Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–2320. Disposition of child who is neglected, delinquent, or in need of supervision.

(a) If a child is found to be neglected, the Division exercising juvenile jurisdiction shall also have jurisdiction over any natural person who is a parent or caretaker of the child to secure the parent or caretaker’s full cooperation and assistance in the entire rehabilitative process and may order any of the following dispositions which will be in the best interest of the child:

(1) Permit the child to remain with his or her parent, guardian, or other custodian, subject to such conditions and limitations as the Division may prescribe, including, but not limited to, the following services for the child and his or her parent, guardian, or other custodian:

(A) medical, psychiatric, or other treatment at an appropriate facility under protective supervision;

(B) parenting classes; and

(C) family counseling.

(2) Place the child under protective supervision.

(3) Transfer legal custody to any of the following —

(A) a public agency responsible for the care of neglected children;

(B) a child placing agency or other private organization or facility which is licensed or otherwise authorized by law and is designated by the Mayor of the District of Columbia to receive and provide care for the child; or

(C) a relative or other individual who is found by the Division to be qualified to receive and care for the child except that no child shall be ordered placed outside his or her home unless the Division finds the child cannot be protected in the home and there is an available placement likely to be less damaging to the child than the child’s own home.

It shall be presumed that it is generally preferable to leave a child in his or her own home.

(4) Commitment of the child for medical, psychiatric, or other treatment at an appropriate facility on an in-patient basis if, at the dispositional hearing provided for in section 16-2317, the Division finds that confinement is necessary to the treatment of the child. A child for whom medical, psychiatric, or other treatment is ordered may petition the Division for review of the order thirty days after treatment under the order has commenced, and, if, after a hearing for the purpose of such review, the original order is affirmed, the child may petition for review thereafter every six months.

(5) The Division may make such other disposition as is not prohibited by law and as the Division deems to be in the best interests of the child. The Division shall have the authority to (i) order any public agency of the District of Columbia to provide any service the Division determines is needed and which is within such agency’s legal authority and (ii) order any private agency receiving public funds for services to families or children to provide any such services when the Division deems it is in the best interests of the child and within the scope of the legal obligations of the agency.

(6) Terminate the parent and child relationship for the purpose of seeking an adoptive placement for the child pursuant to subchapter III of this chapter.

(b) Unless a child found neglected is also found to be delinquent, he shall not be committed to, or confined in, an institution for delinquent children.

(c) If a child is found to be delinquent or in need of supervision, the Division exercising juvenile jurisdiction shall also have jurisdiction over any natural person who is a parent or caretaker of the child to secure the parent or caretaker’s full cooperation and assistance in the entire rehabilitative process and may order any of the following dispositions which will be in the best interest of the child:

(1) Any disposition authorized by subsection (a) of this section (other than paragraphs (3)(A) and (5) thereof).

(2) Transfer of legal custody to a public agency for the care of delinquent children; provided, that legal custody shall not be transferred to a public agency for the care of delinquent children when the child in question is less than 10 years of age.

(3) Probation under such conditions and limitations as the Division may prescribe, including but not limited to the completion of parenting classes or family counseling in cases where either or both was ordered by the Division.

(c-1) The Division shall order any child between the ages of 14 and 18 years who is found to be delinquent or in need of supervision to perform a minimum of 90 hours of community service with an agency of the District government or a non-profit or community service organization in accordance with section 24-904(a).

(c-2) When determining what disposition shall be ordered under subsection (c) of this section, the Division shall consider any victim impact statement submitted to the Division and the victim, or the immediate family members of the victim when the victim is a child or when the victim is deceased or incapacitated, shall have the right to make a statement at the disposition hearing. The absence of the victim at disposition shall not preclude the court from holding the hearing.

(c-3) When determining what disposition shall be ordered under subsection (a) of this section, the Division may consider a child’s failure to appear at a scheduled hearing.

(d)(1) No child found in need of supervision, unless also found delinquent, shall be committed to or placed in a secure juvenile residential facility, as defined in [§ 22-2603.01(7)], or a secure residential treatment facility for delinquent juveniles.

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection, a child found in need of supervision shall be released to the child's parent, guardian, or custodian; provided, that the child may be committed to or placed in a foster home, group home, youth shelter, or other appropriate home for children in need of supervision if the return of the child will result in placement in, or return to, an abusive situation, or the child's parent, guardian, or custodian is unwilling or unable to care for or supervise the child. If the return of the child will result in placement in, or return to, an abusive situation, or if the child's parent, guardian, or custodian is unwilling or unable to care for or supervise the child, the Child and Family Services Agency shall open a neglect investigation.

(e) No child who is found to be delinquent, in need of supervision, or neglected shall be committed to a penal or correctional institution for adult offenders.

(f) In its dispositional order for a child adjudicated neglected, the Division shall:

(1) Address the matters set forth in section 16-2319(c) by accepting, modifying, or rejecting the plan submitted pursuant thereto. If the plan is rejected or major modifications are made, the agency charged with service responsibility shall within 30 days submit to the Division and to all parties a plan which addresses the matters delineated in section 16-2319(b). The agency responsible for providing the services shall promptly report to the Division and all parties if it is unable for whatever reasons to provide the services delineated in the plan;

(2) Include a determination of whether:

(A) Reasonable efforts were made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal, or, in the alternative, that the child’s removal from the home is necessary regardless of any services that could be provided to the child or the child’s family; and

(B) Continuation of the child in the child’s home would be contrary to the welfare of the child.

