 90 days, or both. Prosecution for violations of such sections shall be upon information in the Criminal Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia. Civil fines, penalties, and fees may be imposed as alternative sanctions for any infraction of the provisions of this chapter, or any rules or regulations issued under the authority of this chapter, pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2. Adjudication of any infraction of this chapter shall be pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2.


(Apr. 22, 1944, 58 Stat. 195, ch. 174, § 8; July 8, 1963, 77 Stat. 77, Pub. L. 88-60, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 570, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 155(a); Oct. 5, 1985, D.C. Law 6-42, § 444, 32 DCR 4450.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1009.

1973 Ed., § 32-788.


§ 4–1409. Investigations and inspections.

The Department of Health is authorized to make such investigations and inspections as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this subchapter.


(Apr. 22, 1944, 58 Stat. 195, ch. 174, § 9; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-230,§ 201(d), 57 DCR 6951.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1010.

1973 Ed., § 32-789.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-230 substituted “Department of Health” for “Department of Human Services”.

Editor's Notes

Board of Public Welfare abolished: The Board of Public Welfare was abolished and the functions thereof transferred to the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia by Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952. Reorganization Order No. 58 as amended, redesignated as Organization Order No. 140 and amended, established, under the direction and control of a Commissioner, a Department of Public Welfare, headed by a Director with the purpose of planning, implementing, and directing public welfare programs. Reorganization Order No. 58 provided that the previously existing Board of Public Welfare would be abolished. That Order also transferred specified functions of the former Board to the Department of Public Health and the Department of Public Welfare. The executive functions of the Board of Commissioners were transferred to the Commissioner of the District of Columbia by § 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967. Functions of the Department of Public Welfare and of the Department of Public Health as set forth in Organization Order Nos. 140 and 141, respectively, were transferred to the Director of the Department of Human Resources by Commissioner’s Order No. 69-96, dated March 7, 1969, as amended by Commissioner’s Order No. 70-83, dated March 6, 1970. The Department of Human Resources was replaced by the Department of Human Services by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1979, dated February 21, 1980.


§ 4–1410. Authority to charge or receive compensation for services; inability to pay adoption costs.

(a)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, neither the Mayor nor a child-placing agency authorized to perform services in connection with placement of a child in a family home for adoption may make or receive any charge or compensation for these services.

(2) A child-placing agency may charge an adoptive parent a reasonable fee if the child-placing agency is operating in the District of Columbia exclusively for religious purposes or as a nonprofit organization, pursuant to section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, approved August 16, 1954 (68A Stat. 163; 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)), and no part of its net earnings inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.

(b)(1) A child-placing agency providing domestic or international adoption services that is authorized to charge a fee pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall develop a sliding-fee scale based on the per capita income of the applicant and provide each applicant with:

(A) Its fee and refund policy;

(B) An estimate of the agency’s maximum fee for specific services;

(C) Information regarding available public and private subsidies;

(D) Its sliding income fee scale; and

(E) A complete list of the services that it will provide at each stage of the adoption process.

(2) If a child-placing agency that charges a fee fails to implement and to maintain a sliding-fee scale as required by this subchapter, or rules issued pursuant to this subchapter, the failure shall be grounds for suspension or revocation of its license.

(b-1) In addition to the fee set forth in subsection (b) of this section, a child-placing agency providing domestic or international adoption services that is authorized to charge a fee pursuant to subsection (a) of this section may charge an adoptive parent reasonable fees, but not more than the actual cost, for the following:

(A) Customary and reasonable legal expenses of the child-placing agency;

(B) Costs of locating an absent birthparent;

(C) Foster care expenses incurred by the child-placing agency for a period not to exceed 120 days of foster care;

(D) The living expenses of the birthmother, including food, shelter, and clothing;

(E) Transportation costs to obtain medical services, adoption- related services, or costs associated with any required court appearance related to the adoption, including food and lodging expenses;

(F) Expenses for adoption counseling or counseling for the birthparents by an independent mental health professional;

(G) The birthmother’s legal, hospital, and medical expenses;

(H) Legal fees and costs in connection with contested adoption proceedings;

(I) Expenses incurred by the child-placing agency in connection with an adoption dissolution and alternative placement of a child; and

(J) Expenses incurred by the child-placing agency in obtaining the documents required to complete the homestudy assessment.

