Super. Ct. Fam. Div. Adoption R. 7

District of Columbia Rules of Court

Superior Court Rules of the Family Division

Adoption Rules of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Rule 7. Pleadings; Petition; Requirements for Filing; Report and Recommendation

 (a) Pleadings.

 (1) The Clerk shall accept for filing a petition for adoption, any opposition, required consents and relinquishments.  All such pleadings shall be signed by the party on whose behalf the same is filed and acknowledged before an officer authorized by law to take acknowledgements, unless the party be of unsound mind.  No other pleading shall be allowed, except as ordered by the Court.  All petitions relating to the same prospective adoptee and all pending petitions by the same petitioner(s) shall be cross-referenced by the Clerk on each case file.

 (2) All papers submitted to the Court shall be in the format prescribed in forms provided by the Court.

 (3) When commencing a new action for adoption, the petitioner(s) shall provide the Clerk with the following, if applicable:

   (A) Appropriate filing fee.

   (B) Original petition for adoption with any consents in the petitioner's possession.

   (C) Proposed order of reference.

   (D) Proposed order for expedited response.

   (E) Notice of adoption proceedings and show cause order.

   (F) Proposed order of adoption (final and/or interlocutory).

   (G) Original Vital Records Form.

 (b) Petition for Adoption.  Except as ordered by the Court on good cause shown, a separate petition for adoption shall be required for each prospective adoptee.  The petition for adoption or the exhibits annexed thereto shall contain all the following information:

 (1) The name, sex, date, and place of birth of the prospective adoptee, and the names, addresses and residences of the birth parents, if known to the petitioner, except that in an adoption proceeding that is consented to by the Mayor or a licensed child-placing agency, the names, addresses and residences of the birth parents shall not be set forth.

 (2) The name, address, age, date of birth, business or employment of the petitioner, and the name of the employer of the petitioner, if any.

 (3) The relationship, if any, of the prospective adoptee to the petitioner.

 (4) The race and religion of the prospective adoptee, or of the prospective adoptee's birth parent or parents.

 (5) The race and religion of the petitioner.

 (6) The date that the prospective adoptee commenced residing with the petitioner.  If the prospective adoptee is not in the home of the petitioner, the reasons why the prospective adoptee is not residing with the petitioner.

 (7) Any change of name of the prospective adoptee which may be desired.

 (8) That the jurisdiction of the Superior Court is based on the fact that:

   (A) the petitioner is a legal resident of the District of Columbia (state length of residence);

   (B) the petitioner has actually resided in the District of Columbia for at least one year next preceding the filing of the petition (state length of residence);  or

   (C) the prospective adoptee is in the legal care, custody or control of the Mayor or a child-placing agency licensed under the laws of the District of Columbia.

 (9) Whether approval pursuant to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) (D.C.Code § 32-1041 et seq.) has been received (including a copy of such approval, if received), or an explanation of why the ICPC is not applicable.

 (10) Whether the Indian Child Welfare Act (Title 25 U.S.C. § 1901 et seq.) is applicable to the adoption, and, if so, whether there has been compliance with the Act.

 (11) Whether there are executed original written consents to the adoption, relinquishments of parental rights signed by birth parents, orders terminating parental rights by a court of competent jurisdiction, an affidavit by a putative father denying paternity and/or an affidavit by the birth mother that the birth father is unknown.

 (12) The name and address of the agency responsible for securing any required consent or relinquishment of birth parent(s), if the prospective adoptee was placed by a licensed child-placing agency.

 (13) The name and address of the birth parent(s) who have not executed a consent and the reason a consent has not been executed, if the prospective adoptee was not placed by a licensed child-placing agency.

 (14) What specific efforts have been made to identify and locate the birth parent, if a birth parent's identity or location is unknown.

 (15) Petitioner's marital status or relationship with the co-petitioner at the time of filing the adoption petition.

 (16) When, where, and by whom the placement of the prospective adoptee with the petitioner was made.

 (17) Any court actions in any court involving the prospective adoptee which have been initiated or pending within the prior five years.

 (18) A list of any civil, criminal or domestic relations cases (by caption, case number, and name of court, if known), involving the petitioner as a party in a personal capacity within the last 10 years.

 (19) If the combined assets of the prospective adoptee exceed $3,000, an itemization of the assets.

 (20) Whether the petitioner has received medical, social and background information on the prospective adoptee.

 (21) The petitioner's desire to adopt and treat the prospective adoptee as the petitioner's lawful child.

 (22) Whether the petitioner is fit and able to give the prospective adoptee a proper home and education.

 (23) Whether the petitioner has requested a subsidy agreement and, if so, the status of the agreement.

 When any of the above facts are unknown to the petitioner, the petitioner shall so state.

