Vital Records (Birth, Death, Marriage, and Divorce)

1200-500.10 | Revision Date: 07/01/14

Overview

This policy guide provides information on vital records, such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates. It includes how to obtain certificates, register births, how to make corrections or changes to birth certificates, and how to get documents notarized.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Policy

Vital Records

Birth Certificates

Changes to a Birth Certificate

Death Certificate for Deceased Parent

Procedure

Determining if a Birth Certificate is on File

DI/ISW/G/APRD CSW Responsibilities

Requesting a Child’s Birth Certificate

Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

Requesting a Child’s Birth Certificate for a Foreign Born Child

CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

ARA Responsibilities

Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth

CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

ARA/RA Responsibilities

Delayed Registration of Birth

CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

ARA Responsibilities

Registering the Birth of an Abandoned Child Under One (1) Year Old

CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

ARA Responsibilities

Registering the Birth of a Safely Surrendered Child

CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

ARA Responsibilities

Changing a Child’s Birth Certificate

CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

ARA Responsibilities

Obtaining a Birth Certificate in Person

CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

Requesting a Death, Marriage, or Divorce Certificate

CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

Notarizing Documents

CSW Responsibilities

Regional ARA Responsibilities

Approvals

Helpful Links

Forms

Referenced Policy Guides

Statutes

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 09/04/13 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan.

POLICY

Vital Records

Vital records include birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates. Obtaining a child’s vital records in a timely manner:

Birth Certificates

Birth Certificates are needed for WIC 366.21 and WIC 366.22 Hearings when the identified permanency plan is adoption or legal guardianship. In addition, transitioning youth must be provided a certified copy of their birth certificate prior to the termination of court jurisdiction and in the case of youth in non-related legal guardianship, as part of the goals of the youth’s TILP. It is DCFS policy that a certified birth certificate be provided to the youth and/or the legal guardian (Kin-GAP and non-related) prior to case closure and that its provision is documented in the Contact Notebook.

 

To request a birth certificate for a child born in California, a Vital Statistics Inquiry (VSI) is done to verify the existence of the certificate. The VSI print-out will have a certificate number for an existing birth certificate. Without a request from the CSW:

 

For children born in Los Angeles County, birth verification may be requested after ninety (90) days from the date of birth. For children born outside of Los Angeles County, birth verification can take from three (3) to six (6) months from the date of birth.

 

The family of a foreign born child should be the first resource for obtaining a birth certificate. If the family does not have the child’s birth certificate or is not cooperative, the Special Immigration Status (SIS) Unit and the consulate for that country of the child’s birth are the next best options for obtaining the child’s birth certificate.

 

To obtain a copy of a birth certificate of a child who has been adopted and/or had a legal name change, refer to the Adoptions or Changes in Paternity page on the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) or to CDPH Adoption Process pamphlet.

 

There can be a delay in the issuance of a birth certificate for a child when:

 

The State will prioritize a court dependent child’s application for VS 108 Court Ordered Delayed Registration of Birth and will expedite the request in four (4) to six (6) weeks instead of the regular six (6) to eight (8) months.

 

If a birth certificate is issued for a safely surrendered baby (SSB) in error, or prior to the surrender of the baby, the birth certificate must be sealed and a VS 136, Certificate of Finding of Unknown Child or Safely Surrendered Baby must be filed in its place.  A court order to seal the birth certificate must be obtained.

 

For additional information about birth certificates, refer to the Los Angeles County Vital Records Office – Birth Section.

Changes to a Birth Certificate

Changing a child’s name on a birth certificate requires a court order. Once the name is changed, the original record remains unchanged. The amendment becomes page two (2) of the birth certificate.

 

Changing, adding, or removing a parent’s name on a child’s birth certificate requires court adjudication.

 

Amendments are used to correct errors on a birth certificate. The types or errors that can be corrected using the VS 24(S), Affidavit to Amend a Record are:

 

Once a change is accepted, the affidavit will be attached to the original birth certificate (which is not changed) and will become part of the legal birth record.

Death Certificate for Parent

When it is discovered that a child’s parent(s) is/are deceased, the CSW must request a Death Certificate.

 

For additional information about birth certificates, refer to the Los Angeles County Vital Records Office – Death Section.

Back to Policy

PROCEDURE

Determining if a Birth Certificate is on File

DI/ISW/G/APRD CSW Responsibilities

  1. Check the case file and CWS/CMS to determine if a birth certificate is on file for each child in placement.
  1. If a birth certificate is not on file, check the Revenue Enhancement Vital Records tracking log in “The Site” on the Revenue Enhancement Section of LA Kids to determine if a request for a birth certificate has been filed.