(g) The department or agency to whom the legal custody of a child has been transferred pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall give notice, which may be oral, of any change in the placement of the child to the child’s parent, the child’s guardian ad litem and the child’s foster parent at least ten (10) days prior to the change in placement, except that in the case of an emergency notice shall be given no later than twenty-four (24) hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays) after the change. Notice of a change in placement need not be given to the parent when the judge has determined that visitation would be detrimental to the child or the judge has determined that the parent should not be apprised of the child’s location. Upon the request of any person entitled to notice under this subsection the department or agency having legal custody of the child shall afford an opportunity for an administrative hearing to review the proposed change in the placement of the child. Except in the case of an emergency, the hearing shall be held and a decision rendered prior to a change in the placement.

(h) Any child who is found to be delinquent for violation of the provisions of the District of Columbia Uniform Controlled Substances Act of 1981 may, in addition to any other disposition ordered by the court for his supervision, care, and rehabilitation, be ordered to attend classes conducted by the Mayor pursuant to section 48-905.04(c).


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 535, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 121(a); Sept. 23, 1977, D.C. Law 2-22, title IV, § 407, 24 DCR 3341; Aug. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 4-29, § 604(b)(3), 28 DCR 3081; Apr. 30, 1988, D.C. Law 7-104, § 4(p), 35 DCR 147; May 10, 1989, D.C. Law 7-231, § 26, 36 DCR 492; Jan. 31, 1990, D.C. Law 8-61, § 3, 36 DCR 5798; May 15, 1993, D.C. Law 9-272, § 102, 40 DCR 796; Mar. 16, 1995, D.C. Law 10-227, § 3(c), 42 DCR 4; Apr. 9 1997, D.C. Law 11-255, § 18(g), 44 DCR 1271; June 27, 2000, D.C. Law 13-136, § 301(e), 47 DCR 2850; Mar. 17, 2005, D.C. Law 15-261, §§ 602(f), 702, 52 DCR 1188; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-306, § 206(c), 53 DCR 8610; Apr. 4, 2017, D.C. Law 21-238, § 102(f), 63 DCR 15312.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-2320.

1973 Ed., § 16-2320.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1515.05, § 4-342, § 4-1301.09, § 4-1303.05, § 4-1305.02, § 4-1305.06, § 4-1305.08, § 4-1424, § 7-1231.14, § 16-2304, § 16-2319, § 16-2323, § 16-2327, § 16-2331, and § 16-2332.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-136 rewrote subsec. (f), which previously read:

“In its dispositional order for a child adjudicated neglected the Division shall address the matters set forth in section 16-2319(c) by accepting, modifying, or rejecting the plan submitted pursuant thereto. If the plan is rejected or major modifications are made, the agency charged with service responsibility shall within thirty (30) days submit to the Division and to all parties a plan which addresses the matters delineated in section 16-2319(b). The agency responsible for providing the services shall promptly report to the Division and all parties if it is unable for whatever reasons to provide the services delineated in the plan.”

D.C. Law 15-261 added subsec. (c-2); and rewrote subsec. (d) which had read as follows: “(d) No child found in need of supervision, unless also found delinquent, shall be committed to or placed in an institution or facility for delinquent children; except that if such child has previously been found in need of supervision and the Division, after hearing, so finds, the Division may specify that such child be committed to or placed in an institution or facility for delinquent children.”

D.C. Law 16-306 added subsec. (c-3).

Cross References

Agency authorization of medical treatment, physical custody of child, see § 4-1303.05.

Delinquent children, placement under compact, see § 4-1424.

Applicability

Section 7026 of D.C. Law 22-33 amended § 701(a) of D.C. Law 21-238, removing the applicability restriction impacting this section. Therefore the changes made to this section by D.C. Law 21-238 have been implemented.

Applicability of D.C. Law 21-238: § 701 of D.C. Law 21-238 provided that the change made to this section by § 102(f)(2) of D.C. Law 21-238 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been implemented.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of § 701|(a) of D.C. Law 21-238, see § 7026 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of § 701|(a) of D.C. Law 21-238, see § 7026 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 301(d) 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) amendment of section, see § 301(d) 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) amendment of section, see § 301(d) of the Adoption and Safe Families Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-240, January 11, 2000, 47 DCR 556).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 206(c) of Omnibus Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-445, July 19, 2006, 53 DCR 6443).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 206(c) of Omnibus Public Safety Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-490, October 18, 2006, 53 DCR 8686).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 206(c) of Omnibus Public Safety Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-10, January 16, 2007, 54 DCR 1479).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 206(c) of Omnibus Public Safety Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-25, April 19, 2007, 54 DCR 4036).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 301(d) of Adoption and Safe Families Temporary Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Law 13-56, March 7, 2000, law notification 47 DCR 1978).

References in Text

The “District of Columbia Uniform Controlled Substances Act of 1981,” referred to in subsection (h), is D.C. Law 4-29. Section 505 of the Act is codified at § 48-905.05; however, the reference to § 505(c) of the Act in subsection (h) should probably be to § 504(c) of the Act which is codified at § 48-905.04.