 (c) Order of Reference and Order of Expedited Response.  Unless a waiver has been granted pursuant to D.C.Code § 16-308, the petitioner shall provide the Clerk with a proposed order of reference and a proposed order of expedited response containing the name and address of the reporting agency.  Upon the filing of a petition, the Court shall refer the petition for investigation, report and recommendation by the issuance of an order of reference and an order of expedited response which shall issue immediately to:

 (1) the licensed child-placing agency by which the case is supervised;  or

 (2) the Mayor, if the case is not supervised by a licensed child-placing agency.

 (d) Report and Recommendation.  A report and recommendation must be filed by the reporting agency pursuant to the order of reference and the Clerk shall serve notice that such filing has occurred (but not the report and recommendation) on all the parties.  The report and recommendation shall include, unless not applicable, the following:

 (1) General Information:

   (A) Adoption case name.

   (B) Adoption case number.

   (C) Whether the petitioner is a legal resident of the District of Columbia or has actually resided in the District for at least one year, or whether the prospective adoptee is in the legal care, custody or control of the Mayor or a child-placing agency licensed in the District of Columbia.

   (D) Whether any allegations of the petition are inaccurate and, if so, an explanation.

   (E) Whether there are any known competing adoption petitions for the prospective adoptee and, if so, the adoption case number(s).

   (F) Whether there are any known adoption petitions for siblings of the prospective adoptee, and if so, the adoption case number(s).

   (G) Whether there are any known court actions in any court involving the prospective adoptee, and the results of an agency search in all jurisdictions in which the birth mother or prospective adoptee has resided since the prospective adoptee's birth or within the past five years, whichever is shorter.

   (H) Whether the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children is applicable and appropriate approvals have been obtained, or the reason it is not applicable or the approvals have not been obtained.

   (I) Whether the petitioner has requested a subsidy agreement and, if so, the status of the application.

   (J) A list of fees paid by the petitioner(s) in connection with the adoption.

 (2) Petitioner's Family.  The reporting agency shall provide the following information with respect to each petitioner:

   (A) Full name of petitioner.

   (B) Any previous legal names of petitioner, including maiden name.

   (C) Petitioner's date of birth (birth certificate verified).

   (D) Marital status of petitioner (marriage license verified).

   (E) Whether petitioner has ever been divorced (divorce decrees verified).

   (F) Result of child abuse registry checks in all states where petitioner has lived in the last ten years, and a military registry check, if applicable.

   (G) Name, address, gender, relationship, and results of child abuse record check of each person living in the petitioner's household.

   (H) Religion of petitioner.

   (I) Race of petitioner.

   (J) Highest level of education attained by petitioner.

   (K) Social security number of petitioner.

   (L) Dates and types of agency contacts with petitioner and family, including specific date of at least one post-petition home visit.

   (M) Readiness of the petitioner to parent a child not born to the petitioner.

   (N) Attitudes and feelings of the petitioner's family and significant others involved with the family toward adoptive children.

   (O) Attitudes of the petitioner toward birth parents in general and, if applicable, toward the birth parents in this case.

   (P) Attitudes of petitioner toward the reason the prospective adoptee is in need of adoption.

   (Q) Emotional stability and maturity of the petitioner, including the capacity to give and receive affection.

   (R) Assessment of the petitioner's ability to cope with problems, stress, crises, and losses, including availability of formal and informal support systems.

   (S) Assessment of the compatibility and stability of the petitioners.

   (T) Ability of the petitioner to provide for the prospective adoptee's physical and emotional needs.

   (U) Petitioner's attitude toward discipline and child-rearing.

   (V) Description of the adoptive home, including the adequacy of space and whether the home is physically suitable for the prospective adoptee.

   (W) Worker's assessment of the plan for child care if the petitioners work.

   (X) Summary of the medical history of the petitioner, including the results of any screening for a contagious or life-threatening disease in the last ten years and a doctor's report of any physical or mental condition that may affect the petitioner's ability to parent a child.

   (Y) Summary of the medical history for each person living in the home of the petitioner.

   (Z) Whether any adoptive placement was ever disrupted with the petitioner and, if so, an explanation.

   (AA) Petitioner's financial status, including current and past employment, income, savings, assets and liabilities, life insurance coverage, and medical insurance coverage.

   (BB) Names and addresses of at least three references on the petitioner, method of contact and summary of references' comments.

   (CC) Whether the petitioner has any other children living outside of the household and, if so, their names, addresses, dates of birth, custodians if applicable, whether petitioner is paying support and if there are any support arrearages reported in the child support registry.

 (3) Birth Parents.  The reporting agency shall provide the following information with respect to each birth parent:

   (A) Name, address and telephone number.

   (B) Social security number.

   (C) Employer's name and address and birth parent's position and work telephone number.

   (D) Date and place of birth.