(c) Except for a reasonable, nonrefundable administrative fee, a child-placing agency shall not retain the fee paid by an adoptive parent unless the child-placing agency has provided the service.

(d)(1) The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.], shall issue rules to implement the provisions of this section, including the process for suspension and revocation of the license required to maintain a child-placing agency.

(2) No later than May 31, 2015, the Mayor shall issue rules to implement the provisions of subsection (b-1) of this section.


(Apr. 22, 1944, ch. 174, § 12; June 8, 1954, 68 Stat. 248, ch. 273, § 6; Apr. 23, 1980, D.C. Law 3-59, § 2(a), 27 DCR 983; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-230, § 201(e), 57 DCR 6951; Sept. 26, 2012, D.C. Law 19-171, § 34, 59 DCR 6190; May 2, 2015, D.C. Law 20-269, § 2(b), 62 DCR 1551.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1011.

1973 Ed., § 32-790.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-230 rewrote the section.

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-171 validated the paragraph designations in (b)(1).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-269 added (b-1).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary provisions requiring, on an emergency basis, criminal background investigations for individuals residing in foster family homes or other homes in which children are placed by order, see §§ 2-15 of the Criminal Background Investigation for the Protection of Children Emergency Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-431, September 4, 1998, 45 DCR 5915), and §§ 2-15 of the Criminal Background Investigation for the Protection of Children Legislative Review Emergency Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-503, January 27, 1999, 45 DCR 8134).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Private Adoption Fee Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-252, December 17, 2009, 57 DCR 36).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2 of D.C. Law 18-114 rewrote the section to read as follows:

“Sec. 12. (a) Neither the Mayor nor a child-placing agency authorized to perform services in connection with placement of a child in a family home for adoption may make or receive any charge or compensation for these services; except, that a child-placing agency that is operating in the District of Columbia exclusively for religious purposes or as a nonprofit organization pursuant to section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, approved August 16, 1954 (68A Stat. 163; 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)), and no part of its net earnings inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, may charge an adoptive parent a reasonable fee.

“(b)(1) A child-placing agency providing domestic or international adoption services that is authorized to charge a fee pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall develop a sliding fee scale based on the per capita family income size of the applicant and provide each applicant with:

“(A) Its fee and refund policy;

“(B) An estimate of the agency’s maximum fee for specific services;

“(C) Information regarding available public and private subsidies;

“(D) Its sliding fee scale; and

“(E) A complete list of the services that it will provide at each stage of the adoption process.

“(2) The failure of a child-placing agency that charges a fee to implement and to maintain a sliding fee scale as required by this section shall be grounds for suspension or revocation of its license. The Mayor, pursuant to Title I of the District of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act, approved October 21, 1968 (82 Stat. 1204; D.C. Official Code § 2-501 et seq.), shall issue rules to implement the provisions of this paragraph.

“(c) Except for a reasonable, nonrefundable administrative fee, a child-placing agency shall not retain the fee paid by an adoptive parent unless the child-placing agency has provided the service.”

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 18-114 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.


Subchapter II. Interstate Compact on Placement of Children.

§ 4–1421. Definitions.

The term “appropriate authority” as used in this compact means, with reference to the District of Columbia, the Director of the Child and Family Services Agency for children who have been abused or neglected and the Director of the Department of Human Services for all other children.


(Sept. 20, 1989, D.C. Law 8-30, § 3, 36 DCR 4744; Apr. 4, 2001, D.C. Law 13-277, § 3(d), 48 DCR 2043.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1041.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1515.08, § 4-1303.02a, and § 4-1303.03.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-277 rewrote the section which prior thereto read:

“The term ‘appropriate authority’ as used in this compact means, with reference to the District, the Director of the Department of Human Services.”

