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5.10.3 Birth Certificates

Birth certificates may be required by or for Children Looked After in a variety of circumstances, including the child needing a passport or when care proceedings or placement order applications are issued or where

prospective adopters are making an application for an Adoption Order in respect of the child. Wherever possible the original birth certificate should be obtained from the child’s birth parent(s) and returned to them when the need for the certificate is over (e.g. a passport has been obtained) or at the latest when the child is returned to the care of birth parents.

It may not be possible to obtain a certificate in this way, either due to lack of co-operation from the parents or because the certificate is missing, but in any event the child’s Social Worker should always obtain a new birth certificate before issuing any proceedings. A new birth certificate may reveal that the father was registered on the birth certificate after the original registration and this may give him parental responsibility (seek legal advice if necessary to check).

Birth certificates can be obtained:

  • In person from the Family Records Centre
  • Locally from the register office where the birth was registered
  • On-line from the website of the General Register Office.

Full details and an online application form can be found at the General Register Office website.

A copy of the child’s birth certificate must be held on the case record at the commencement of any application for a Court order.

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