   (E) Marital status currently, at time of prospective adoptee's birth and during the ten months prior to prospective adoptee's birth.

   (F) If the birth mother is married to someone other than the putative father, the name, address and telephone number of husband.

   (G) Race.

   (H) Religion.

   (I) Birth parent's medical history, including physical, mental and substance abuse.

   (J) How the case initially came to the agency's attention.

   (K) Circumstances surrounding the adoptee's placement.

   (L) Legal status of the prospective adoptee with respect to each birth parent, including all of the following which are appropriate to the case:

 (i) Relinquishment, including the D.C. Superior Court case number or the attachment of the original of out-of-state relinquishment or certified copy of appropriate out-of-state order.

 (ii) Certified copy of court order terminating parental rights.

 (iii) Certified copy of consent if not previously submitted.

 (iv) Affidavit of a putative father denying paternity with original attached if not previously submitted.

 (v) Affidavit by the birth mother that the birth father is unknown with attached summary of agency's efforts to determine identity.

 (vi) Statement by social worker of efforts to locate identified birth father.

   (M) Affidavit by the birth mother as to the identity and last known address of the birth father or possible birth fathers or an affidavit by a social worker that such an affidavit is unobtainable and why.

   (N) Affidavit by the reporting agency's social worker on what funds have been paid to or on behalf of a birth parent by either the agency or the prospective adoptive parents.

 (4) Prospective Adoptee.  The reporting agency shall provide the following information with respect to the prospective adoptee:

   (A) Full birth name.

   (B) Proposed adopted name.

   (C) Place of birth, including hospital.

   (D) Date of birth.

   (E) Birth certificate number.

   (F) Neglect case number.

   (G) Court social file number.

   (H) If the combined assets of the prospective adoptee exceed $3,000, an itemization of the assets.

   (I) Race.

   (J) Religion.

   (K) Whether the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is known to be applicable to the prospective adoptee.

   (L) Physical, mental and emotional health and development of the prospective adoptee including a prognosis of future needs.

   (M) School information including prospective adoptee's school, grade and achievement.

   (N) Care the prospective adoptee has received in petitioner's home, the prospective adoptee's adjustment to the home and the petitioner's adjustment to the prospective adoptee.

   (O) Relationship of the prospective adoptee to other members of the petitioner's household, peers and other adults.

   (P) Child care arrangements and arrangements for care of the prospective adoptee in the event of the petitioner's death.

   (Q) Prospective adoptee's placement history.

 (5) Other Circumstances and Conditions.  The reporting agency shall include a written statement concerning any other circumstances and conditions that may have a bearing on the proposed adoption and of which the Court should have knowledge.  This statement should include, but is not limited to:

   (A) Any information which does not appropriately fit into another category listed in this rule.

   (B) Any concerns by the agency or a social worker that should be further explored by the Court.

   (C) Any illegal or questionable payment of money in connection with the adoption.

 (6) Recommendations.  The reporting agency shall make a recommendation for or against the proposed adoption, accompanied by a narrative statement supporting the recommendation.  If the reporting agency withholds recommendation pending receipt of missing information, it shall specify what information is needed to complete the recommendation and the steps taken to obtain the information.

 (7) Signatures.  The reporting agency shall include in its report a statement that the information contained in the report is true and correct to the best of its knowledge, a list of names of all persons who assisted in investigating and compiling the information in the report and the signatures of the social worker who prepared the report and the supervisor who approved the report.

 (8) Court Waiver of Specific Requirements.  If any of the information required in the report and recommendation under this paragraph (d) is unknown, not reasonably available or missing, the Court may waive a specific requirement or enter a decree after consideration of a report and recommendation from which some information is missing.

 (e) Supplemental Report and Recommendation.  The reporting agency shall immediately file with the Court a supplemental investigation report and recommendation listing newly-discovered material facts or material changes of circumstances.  If the petitioner changes physical residence such supplemental report and recommendation shall include the date and results of an additional home visit.

 (f) Decree of Adoption.  A proposed decree of adoption, either final or interlocutory, shall state:

 (1) Full name(s) of petitioner(s).

 (2) Proposed name of adoptee.

 (3) That adoptee is mentally and physically suitable for adoption.

 (4) That petitioner(s) is/are fit and able to give the adoptee a proper home and education.

 (5) That adoption would be in the best interests of the adoptee.

 (6) That a Vital Records Form has been completed in compliance with  D.C.Code § 6-209.

 (7) The date and place of birth of prospective adoptee.

 (8) The date that the prospective adoptee began to continuously reside with the petitioner(s).

 (9) If the proposed decree is an interlocutory decree of adoption, the decree shall state that "this Interlocutory Decree of Adoption shall automatically become final on the ____ day of __________, ____."

[Effective October 1, 1997.]

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