FAQ for Providers

 

What is the Parentage and Paternity Program?

Who should use the information on this page?

How do I offer parents an opportunity to sign the Acknowledgment of Parentage?

Are there any other options available if one or both parents do not want to sign the acknowledgment?

Does signing the Acknowledgment of Parentage establish any custody or visitation rights?

What if a minor (under age 18) wants to sign the acknowledgment?

What if one parent wants to sign, but the other parent does not?

What if the birth mother is or was married but the spouse or ex-spouse will not be the second parent listed on the birth certificate?

Can parents change their minds after they sign the acknowledgment?

What should I say if parents have questions about child support that I cannot answer?

How to order materials

Contact a parentage and paternity coordinator for further parentage-related questions.

Subscribe to the DSHS DCS Parentage and Paternity Newsletter

 


What is the Parentage and Paternity Program?

In 2019,  26,178 children were born to unmarried parents in Washington State. The Parentage and Paternity Program provides unmarried parents an opportunity to voluntarily sign an Acknowledgment of Parentage. Once both parents sign the acknowledgment and it is witnessed or notarized, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) may enter the second parent's name on the birth certificate. The acknowledgment establishes a legal finding of parentage. A parent may rescind his or her signature by completing a Rescission of Parentage form. The form must be completed and filed within a maximum 60 days after the Acknowledgment of Parentage form or the Denial of Parentage form is filed or before the first court hearing to determine parentage relating to the child, whichever happens first. After the rescission period, a challenge to the acknowledgment may be filed in court for limited reasons up to four years after the acknowledgment is filed with DOH. Legally establishing parentage helps a child become eligible to receive certain benefits. Some of those benefits include child support, Social Security, health insurance, and inheritance rights. Establishing parentage also makes it possible for the child to enjoy a sense of belonging that comes from knowing both parents. Washington's program began in July 1989. Your efforts helped the parents of almost 21,000 children sign a Paternity Acknowledgment last year.

 

 

 


Who should use the information on this page?

Hospitals, midwives, birth clinics, health departments, physicians, and other organizations form the back-bone of Washington State's Parentage and Paternity Program. Your efforts have made Washington State's program an outstanding success and a model for the nation. These FAQs provide you with the information you need to comply with federal and state laws and meet the needs of parents who desire to sign an  acknowledgment. We sincerely appreciate your efforts!

Any person or organization who offers unmarried parents an opportunity to sign an Acknowledgment of Parentage should read and follow this guide. Federal regulation (45 CFR 303.5) and state law (RCW 70.58.080) require physicians, midwives, hospitals and birth records agencies to provide unmarried parents an opportunity to sign an Acknowledgment of Parentage. Other individuals or organizations such as birthing clinics, social service organizations, and educational institutions may participate voluntarily.

 


How do I offer parents an opportunity to sign the Acknowledgment of Parentage?

Follow these six steps.

These instructions assume that a parent gives birth in a hospital, birthing clinic or at home. Sometimes, however, you will have opportunity to simply give information about the program to parents who are expecting to give birth weeks or months in the future. You may give out the Acknowledgment of Parentage and "Establish Parentage for Your Child's Sake" (DSHS 22-586) booklets, and show the video (English) (Spanish). (Please Note: We have been experiencing some technical difficulties with Internet Explorer - If the video is not working, please try another browser such as Google Chrome.)

 

Encourage the parents to bring the acknowledgment to the place where they will give birth.

Step 1

Determine whether or not the parents are married to each other.

If parents are not married to each other:

  • Give the parents an Acknowledgment of Parentage (DOH 422-159) and a copy of the DSHS booklet entitled "Establish Parentage for Your Child's Sake" (DSHS 22-586). The Acknowledgment of Parentage and booklet are available in English and Spanish.
  • Ask parents to read the Statement of Acknowledgment and the instructions for the Acknowledgment of Parentage with the Acknowledgment. Federal and State laws require us to provide parents this written information.

Step 2

    Federal and state laws also require that parents be given oral information. Parents should not sign the Acknowledgment of Parentage until they have received this information. Offer the parents the opportunity to do at least one of the following:

    • View a short video which explains the benefits and legal requirements of signing the acknowledgment. The video is available in English and Spanish (English) (Spanish). Or,
    • Ask the parents to call 1-800-356-0463 for more information.
    • You may read the Statements of Acknowledgment and instructions for the Acknowledgment of Parentage form to the parents. 

