lindsay m. shrift (lin_tin_tin) wrote in little_details,
lindsay m. shrift

Children without birth certificates

How important is it to have a birth certificate in the US? Suppose a child was born to a vagrant mother in some isolated place, and was never issued a birth certificate simply because no one was around to do so. Would this make it impossible to register for elementary school later, or are there ways around it? And is it possible to apply for a birth certificate later, say, ten years later, if no official record of the birth exists? I've seen some old birth certificate applications, but they were from people born in rural areas around the turn of the 20th century or before, and this is a roughly contemporary situation. (I mean, it takes place within the past 10 years). They also seem to rely on things like school records -- what if the child in question had no formal schooling before the age of nine or ten? It seems as though some provision for this must exist, but I haven't been able to find out anything about it on the birth-certificate-related sites-- they're all about what to do if you lose it in a fire. This is someone for whom no documentation exists right now-- no social security card, no record of birth. Is she going to be able to go to school? Please help!

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EDIT: Thanks to everyone who responded! I think I've got a good start now.
Tags: usa (misc), ~childrearing

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