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October 2012Vol. 13, No. 9Postadoption Contact Agreement Factsheet

Legally enforceable agreements for contact between birth and adoptive families after an adoption is finalized have been permitted in Washington, DC, since the passage of an adoption reform law in 2010. A factsheet from DC's Children's Law Center, Post-Adoption Contact Agreements, highlights the different types of contact between families and other issues that should be considered when drafting such agreements.
The factsheet includes the text of the new law, five practice points for child welfare professionals, and a sample postadoption contact agreement. The five practice points include:

  1. Postadoption contact agreements are voluntary, and adoptive and biological parents, or other birth relatives, must agree on all provisions.
  2. The statute does not define "contact." Individual agreements must define the type and regularity of contact between families.
  3. Any adopted youth older than 14 must consent, in writing, to the provisions within the agreement.
  4. The agreement is enforceable by law and only a judge can change the terms of the agreement after it is signed. 
  5. Because the law is new, many social workers, lawyers, and judges may not yet be aware of how postadoption contact agreements will work in practice.

The factsheet is available on the Children's Law Center website:  (485 KB)