 

  1. When logged in to The Site, scroll down to the “Revenue Enhancement” section.
  1. Click on the three box for “Vital Records Request (DCFS 230) Log.”
  1. If the birth certificate is not in the file or in CWS/CMS and has not been requested, either:

Requesting a Child’s Birth Certificate

Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities

  1. Complete, sign, and forward (according to your Regional Office practice) the DCFS 280, Technical Assistance Action Request. If applicable, complete the DCFS 230, Request for Verification/Certificate of Evidence.

 

  1. Forward the DCFS 280, with or without the DCFS 230 (according to your Regional Office practice), and a photocopy of the front and the back of your County ID to the SCSW for approval.

 

  1. Once approved by the SCSW, submit the DCFS 280, with or without the DCFS 230, and the photocopy of the front and the back of your County ID to the EW for processing.

 

  1. Keep a copy of the documents in the file. Document when the DCFS 280, and the DCFS 230 if applicable, were submitted on Document Tracking Page.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the DCFS 280 and the DCFS 230, if applicable.
  1. If approved, sign and return to the CSW.
  1. If not approved, return to the CSW for corrective action.

Back to Procedure

Requesting a Child’s Birth Certificate for a Foreign Born Child

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Ask the child’s mother, father, and/or relative(s) for the child’s birth certificate.

 

  1. Contact the child’s school to see if it has a copy of the birth certificate.

 

  1. Ask the child’s mother, father, or relative(s) if someone in the child’s birth country can obtain a copy of the birth certificate.

 

  1. If the birth certificate cannot be accessed through the family or through the child’s school:

 

  1. Refer to Foreign Birth and Death Certificates for more information.

 

  1. If the child’s birth was never registered in the child’s birth country, or the child’s birth certificate does not exist or a copy of the child’s birth certificate cannot be obtained, apply for a VS 85, Delayed Registration of Birth.

 

  1. Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook and/or Document Tracking Page.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. If the CSW is requesting funds, refer to Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth.

ARA Responsibilities

  1. If the CSW is requesting funds, refer to Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth.

Back to Procedure

Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth

Always check the current fee schedule on the County website or the State website before submitting a request.

CSW Responsibilities

  1. To obtain funds for a birth certificate, make a request to the Fiscal Operations Division, Accounts Payable.
  1. Write and justify the request on the County letterhead.
  1. Get SCSW and ARA/RA signatures on the request.
  1. Make the check for the birth certificate payable to the “Office of Vital Records.”
  1. Fax the request and supporting documents (minute order, scheduled permanency hearing or adoption hear, etc.) to the Fiscal Operations Division at (213) 427-6197.

 

  1. Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the fund request.
  1. If complete, sign and submit it to the ARA/RA for approval.
  1. If incomplete, return it to the CSW for corrective action.

ARA/RA Responsibilities

  1. Review the fund request letter and all other documents associated with the request.
  1. If complete, sign and return it to the SCSW.
  1. If incomplete, return it to the SCSW for corrective action.

Back to Procedure

Delayed Registration of Birth

CSW Responsibilities

  1. If the child was born outside of Los Angeles County, register the birth through the local registrar where the child was born.

 

  1. Request funds for the birth registration as needed.

 

  1. Obtain evidence of the child’s birth:
  1. If the child was not born in a hospital, contact the hospital where the child was taken after the birth and request the records regarding the child’s Emergency Room visit.
  1. The State will also accept verification of the birth from a midwife under the supervision of a licensed doctor.

 

  1. If evidence of the birth cannot be obtained, request a Bone Age Study to determine the approximate age of the child.

 

  1. If evidence of the birth is still not available:
  1. Petition the court to establish the facts of birth and to apply for a VS Court Order Delayed Registration of Birth.
  1. Obtain a certified copy of the VS 108, top portion and bottom portion.

 

  1. For a child who is less than one (1) year old and born in Los Angeles County:
  1. Call the Data Collection and Analysis Division of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH).
  1. Set up an appointment to bring the evidence of the child’s birth, the child (as needed), the caretaker, the VS 85, Application for Delayed Registration of Birth or VS 108 if appropriate, and the birth registration fee.

 

  1. Upon registering the child’s birth, ask in-person for the Los Angeles County Vital Records Office to issue a Birth Certificate.