Editor's Notes

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

Complementary Legislation: Ala.—Code 1975, §§  44-2-20 to 44-2-26. Alaska—AS 47.70.010 to 47.70.080. Ariz.—A.R.S. §§ 8-548 to 8-548.06. Ark.—A.C.A. §§ 9-29-201 to 9-29-208. Cal.—West’s Ann. Cal.Fam.Code, §§ 7900 to 7912. Colo.—West’s C.R.S.A. §§ 24-60-1801 to 24-60-1803. Conn.—C.G.S.A. § 17a-175 to 17a-182. Del.—31 Del.C. § 381. D.C.—D.C. Official Code, 2001 Ed. §§ 4-1421 to 4-1424. Fla.—West’s F.S.A. §§ 409.401 to 409.405. Ga.— O.C.G.A. §§ 39-4-1 to 39-4-10. Hawaii—H R S §§ 350E-1 to 350E-9. Idaho—I.C. §§ 16-2101 to 16-2107. Ill.—S.H.A. 45 ILCS 15/0.01 to 15/9. Ind.—West’s A.I.C. 31-28-4-1 to 31-28-4-8. Iowa—I.C.A. §§ 232.158 to 232.168. Kan.—K.S.A. 38-1201 to 38-1206. Ky.—KRS 615.030 to 615.050, 615. 990. La.—LSA-Ch.C. arts. 1608 to 1622. Maine—22 M.R.S.A. §§ 4251 to 4269. Md.—Code, Family Law, §§ 5-601 to 5-611. Mass.—M.G.L.A. c. 119 App., §§ 2-1 to 2-8. Mich.—M.C.L.A. §§ 3.711 to 3.717. Miss.—Code 1972, §§ 43-18-1 to 43-18-17. Mo.—V.A.M.S. §§ 210.620 to 210.640. Mt.—M.C.A. 41-4-101 to 41-4-109. Nev.—N.R.S. 127.320 to 127.350. N.H.—RSA 170-A:1 to 170-A:6. N.J.—N.J.S.A. 9:23-5 to 9:23-17. N.M.—NMSA 1978, §§ 32A-11-1 to 32A-11-7. N.Y.—McKinney’s Social Services Law, § 374-a. N.C.—G.S. §§ 7B-3800 to 7B-3806. N.D.—NDCC 14-13-01 to 14-13-08. Ohio—R.C. §§ 5103.23 to 5103.237. Okl.—10 Okl.St.Ann. §§ 571 to 576. Ore.—ORS 417.200 to 417.260. Pa.—62 P.S. §§ 761 to 765. R.I.—Gen.Laws. 1956, §§ 40-15-1 to 40-15-10. S.C.—Code 1976, §§ 63-9-2200 to 63-9-2290. S.D.—SDCL 26-13-1 to 26-13-9. Tenn.—T.C.A. §§ 37-4-201 to 37-4-207. Tex.—V.T.C.A., Family Code §§ 162.101 to 162.107. Utah—U.C.A. 1953, 62A-4a-701 to 62A-4a-709. Vt.—33 V.S.A. §§ 5901 to 5910. Virgin Islands—34 V.I.C. §§ 121 to 127. Va.—Code 1950, §§ 63.2-1000, 63.2-1100 to 63.2-1105. Wash.—West’s RCWA 26.34.010 to 26.34.080. W.Va.—Code, 49-2A-1, 49-2A-2. Wis.—W.S.A. 48.988, 48.989. Wyo.—Wyo.Stat.Ann. §§ 14-5-101 to 14-5-108.


§ 4–1422. Authority to enter into and execute Compact.

The Mayor of the District of Columbia (“District”) is authorized to execute a compact on behalf of the District with any state that legally joins the compact in the form substantially as follows:

ARTICLE I Purpose and policy. It is the purpose and policy of the party states to cooperate in the interstate placement of children to the end that:

(1) Each child who requires placement shall receive the maximum opportunity to be placed in a suitable environment with a person or institution that has appropriate qualifications and facilities to provide necessary and desirable care.

(2) The appropriate authority in a state where a child is to be placed may have full opportunity to ascertain the circumstances of the proposed placement in order to promote full compliance with applicable requirements for the protection of the child.

(3) The appropriate authority of the sending state may obtain the most complete information on the basis of which to evaluate a projected placement before it is made.

