Obtaining a birth certificate and social security number for your born at home baby is usually a simple process. In Kentucky, this is done in each county through the Vital Statistics Registrar at the county health department.
In general, the process involves filling out a “mother’s worksheet” and a “facility worksheet,” as well as providing certain pieces of “evidence” (more on that below). These forms are not available online, although your midwife will often have this form for you. If your midwife does not provide these worksheets, you will need to contact the county Vital Statistics Registrar.
The mother’s worksheet is completed and signed by the parents. It includes things like your address, social security number, and demographic information. This form contains a box to check yes or no to request a social security number for your child. This is all you need to do to request a social security number. The social security card will automatically be mailed to your residence as listed on the mother’s worksheet.
The facility worksheet is typically filled out by your midwife and includes things such as the pregnancy, labor, and birth information, and APGAR scores. This form also has a place for the “certifier’s name” and the “attendant’s name.” Some midwives will be comfortable putting their name here, and some won’t. This varies across the state and among midwives. In some cases, you will list a parent’s name here.
In some counties, you will need to make an appointment with the Vital Statistics Registrar to turn in your paperwork, so be sure to call ahead and ask before you show up. In some counties, there is only one person who handles this, and it may take several phone calls to speak to the correct person. In some counties, either parent can attend this appointment and turn in the paperwork. Some counties will want you to bring the baby with you, while others will not require it. Be sure to bring your ID.
Ask what you need to bring with you. You generally will need at least three pieces of “evidence.” The extent of evidence you will be asked to provide for each section may vary by county, and is largely up to discretion of the staff of your county’s Vital Statistics Registrar. If you are planning an unassisted birth, you may want to do some advance planning to ensure that you have adequate evidence for section A and B. We know of at least one case where the Registrar was repeatedly not satisfied with the evidence of birth provided by the mother, including modest birth photos. When the mom showed them more graphic birth photos, they believed her!
YOU MUST HAVE ONE PIECE OF EVIDENCE FROM EACH OF THE SECTIONS “A, B, & C”. Your midwife can usually provide you with items to satisfy section A and B.
- A) Evidence of pregnancy, such as but not limited to:
1) A prenatal record
2) A statement from physician or other health care provider qualified to determine pregnancy
3) A record of a home visit by public health nurse or other health care provider
4) Photographs, video, etc. of the pregnancy or birth
5) Other evidence acceptable to the State Registrar
- B) Evidence that the infant was born alive, such as but limited to:
1) A statement from the physician or other health care provider who saw or examined the infant
2) A statement of observation of the infant during a home visit by a public health nurse or other health care provider(s)
3) Photographs or video of birth
4) Other evidence acceptable to the State Registrar
- C) Evidence of the mother’s presence in Kentucky on the date of birth, such as but not limited to:
1) If the birth occurred in the mother’s residence:
- a) A driver’s license or state-issued ID, which includes the mother’s current residence
- b) A rent receipt that includes mother’s name and address
- c) A utility, telephone, or other bill that includes mother’s name and current address
- d) Other evidence acceptable to State Registrar
2) If the birth occurred outside of the mother’s residence, and the mother is a resident of Kentucky, such evidence shall consist of:
- a) An affidavit from the tenant/owner of the premises where the birth occurred, stating the mother was present on those premises at the time of birth
- b) Evidence of the affiant’s residence similar to that required in (C) (1)
- c) Evidence of the mother’s residence in Kentucky similar to that required in (C) (1)
- d) Other evidence acceptable to State Registrar
3) If the mother is not a resident of Kentucky, such evidence must consist of clear and convincing evidence acceptable to the State Registrar.
The Vital Statistics Registrar will make copies of your forms and evidence and submit the information to the state Office of Vital Statistics. You will NOT automatically receive a copy of the birth certificate. To receive a certified copy of your baby’s birth certificate, you can fill out an application and mail it to Frankfort, fill out a form online, or you can go to Frankfort in person. All of that information is available here: https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/dehp/vsb/Pages/birth-certificates.aspx
We recommend ordering a copy of the birth certificate soon after birth to keep in your records. You may need this for health insurance or other purposes, and it is better to have it on hand than to later be scrambling to get a copy at the last minute!
Be sure to register your child’s birth before their first birthday. After their first birthday, different forms must be used and the process may be more complicated. If your child is more than seven years old, the paperwork must be completed directly by the Office of Vital Statistics in Frankfort.
Get information about registering a birth after your child’s first birthday here: http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/kar/901/005/020.pdf