 

  1. For a child who is more than one (1) year old:
  1. Write a letter on County letterhead with the child’s name, date of birth and request priority processing
  1. Attach to the letter:
  1. Mail the letter and these documents:

 

California Department of Public Health

Vital Records - MS 5103

PO Box 997410

Sacramento, CA 95899-7410

 

  1. Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook and on the Document Tracking Page.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. If the CSW is requesting funds, refer to Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth.

ARA Responsibilities

  1. If the CSW is requesting funds, refer to Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth.

Back to Procedure

Registering the Birth of an Abandoned Child Under One (1) Year Old

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Call the Los Angeles Department of Public Health (DPH) to schedule an appointment.

 

  1. To obtain funds, follow instructions in Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth.

 

  1. Request that the person who found the baby to sign the VS 136, Certificate of Finding of Unknown Child. If that person is not available, request that the law enforcement officer who took the child into temporary custody sign the form.

 

  1. Fill out the VS 136, including:

 

  1. Bring the VS 136, the application fee, and, if told to do so by DPH staff, the baby to the DPH Vital Records Office.

 

  1. Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook and on the Document Tracking Page.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. If the CSW is requesting funds, refer to Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth.

ARA Responsibilities

  1. If the CSW is requesting funds, refer to Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth.

Back to Procedure

Registering the Birth of a Safely Surrendered Child

CSW Responsibilities

  1. When a child is identified as a “safely surrendered,” request that personnel from the safe surrender site (e.g. hospital, fire station, etc.) file a VS 136, Certificate of Finding.
  1. If a mother safely surrenders a baby while recuperating in the hospital after the baby’s delivering in that hospital, speak with the hospital birth clerk staff/supervisor to verify that the hospital filed a VS 136.
  1. Ensure that the hospital did not file a Certificate of Live Birth as it will take three (3) to six (6) months to remove parent(s) information through the Adjudication of Facts of Parentage process, which will delay the adoption process.

 

  1. Call the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) to make an appointment to register the child’s birth.

 

  1. Obtain the application fee by following instructions in Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth.

 

  1. The VS 136 must be signed by the person who found the baby or the designated person who found or took custody of the child. If the VS 136 was not filled out by personnel at the safe surrender site, fill out the form with the following information:

 

  1. Bring the VS 136, application fee, and the baby (if told by Health Service staff to do so) to the DPH Vital Records Office.

 

  1. Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook and the Document Tracking Page.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. If the CSW is requesting funds, refer to Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth.

ARA Responsibilities

  1. If the CSW is requesting funds, refer to Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth.

Back to Procedure

Changing a Child’s Birth Certificate

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Obtain the application fee by following instructions in Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth.

 

  1. To change a child’s name on his/her birth certificate, complete the VS 23, Court Order Change of Name.
  1. Attach a certified copy of the minute order changing the child’s name and a copy of the current birth certificate to the VS 23.

 

  1. To change or add a parent’s name to a birth certificate, complete the VS 21, Application to Amend a Birth Record-Adjudication of Facts of Parentage.
  1. Attach a certified copy of the court order, and a photocopy of the birth certificate.

 

  1. To correct and error on a birth certificate, complete the VS 24(S), Affidavit to Amend a Record to correct the errors.
  1. If part of the baby’s name was left off the birth certificate, complete the VS 107, Application to Complete Name of Child by Supplemental Name Report – Birth.

 

  1. Mail the letter and these documents:

 

California Department of Public Health

Vital Records - MS 5103

PO Box 997410

Sacramento, CA 95899-7410

 

  1. Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook and/or Document Tracking Page.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. If the CSW is requesting funds, refer to Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth.

ARA Responsibilities

  1. If the CSW is requesting funds, refer to Requesting Funds to Obtain a Birth Certificate/Register a Birth.

Back to Procedure

Obtaining a Birth Certificate in Person

An emergency birth certificate can be obtained in-person only if the child was born in Los Angeles County and the child’s birth was registered.

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Complete, sign, and forward (according to your Regional Office practice) a DCFS 230, Request for Verification/Certificate of Evidence.
  1. Sign the form and forward it to the SCSW for approval.

 

  1. Once approved, take the original DCFS 230, a valid DCFS photo ID, and a minute order to one of the Vital Records Offices listed below, and request a birth certificate.