    Step 3

    Help parents complete the current Acknowledgment of Parentage. You may download the Acknowledgement of Parentage form directly from the Department of Health website. Verify that the form is filled out completely and accurately. Check the following carefully lines on the acknowledgment:

    • Denying Parentage Checkbox: Parents should only check the Denial of Parentage question at the top of the form if a Denial of Parentage is needed. If the denial checkbox is checked, the full name of the person denying parentage should be listed.
    • Line 23: Federal regulations require providers to attempt to gather the second parent's social security number. Sometimes a foreign national will not have one. You may leave line 23 blank if the second parent will not provide their social security number or if they do not have one.
    • Both parents must sign in the presence of a witness or notary. The notary must attest to the authenticity of the signature being made. A witness is a non-related third party who simply witnesses the signatures. Be sure the notary or witness both prints and signs their name.

    Step 4

    It is the parent's choice whether to have the document witnessed or notarized. Witness or notarize the parent's signatures. Be certain to separately witness or notarize each signature. If one or both signatures are notarized, place a notary stamp or seal to the right of both the birth mother's and second parent's signature block. Sometimes notary services are not immediately available at the place of birth. If possible, help the parents find a place where they may receive notary services. The bottom of the instruction page of the acknowledgment lists some potential notary locations. Any Washington State Division of Child Support (DCS) office will witness or notarize the acknowledgment without cost. Some parents will want to take the acknowledgment home with them. The parents must complete and return the notarized or witnessed acknowledgment to you within 5 days of the birth. Remind them that if they return the completed acknowledgment to you, you will forward the acknowledgment to DOH for filing. If parents do not return the completed acknowledgment within 5 days, they can choose one of the following options:

    • Mail the acknowledgment with the filing fee to DOH at the address on the form. Or,
    • Take the complete acknowledgment to the local DCS office. DCS will witness or notarize the acknowledgment without charge and forward it to DOH. DCS will pay the filing fee for the parents.

    Step 5

    Distribute copies to the appropriate people and places as follows:

    • Mail the original acknowledgment to the Department of Health (DOH), Center for Health Statistics (CHS), P.O. Box 47814, Olympia, WA 98504-7814 at the same time you submit the birth certificate information. If the birth mother is married or in a registered domestic partnership and the presumed or alleged genetic parent has signed a denial, include the denial with the acknowledgment.
    • Give copies to the parents or have them take a picture of the form with their phone. 

    Step 6

    The Washington State Division of Child Support (DCS) will pay you $20 for each successfully filed Acknowledgment of Parentage (AOP).

    The Department of Health (DOH) is tracking the number of successfully filed AOPs from each hospital and midwife. DOH will submit a report to DCS with this information by the tenth of each month.

    Each hospital or midwife may request reimbursement after the tenth of each month by sending an email to DCS to request their report.

    • Email the request to providereimbursement@DSHS.wa.gov

    • Include the subject line “Request Report” to request your facility’s monthly report.

    • Make sure the email includes:

      • Your name

      • Your hospital or midwifery name

      • Your phone number

    You should receive a copy of your report by email within 10 business days. The report will provide the number of successfully filed AOPs your facility completed in the prior month. A State of Washington Invoice Voucher (DSHS A19-1A) will also be attached to the reply email.

    The hospital or midwife will complete, print and sign the State of Washington Invoice Voucher (DSHS A19-1A). Please complete all shaded areas of the Invoice Voucher:

    • In the Hospital/Business section (Top left), type the official name (not the DBA name) and address of the hospital, person, or organization which should receive payment.

    • Assign an invoice number or unique identifier and date in the upper right hand corner. This will assist your fiscal/accounting department when they receive payment from DSHS/DCS Fiscal

    • Include your Statewide Vendor Number including a two-digit suffix. If you do not have a Statewide Vendor Number, or you do not know your facility's vendor number and you are the contact on record, you may contact the Payee Helpdesk at (360) 407-8180 or PAYEEREGISTRATION@OFM.WA.GOV

    • The DATE column is the last day of the month of the report.

    • The DESCRIPTION for the period is the month and year of the report.

    • In the NUMBER OF AOP field input the total number of AOPs submitted by your facility from the report. The number of AOPs on the Invoice Voucher must match the number of AOPs on the report.

    • The Invoice Voucher includes a formula to multiply the total number on the report by $20 to complete the Total due column.

