Emails (excerpted), responses to PolitiFact Texas, Christine Mann, assistant press officer, Texas Department of State Health Services, Nov. 26 through Nov. 29, 2012

453 pm

Nov. 26, 2012

Here’s a description of supplementary birth certificates from Texas Health & Safety Code.

 

Sec. 192.006.  SUPPLEMENTARY BIRTH CERTIFICATES.  (a)  A supplementary birth certificate may be filed if the person who is the subject of the certificate:

(1)  becomes the child of the person's father by the subsequent marriage of the person's parents;

(2)  has the person's parentage determined by a court of competent jurisdiction;  or

(3)  is adopted under the laws of any state.

(b)  An application for a supplementary birth certificate may be filed by:

(1)  an adult whose status is changed;  or

(2)  a legal representative of the person whose status is changed.

(c)  The state registrar shall require proof of the change in status that the board by rule may prescribe.

(d)  Supplementary birth certificates and applications for supplementary birth certificates shall be prepared and filed in accordance with board rules.

(e)  In accordance with board rules, a supplementary birth certificate may be filed for a person whose parentage has been determined by an acknowledgment of paternity.

 

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.  Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 14, Sec. 57, 58, eff. Sept. 1, 1991;  Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 71, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

 

 

Sec. 192.007.  SUPPLEMENTARY CERTIFICATES FOR CHILD WHO DIES BEFORE ADOPTION.  (a)  If a child in the process of being adopted in this state dies before the adoption is completed, the persons who attempted to adopt the child may request the state registrar to file supplementary birth and death certificates for the child.

(b)  Persons making a request under this section must include with the request:

(1)  sufficient information to prove that they attempted to adopt the child and that the child died before the adoption was completed;

(2)  a copy of an irrevocable affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights relating to the child;

(3)  a copy of the affidavit of the status of the child, if applicable;  and

(4)  any other information required by the department.

(c)  On receipt of the information required by Subsection (b), the state registrar shall complete birth and death certificates as if the child had been adopted by court decree and then died.

(d)  In the absence of evidence to the contrary, compliance with this section and the completion of the birth certificate constitute adoption by estoppel.

 

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

 

 

Sec. 192.008.  BIRTH RECORDS OF ADOPTED PERSON.  (a)  The supplementary birth certificate of an adopted child must be in the names of the adoptive parents, one of whom must be a female, named as the mother, and the other of whom must be a male, named as the father.  This subsection does not prohibit a single individual, male or female, from adopting a child.  Copies of the child's birth certificates or birth records may not disclose that the child is adopted.

(b)  After a supplementary birth certificate of an adopted child is filed, information disclosed from the record must be from the supplementary certificate.

(c)  The board shall adopt rules and procedures to ensure that birth records and indexes under the control of the department or local registrars and accessible to the public do not contain information or cross-references through which the confidentiality of adoption placements may be directly or indirectly violated.  The rules and procedures may not interfere with the registries established under Subchapter E, Chapter 162, Family Code, or with a court order under this section.

(d)  Except as provided by Subsections (e) and (f), only the court that granted the adoption may order access to an original birth certificate and the filed documents on which a supplementary certificate is based.

(e)  A person applying for access to an original birth certificate and the filed documents on which the supplementary certificate is based is entitled to know the identity and location of the court that granted the adoption.  If that information is not on file, the state registrar shall give the person an affidavit stating that the information is not on file with the state registrar.  Any court of competent jurisdiction to which the person presents the affidavit may order the access.

(f)  An adult adoptee who is applying for access to the person's original birth certificate and who knows the identity of each parent named on the original birth certificate is entitled to a noncertified copy of the original birth certificate without obtaining a court order.

 

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.  Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.43, eff. Sept. 1, 1997;  Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 29, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

 

 

 

 

Christine Mann

Assistant Press Officer

Texas Department of State Health Services

1026 am

Nov. 27, 2012

A supplementary birth certificate is a record that is filed after the original birth certificate has been issued. There are circumstances where someone would need to change the originally filed birth certificate to include a parent’s name such as in cases of adoption or the establishment of paternity. There are different forms depending on the situation or reason for changing the birth certificate.

 

For example, here are instructions for a new birth certificate based on parentage (paternity). http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/Layouts/ContentPage.aspx?PageID=35672&id=3599&terms=supplemental+birth+certificate

 

Here are instructions for a new birth certificate based on adoption: Download (53K)

459 pm

Nov. 27, 2012

Based on the plain language of the filed bill, it may not appear to affect all birth certificates to be issued.  However, if the modification is made to only supplementary birth records, it may have the effect of identifying adopted persons.  If you modify just the supplementary birth records of adopted persons by including only gender neutral references to the parents (e.g. “parent 1” and “parent 2”) and leave all other birth records with the “mother” and “father” references, that gender neutral reference/record distinguishes adopted person’s records and thus identifies them, which under current state law, is prohibited.   As a result, we would have to have a consistent reference on all birth certificates going forward so as to not bring attention to those which are for adopted persons.

 

You also asked, would it remove “mother” and “father” from all certificates?” The answer may be no if we can find a way to add “or parent” “or co-parent” or some other additional category along with “mother” and “father” to provide the gender neutral option provided by the bill on all certificates such as “Mother or Parent 1” and “Father or Parent 2”.        This may be an issue of space on the certificates so it’s unclear at this point if this is an option.

 

DSHS would need to modify more than 20 forms which currently reflect the names of the mother and father to show parent and co-parent to comply with this bill. These modifications would result in programming changes which must be made to the Texas Electronic Registrar and Remote Issuance systems, as well as the Texas.gov web portal. These changes would affect all birth certificates yet to be issued. It would not affect birth certificates already issued.

 

In fiscal year 2012, DSHS filed 29,978 supplemental birth certificates.   These certificates were filed based upon adoptions and paternity establishments.

 

You asked what happens to an original birth certificate after a supplemental record is created. When a supplemental birth certificate is filed, the original birth certificate is removed and placed in a sealed file.  Sealed files may only be opened/accessed by court order.  The supplemental birth certificate then becomes the only certificate on file for the child.  Texas Health & Safety Code, §192.006.

 

Thanks.

 

Christine Mann

Assistant Press Officer

Texas Department of State Health Services

917 am

Nov. 28, 2012

DSHS filed 387,849 “regular” birth certificates in fiscal year 2012.

Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:00 PM

To: Mann,Christine (DSHS)

Subject: RE: Fresh Query, PolitiFact Texas

 

OK.

 

Are supplemental birth certificates themselves identical to regular birth certificates?

 

Also, is it accurate to say that before a 1997 change, the relevant law said: “The supplementary birth certificate of an adopted child must be in the names of the adoptive parents.”

 

Thanks.

 

 

 

W. Gardner Selby

 

PolitiFact Texas

www.politifact.com/texas

From: Mann,Christine (DSHS)

Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:18 PM

To: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin)

Subject: RE: Fresh Query, PolitiFact Texas

 

The supplementary birth certificate looks identical to an original birth certificate.  

 

For your second question, can you give me some context? What was the 1997 change? Thanks.

 

 

Christine Mann

Assistant Press Officer

Texas Department of State Health Services

From: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin)

Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:44:00 PM

To: Mann,Christine (DSHS)

Subject: RE: Fresh Query, PolitiFact Texas

The ’97 change, I believe, was the language specifying that the father be a male and the mother a female.

 

 

W. Gardner Selby

 

PolitiFact Texas

www.politifact.com/texas

 

Austin American-Statesman

156 pm

Nov. 28, 2012

Yes, it is accurate.