The Woodward News

August 5, 2013

Health Dept. can help with birth records

Rachael Van Horn
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — You've been there. Wildly throwing pens, pencils, other items out of the drawers in your desk or the junk drawer in your kitchen because you just know that you saw your kid's birth certificate in there the other day.

But now that you need it, it's gone.

What is a person to do?

Simply request a new one as early as possible through one of 3 Oklahoma  Department of Health (ODH) Birth Record locations, ODH officials say.

Now is the best time to check whether your child or you will be needing a certified copy of a birth certificate, instead of waiting until it is mid-August, the most busy time for Oklahoma Department of Health birth record officials, said Leslea Bennett-Webb, director of DOH communications.

"We issue more than 400,000 birth and death certificates each year," Bennett-Webb said.

At present, waiting times run about 2 hours for those who travel to either of the 3 birth record locations: in Oklahoma City at 1000 N.E. 10th Street; Tulsa at the James O. Goodwin Health Center, 5051 S. 129th East Ave.; and McAlester at the Pittsburg County Health Department, 1400 East College Ave.

"On a normal, non back to school environment, we can usually issue them a certificate in about an hour," Bennett-Webb said.

There is a mail in option for those who want to avoid the trip.  However, there is a 4- to 6-week waiting period for those services, Bennett-Webb said.

The cost for a certified copy of an Oklahoma birth certificate is $15, she said.

"But we recommend that, if they have the extra $15 to spend, it might be advantageous to get a couple of copies, considering all the different places that are requiring a certified copy," Bennett-Webb said.

Often people may need a copy of their birth certificate to register for school or for employment records for certain jobs.

For those whose children were born in another state, Bennett-Webb said Oklahoma Department of Health officials can still assist them with trying to get a copy of an out-of-state or even out-of-country birth certificate.

"We can help them get the proper paperwork and help them file for those, but we can't issue those birth certificates," she said.

Those who decide to make the trip to one of the offices to obtain their copies must have with them a photo ID or a copy of a photo ID and know all the pertinent information, such as the child's full name, date of birth, the place of birth and the parent's full names, including the mother's maiden name, Bennett-Webb said.

According to Bennett-Webb, the Oklahoma Department of Health does not accept e-mailed requests, however requests can be made through the VitalChek Network, Inc. at www.vitalchek.com or by phone at 877-817-7364.   There is an additional fee charged by VitalChek for this service.