Paternity Opportunity Program (POP) is a voluntary paternity acknowledgment program that assists in creating a legal link between unmarried fathers and their children.
Federal welfare reform legislation, which became effective January 1, 1997, states that if the parents of a child are not legally married when the child is born, the father's name will NOT be added to the birth certificate unless they:
- sign a Declaration of Paternity in the hospital or later; or
- legally establish paternity through the courts and pay a fee to amend the birth certificate.
The Declaration of Paternity
The Declaration of Paternity is a legal form that, once filed with the state, voluntarily establishes legal fatherhood and is the equivalent of a court order. Unmarried parents complete and sign the declaration after the child is born. Copies of the declaration are sent to the California POP headquarters to be filed, the local DCSS POP Unit, and to the parents.
For additional information and to see a sample of the declaration, click here.