    • An authorized person must include their name in the By field (as an electronic signature) or sign and date the invoice (top right). The invoice is considered incomplete without this information.

    • Leave all other parts of the invoice voucher form blank.

    To request reimbursement:

    • Forward the original email chain with the attached report. Attach the completed Invoice Voucher.

    • Change the email subject line to “Request Reimbursement”.

    • Send the email with the attached Invoice Voucher and report to providereimbursement@dshs.wa.gov.

     

     


    Are there any other options available if one or both parents do not want to sign the acknowledgment?

    Yes. Either parent may open a case with the Division of Child Support (DCS). In most cases, DCS will refer the case to a prosecuting attorney for parentage establishment through the court. That process usually includes genetic testing.

     


    Does signing the Acknowledgment of Parentage establish any custody or visitation rights?

    No. Only the courts may address custody and visitation issues. Parents who sign an Acknowledgment of Parentage may initiate a court action to address these issues. Refer the parents to the "Establish Parentage for Your Child's Sake" (DSHS 22-586) booklet for more information.

     


    What if a minor (someone under 18) wants to sign the Acknowledgment?

    An  Acknowledgment  of Parentage signed by a minor is valid. Minors who sign an Acknowledgment of Parentage will be held to the same standard as adults.

     


    What if one parent wants to sign, but the other does not?

    Signing the Acknowledgment of Parentage is voluntary for both parents. The acknowledgment is valid only after both parents have signed.

     


    What if the mother is or was married but the spouse or ex-spouse will not be the second parent listed on the birth certificate?

    A presumed parent (spouse or ex-spouse) or alleged genetic parent completes a Denial of Parentage. When the denial is filed with an Acknowledgment of Parentage, it allows the person denying parentage to be discharged from all rights and duties as a parent. The person denying parentage will not be listed on the birth certificate.

     


    Can parents change their minds after they sign the Acknowledgment?

    Either parent who signs an Acknowledgment of Parentage may change his or her mind within a limited period of time. The legal term is called a rescission. To rescind a signature, the parent must file a Rescission of Parentage form within no more than 60 days after the Acknowledgment of Parentage is filed at the Department of Health, or before the first court action.


    What should I say if parents have questions about child support that I cannot answer?

    Do not attempt to provide legal advice. Encourage the parents to read the material and view the video. If parents still have questions, refer them to the child support office serving their area. The 1-800 number for a child support office near them is provided in the "Establish Parentage for Your Child's Sake" (DSHS 22-586) booklet. The booklet also provides information on legal resources.

     


    How to order materials

    You will need the following materials to provide parents the opportunity to sign an Acknowledgment of Parentage.

    • Acknowledgment of Parentage (DOH form 422-159) is available in English and Spanish from the Department of Health. On the upper left hand corner of the form you will find the form number and the latest revision date. You should check the DOH website to make sure you are using the correct form.
    • The Establish Parentage for Your Child's Sake booklet (DSHS 22-586). The booklet is currently available in English and Spanish.
    • The short video which explains the benefits, rights, responsibilities, and legal consequences of signing the acknowledgment is available in English and Spanish.
    • The booklet entitled "Division of Child Support Voluntary Paternity Testing Program" (DSHS 22-1443) is also available.
    • Easy Ordering

      You may order parentage materials quickly and easily.

      To order materials, click here.

      Complete the on-line order form and submit it to DCS. You will receive your order within 7-10 working days.

     


    Contact a parentage and paternity coordinator for further parentage-related questions.

    DCS will provide training for you and your staff at your site.  Training sessions usually require about 1 hour.

    • To ask a question about how to file or amend a birth certificate, call DOH/CHS at 360-236-4300 option 3 and then option 1.
    • To arrange for training or ask program questions: call the parentage and paternity program coordinator in the DCS field office listed below which is closest to you or contact the Parentage and Paternity Initiatives Manager, Louise Munson, at (360)664-5316 or the Assistant Manager, Jill Schropp at (206) 341-7115
    Everett: Bridgette Pierce 425-438-4929
    Kennewick: Jordan Garza 509-374-2002
    Olympia: Tammie Kasper 360-664-6980
    Seattle: Kyle Killebrew 206-341-7181
    Spokane: Michael Leitch 509-363-4943
    Tacoma: Jessica Adams 253-476-7542
    Vancouver: Rhonda Opoka 360-397-9815
    Wenatchee: Samantha Sayler 509-886-6808
    Yakima: Todd Reed 509-249-6030