Paternity Opportunity Program (POP)

Declaration of Paternity

New parents who are not married may sign a paternity form at the hospital immediately following the birth of their child. This form is called a Declaration of Paternity. Signing this form will make the process of legally establishing paternity easier and faster in most cases. A Declaration of Paternity may also be signed by parents after they leave the hospital.

About POP

In an effort to create a legal link between unmarried fathers and their children, the California Department of Social Services joined other states, in a partnership with licensed hospitals and clinics with birthing facilities, to establish the Paternity Opportunity Program (POP).

This is a voluntary, in-hospital program that involves approximately 360 of California’s licensed hospitals and clinics. The program has now expanded to include prenatal clinics, county welfare offices, local vital records offices, and courts.

Adding the Father’s Name to the Birth Certificate

 If the parents of a child are not legally married, the father’s name will not be added to the birth certificate unless they:

  • Sign a Declaration of Paternity in the hospital
  • Sign the form later
  • Legally establish the paternity through the courts and pay a $19 fee to amend the birth certificate


For more information, contact Child Support Services at (866) 901-3212.