§ 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.