(4) Appropriate jurisdictional arrangements for the care of children are promoted.

ARTICLE II Definitions. For the purposes of this compact the term:

(1) “Child” means a person who, by reason of minority, is legally subject to parental, guardianship, or similar control.

(2) “Placement” means the arrangement for the care of a child in a family, boarding home, or child-care agency or institution, but does not include an institution that cares for the mentally ill, mentally defective, or epileptic, an institution primarily educational in character, or a hospital or other medical facility.

(3) “Receiving state” means the state to which a child is sent, brought, or caused to be sent or brought, whether by a public authority, a private person, or an agency, and whether for placement with a state or local public authority or private agency or person.

(4) “Sending state” means a party state, including the District of Columbia, an officer or employee of the sending state, a subdivision of a party state, an officer, employee, or court of the party state, or a person, corporation, association, charitable agency, or other entity that sends, brings, or causes to be sent or brought a child to another party state.

ARTICLE III Conditions for placement.

(a) No sending state shall send, bring, or cause to be sent or brought into any other party state a child for placement in foster care or prior to a possible adoption, unless the sending state complies with each requirement set forth in this compact and applicable laws of the receiving state that govern the placement of children.

(b) Prior to sending, bringing, or causing a child to be sent or brought into a receiving state for placement in foster care or prior to a possible adoption, the sending state shall furnish the appropriate authority in the receiving state written notice of the intention to send, bring, or place the child in the receiving state. The notice shall contain:

(1) The name, date, and place of birth of the child;

(2) The identity and address of the parents or legal guardian;

(3) The name and address of the person, agency, or institution to or which the sending state proposes to send, bring, or place the child; and

(4) A full statement of the reason for the proposed action and evidence of the authority for the proposed placement.

(c) The appropriate authority in a receiving state who receives notice pursuant to subsection (b) of this article may request of the sending state, and shall be entitled to receive, supporting or additional information necessary to carry out the purpose and policy of this compact.

(d) The child shall not be sent, brought, or caused to be sent or brought into the receiving state until the appropriate authority in the receiving state notifies the sending state, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

ARTICLE IV Penalty for illegal placement. Any person or state who sends, brings, or causes to be sent or brought into a receiving state a child in violation of the terms of this compact may be punished or subjected to a penalty in either the sending or receiving state in accordance with the laws of each. In addition to liability for any punishment or penalty, each violation shall constitute full and sufficient grounds for the suspension or revocation of any license, permit, or other legal authorization held by the sending state that authorizes it to place or care for children.

ARTICLE V Retention of jurisdiction.

(a) The sending state shall retain jurisdiction over the child sufficient to determine all matters that relate to the custody, supervision, care, treatment, and disposition of the child that it would have had if the child had remained in the sending state, until the child is adopted, reaches the age of majority, becomes self-supporting, or is discharged with the concurrence of the appropriate authority in the receiving state. The sending state shall continue to have financial responsibility for the support and maintenance of the child during the period of the placement. Nothing contained in this compact shall defeat a claim of jurisdiction by a receiving state to deal with an act of delinquency or crime committed in the receiving state.

(b) When the sending state is a public agency, it may enter into an agreement with an authorized public or private agency in the receiving state to provide for the performance of any service with respect to the child by the receiving state as agent for the sending state.

(c) Nothing in this compact shall be construed to prevent a private charitable agency authorized to place children in the receiving state from performing services or acting as agent in the receiving state for a private charitable agency of the sending state, nor to prevent the agency in the receiving state from discharging financial responsibility for the support and maintenance of a child who has been placed on behalf of the sending state without relieving the responsibility set forth in subsection (a) of this article.

ARTICLE VI Institutional care of delinquent children. A child adjudicated delinquent may be placed in an institution in another party state pursuant to this compact, but no placement shall be made unless the child is given a court hearing, with an opportunity to be heard after notice to the parent or guardian, before the child is sent to the party state for institutional care and the court finds that:

(1) Equivalent facilities for the child are not available in the sending state; and

(2) Institutional care in the receiving state is in the best interest of the child and will not produce undue hardship.

