Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–311. Sealing and inspection of records and papers.

From and after the filing of the petition, records and papers in adoption proceedings shall be sealed. They may not be inspected by any person, including the parties to the proceeding, except upon order of the court, and only then when the court is satisfied that the welfare of the child will thereby be promoted or protected. Such records and papers shall, upon written application to the court, be unsealed and provided to the Child Fatality Review Committee for inspection if the adoptee is deceased and inspection of the records and papers is necessary for the discharge of the Committee’s official duties. The clerk of the court shall keep a separate docket for adoption proceedings.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 541, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; Oct. 3, 2001, D.C. Law 14-28, § 4620(a), 48 DCR 6981.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-311.

1973 Ed., § 16-311.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-28 inserted “Such records and papers shall, upon written application to the court, be unsealed and provided to the Child Fatality Review Committee for inspection if the adoptee is deceased and inspection of the records and papers is necessary for the discharge of the Committee’s official duties.” after “promoted and protected.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 20(a) of Child Fatality Review Committee Establishment Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-40, April 25, 2001, 48 DCR 5917).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 20(a) of Child Fatality Review Committee Establishment Legislative Review Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-82, July 9, 2001, 48 DCR 6355).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 20(a) of Child Fatality Review Committee Establishment Temporary Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-20, September 6, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 9090).