Parentage and POP FAQs


1.What is parentage? Parentage is the recognition of a parent's legal relationship to a child. Learn more about how the legal relationship is established here.

2.  What is POP? The Parentage Opportunity Program (POP) administers the Voluntary Declaration of Parentage (VDOP) process so a birth parent and other parent can establish legal parentage of their child free of charge.

3.  What are the benefits of establishing parentage? Establishing parentage grants the child rights to certain social entitlements, such as social security, pension and/or veterans benefits, inheritance protection, and access to family medical records.  It is also necessary before custody, visitation, and/or permanent child support orders can be established.

4.  Can the Voluntary Declaration of Parentage (VDOP) be signed by parents under the age of 18?  Yes.  There are no age requirements for parents to sign the VDOP.  However, the VDOP is not legally valid until 60 days after both parents have reached the age of 18.

5.  How is parentage determined for unmarried or same-sex parents? In these situations, parentage may be established by signing a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage (VDOP). Read here to learn more.

6.  How can a parent request genetic testing to determine parentage? If there is any doubt about who the parent of the child is and you would like genetic testing, do NOT sign the VDOP. Contact your local child support agency at (866) 901-3212 for assistance.  

7.  What happens if a parent disputes the results of the genetic test?If the genetic testing results are disputed, the matter will be set for hearing or trial and parentage will be determined by the court.

8.  Can parentage be established if the parents live in different states or countries? Yes. Your local child support agency will ask the other state or country for assistance with establishing parentage and child support orders. 

9.  I downloaded the Voluntary Declaration of Parentage (DCSS 0909) form from the California Child Support Services website. Why does it say "SAMPLE ONLY" on the form?
The Voluntary Declaration of Parentage (DCSS 0909) is a multi-page legal form with witnessing requirements. The official form can only be obtained from authorized agencies (see below).  A sample form is provided on the California Child Support Services website for informational purposes but it cannot be used to establish parentage. You can request the Voluntary Declaration of Parentage form by sending your mailing address to The Voluntary Declaration of Parentage form is also available at Local Departments of Child Support Services, Local Registrars of Births and Deaths, County Family Law Facilitators Offices at all Superior Courts in California, and licensed birthing units at public and private hospitals.

Learn more about the Parentage Opportunity Program (POP) and the Voluntary Declaration of Parentage (VDOP) here or call your local child support agency at (866) 901-3212 for assistance.