ARTICLE VII Compact administrator. The appropriate authority shall be the general coordinator of activities under this compact in his or her state and who, acting jointly with the appropriate authority of other party states, shall promulgate rules and regulations in accordance with the procedures established by subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2.

ARTICLE VIII Limitations. This compact shall not apply if:

(1) A child is sent or brought into a receiving state by his parent, step-parent, grandparent, adult brother or sister, adult uncle or aunt, or his guardian, or if the child is left with the relative or nonagency guardian in the receiving state.

(2) A child is placed, sent, or brought into a receiving state pursuant to any other interstate compact to which both the state from which the child is placed and the receiving state are parties, or to any other agreement between the sending and receiving states that has the force of law.

ARTICLE IX Enactment and withdrawal. This compact shall be open to joinder by any state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and, with the consent of Congress, the government of Canada or any Canadian province. The compact shall be effective when the jurisdiction has enacted the compact into law. Withdrawal from this compact shall be by the enactment of a statute that repeals the compact, but the repeal shall not take effect until 2 years after the effective date of the statute that repeals the compact and written notice of the withdrawal has been given by the withdrawing state to the executive head of each other party jurisdiction. Withdrawal of a party state shall not affect the rights, duties, or obligations under this compact of any sending state with respect to a placement made prior to the effective date of withdrawal.

ARTICLE X Construction and severability. The provisions of this compact shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes of the compact. If this compact is held to be contrary to the constitution of any party state, the compact shall remain in effect as to the remaining states and in effect as to the state affected as to all severable matters.


(Sept. 20, 1989, D.C. Law 8-30, § 2, 36 DCR 4744.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1042.


§ 4–1423. Agreements with other states.

An officer of the District that has the authority to place children and an official of a private agency licensed as a child placement agency by the District government pursuant to subchapter I of this chapter, is authorized to enter into an agreement with the appropriate officer or agency in another party state pursuant to subsection (b) of Article V of the compact.


(Sept. 20, 1989, D.C. Law 8-30, § 4, 36 DCR 4744.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1043.


§ 4–1424. Delinquent children, administrative hearing, judicial review.

(a) If a child is adjudicated delinquent and committed to the custody of the District of Columbia Department of Human Services (“DHS”), pursuant to § 16-2320, and DHS, pursuant to Article VI of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (“Compact”) places the child in another party jurisdiction, the rules issued pursuant to this section shall apply for purposes of meeting the requirements of Article VI of the compact.

(b) DHS shall afford an opportunity for an administrative hearing to the parents or legal guardian before placing a child. Subsequent to the hearing, the decision to make a placement upon request of the parent or guardian of the child may be reviewed at a court hearing in the Juvenile Branch of the Family Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The court hearing shall be held within 30 days after a request is made. The decision to place the child in an institution in another party state shall be upheld if the court finds that:

(1) Equivalent facilities for the child are not available within the jurisdiction of the District; and

(2) Institutional care in another state is in the best interest of the child and will not produce undue hardship.

(c) Except as provided in this section, the manner and standard of review by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia shall be as set forth in subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2.

(d) A court review in accordance with this section shall not authorize the court to:

(1) Order DHS to pay for the care or treatment of a child who has not been committed to its custody;

(2) Order specific placement in another party state if the child has been committed to the custody of DHS;

(3) Review a decision by DHS to return a child to the District; or

(4) Set aside the placement decision of DHS, unless an abuse of discretion is found.

(e) This section shall not affect the authority of the court to order a specific placement.


(Sept. 20, 1989, D.C. Law 8-30, § 5, 36 DCR 4744.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 32-1044.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of §§ 32-1061 to 32-1068 1981 Ed., see §§ 401 to 408 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 §§ 32-1061 to 32-1068 1981 Ed., see §§ 401 to 408 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 §§ 32-1061 to 32-1068 1981 Ed., see §§ 401 to 408 of the Adoption and Safe Families Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-240, January 11, 2000, 47 DCR 556).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) additions, see §§ 401 to 408 of Adoption and Safe Families Temporary Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Law 13-56, March 7, 2000, law notification 47 DCR 1978).