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What is the Paternity Opportunity Program?

The Ohio Central Paternity Registry (CPR) is a program in the Office of Child Support in the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, providing paternity establishment outreach, education, training, guidance, assessment and technical assistance to birthing hospitals, local registrars, child support enforcement offices, courts, community partners and unmarried parents. The program’s focus is to promote voluntary paternity establishment to ensure that children in Ohio have legally recognized fathers and the financial and emotional support that all children need and deserve.   

Paternity 101 – For Parents video

Overview of Paternity Establishment

Paternity establishment is important for children and their parents. All unmarried parents should think about establishing paternity — because all kids deserve the benefits that legally recognized fatherhood can provide. If you’re not married when your child is born, your child does not have a legal father. The father’s name will not be placed on the birth certificate unless the parents establish him as the legal father. If the mother is married, the husband is presumed to be the father.

Establishing paternity gives both parents and their child the rights and opportunities they need and deserve. It’s easy and it’s free. An Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit (JFS 07038) can be completed to establish paternity at the time of birth in the hospital or afterwards at your local registrar (health department) or county child support enforcement agency.

Contact Information

Ohio Central Paternity Registry (CPR)
1-888-810-OHIO (6446)

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS)
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Ohio Department of Health
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Key FAQs

+ How do I establish paternity for my child?

In Ohio, paternity can be established in three ways:

  1. Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit (JFS 07038): A legal form parents complete to add the biological father's name to the child's birth certificate. By signing the form, parents are establishing paternity for their child - meaning legally recognized fatherhood. Paternity affidavits can be completed in the hospital at the time of birth or afterwards at your local registrar (health department) or the child support enforcement agency (CSEA) in the mother’s county of residence. Click Here to go to the Office Locator Map and find the appropriate CSEA office.

  2. Administrative Order of Paternity (JFS 07774): For unmarried parents that have not established paternity through another method and wish to get genetic testing, the child support enforcement agency can conduct the testing and issue an order of paternity if the man is indeed the biological father of the child. If the mother lives in Ohio, please contact the child support enforcement agency (CSEA) in the mother's county of residence. If the mother lives outside of Ohio, you may contact the CSEA in the father's county of residence. Click Here to go to the Office Locator Map and find the appropriate CSEA office.

  3. Court Order of Paternity: Paternity may be established through Juvenile Court and sometimes through Domestic Relations Court (as part of a divorce.)

+ Is the Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit (JFS 07038) the right option for me and my child?

Establishing paternity is an important decision. Completing the paternity affidavit form is the quickest and easiest way for unmarried parents to establish legal fatherhood and have the father’s name placed on the birth certificate. Establishing paternity gives you and your child the rights and opportunities you need and deserve.

  • By having his name placed on the birth certificate, the father gains legal rights to his child. His child then has access to benefits such as Social Security, life insurance, military benefits, and inheritances.
  • Your child will also have access to their father’s health insurance as well as both families’ medical histories and lineages.
  • Just as importantly, establishing paternity allows both mother and father to develop an emotional bond with their child and share in the responsibilities and rewards of parenting.
  • If you have any doubts about who the father of the child is, do not sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit (JFS 07038). You may want to get genetic testing completed before you make a decision

+ What are the requirements to complete a paternity affidavit?

  • Each parent will need a picture ID and Social Security number.
  • Father’s: (date of birth, place of birth, highest grade completed, address, employment and insurance), as well as both parent’s: (Full name, current address, state and county of birth, date of birth, and SSN).
  • Both parents must sign the affidavit in the presence of a public notary and have the affidavit notarized, but they don’t have to sign it at the same time.
  • Notaries are provided free of charge at hospitals, local registrars and CSEAs.

+ Will the father be required to pay child support if he signs the paternity affidavit?

  • No. The father is not immediately ordered to pay child support. In most cases, it will be up to the guardian of the child to request support. However, if you are receiving certain benefits, a father may be required to pay child support. If you have specific questions about your situation, please contact your local Child Support Enforcement Agency.

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