Code of the District of Columbia

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

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

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

(A) Written materials concerning paternity establishment;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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