 

Address

City

Phone

Hours

335-A East Avenue K-6

Lancaster

(661)723-4494

8:30am-4:30pm

Monday-Friday

11701 S. La Cienega Blvd., 6th Floor

LAX Courthouse

(310)727-6142

8:30am-4:30pm

Monday-Friday

4716 Cesar Chavez Ave.

Los Angeles

(323)260-2991

8:30am-4:30pm

Monday-Friday

7807 S. Compton Ave., Room 215

Los Angeles

(323)586-6192

8:30am-4:30pm

Monday-Friday

12400 Imperial Highway

Norwalk

(562)462-2137

8:00am-5:00pm

Monday-Friday

 

On the 3rd Thursday of every month, this facility is open from 8:00am to 7:00pm

14340 West Sylvan Street

Van Nuys

(818)374-7176

8:30am-4:30pm

Monday-Friday

 

  1. Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook and/or Document Tracking Page.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the DCFS 230.
  1. If complete, sign and return it to the CSW.
  1. If not, return it to the CSW for corrective action.

Back to Procedure

Requesting a Death, Marriage, or Divorce Certificate

Persons other than a bride or groom requesting copies of a confidential marriage license must present a court order to the County Clerk in the county where the license is registered.

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Complete, sign, and forward (according to your Regional Office practice) a DCFS 280, Technical Assistance Action Request, and, if applicable, a DCFS 230, Request for Verification/Certificate of Evidence.
  1. Once complete, sign the form(s) and forward them to the SCSW for approval.

 

  1. Once approved, submit the DCFS 280 and, if applicable, the DCFS 230, as well as a photocopy of the front and back of your County ID to the EW for processing.

 

  1. Keep a copy of the documents in the Additional Services (red) file.

 

  1. Document when they were submitted in the Document Tracking Page.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the DCFS 280 and, if applicable, the DCFS 230.
  1. If complete, sign and return the forms to the CSW.
  1. If not, return them to the CSW for corrective action.

Notarizing Documents

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Notify the ARA that a document must be notarized.

 

  1. Present all documents to be notarized when the notary comes to the office.

Regional ARA Responsibilities

  1. Make a request for notary services by calling one of the following notaries:

 

  1. Review and either approve or reject the billing from the notary.
  1. Make two (2) copies of the billing.
  1. Complete the DCFS 250, Procurement Request. Include the Fund ORG Code.

 

  1. Mail the completed DCFS 250 and copies of supporting documents to:

 

Procurement Services501 Shatto Place, Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90020

Back to Procedure

APPROVALS

SCSW Approval

ARA Approval

RA Approval

HELPFUL LINKS

Forms

CWS/CMS

DCFS 280, Technical Assistance Action Request

LA Kids

ABCDM 228, Applicant’s Authorization for Release of Information

DCFS 230, Request for Verification/Certificate of Evidence

DCFS 250, Procurement Request

DCFS 280, Technical Assistance Action Request

Hard Copy

Vital records forms can be ordered from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Vital Records Office, or from CDPH Data Collection and Analysis unit.

 

The following Vital Records forms can also be directly ordered from the “CDPH-VR Forms”:

VS 21, Application to Amend a Birth Record - Adjudication of Facts of Parentage

VS 22, Application to Amend a Birth Record – Acknowledgement of Paternity

VS 23, Court Order Change of Name

VS 24, Affidavit to Amend a Record (Birth, Death, Fetal Death)

VS 24 (C), Affidavit to Amend a Marriage Record

VS 85, Application for Delayed Registration of Birth

VS 105, Court Ordered Delayed Registration of Fetal Death

VS 107, Supplemental Name Report of Birth

VS 108, Court Ordered Delayed Registration of Birth

VS 109, Court Ordered Delayed Registration of Death

VS 122, Court Ordered Delayed Certificate of Marriage

Referenced Policy Guides

0070-520.10, Safely Surrendered Babies (SSB)

Statutes

California Department of Social Services (CDSS), Manual of Policies and Procedures (MPP) Division 42-111 – Provides a list of acceptable evidence in determining for determining a child’s age. It also states the requirements for recording this evidence by the Eligibility Worker (EW)

 

Health and Safety Code (HSC) Section 102600 – States that when the State Registrar received an application for delayed registration of birth and payment of the required fee, he/she must review the application, along with the affidavits and documentary evidence accompanying it and accept the application if the application and evidence submitted comply with this chapter. After acceptance by the State Registrar, the application will constitute a delayed certificate of birth; the State Registrar will permanently preserve the certificates in a systematic manner, and prepare and maintain a comprehensive and continuous index of all certificates. It also states that the State Registrar, in processing applications for the delayed registration of birth pursuant to this section, must give priority to an application for a child who has been adjudged a dependent child of, and who is subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, pursuant to WIC Section 300.

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