March 2015 Vital Records News

March 2015

Vital Records News

Interagency pilot project introduces Certificate of Adjudication form

The Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Vital Records (OVR), and the Minnesota Department of Human Services Child Support Division (CSD), along with selected counties are collaborating to ensure that birth records and the certificates issued from them are accurate and complete.

Children born to unmarried mothers have a second parent listed on their birth records only when additional steps are taken. To add a father’s name to the record, paternity must be established. When paternity is established by court order, many families fail to take the next step in filing the court order with OVR to replace the original record. For this reason, many fathers may not be listed on their children’s birth records. Updating birth records after paternity adjudications has been troublesome for many reasons including inconsistent filing practices and incomplete or unclear information.

father and son

 “OVR appreciates the willingness of the child support program to help improve the accuracy of records and our service to customers.”

- Molly Crawford, State Registrar

To ensure that birth records accurately reflect a child’s legal parents, OVR and CSD are working together to create a process and mechanism to file paternity adjudications with OVR. County child support offices are piloting a “Certificate of Adjudication” form, which mirrors a form used to replace birth records after adoption. The interactive form, developed in collaboration by the two state Departments, provides clear instructions and contains the information needed to efficiently and accurately update birth records. 

On March 1, Dakota, Douglas, Koochiching, Ramsey, and Stearns County Child Support offices and their court administrations started piloting the form. The court will send a completed “Certificate of Adjudication” form to OVR when a father is adjudicated. OVR will replace the current birth record so that the father’s information is recorded. In most cases, the form rather than a certified copy of the entire order will be all that is needed for filing with OVR. 

The Pilot Project will occur in multiple phases with the first phase ending May 1. The pilot requires participating child support agencies to secure agreement with their local court administrators to voluntarily use the new form. OVR will bill the pilot counties for each $40 replacement fee when the records are updated. Both CSD and OVR will monitor activities during the pilot. As data becomes available, they will evaluate the success of each phase, consider continuation with additional county agencies and courts, and possibly expand use of the form for all court-ordered adjudications statewide.

“OVR appreciates the willingness of the child support program to help improve the accuracy of records and our service to customers,” said Molly Crawford, the State Registrar. Because the new Certificate of Adjudication form is based on a similar and effective MDH adoption form that is also completed by the court administrators, OVR expects the courts to be familiar with filing and that the process will be successful in reducing the number of rejections and the number of days it takes to process the replacements.

"Power of Two" video helpful for parents

The arrival of a newborn is a day filled with emotion. New parents are often overwhelmed by information and look to hospital staff for guidance. When you are working with unmarried parents at the hospital, remember that paternity education is essential.

Before signing the Recognition of Parentage form (ROP), unmarried parents should view “The Power of Two” video (approximately 16 minutes in length) and read the ROP form, with accompanying information, in its entirety.It is also helpful to provide parents with the “Being a Legal Father” informational brochure published by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS).

Showing parents the video fulfills the oral notice requirement.

The ROP creates a lifelong relationship between a father and a child.With 93 percent of ROPs filed with OVR each year completed at the hospital, hospital staff represent the first step in creating this legal relationship for most unmarried parents. To assure parents are making informed decisions, and to comply with state and federal laws, staff must provide parents with both written and oral notification of their rights, responsibilities and alternatives.

If you have any questions regarding paternity or paternity education, or need to order DVD copies of “The Power of Two” please contact or by phone at (651) 431-4435.

In addition, forms and brochures are also available to order.

Birth Registration 101 classes available

If you are new to registering births or if you have never been formally trained in the MR&C System as a birth registrar, now is your chance to register for Vital Records Birth Registration 101 training.

OVR launched this class to help new birth registrars learn about MR&C and their role in Minnesota’s vital records program. The "Excellence in Birth Registration" conference achieved its goal in improving data accuracy and timeliness for filing birth records.

OVR now is looking to use training resources more strategically and we are focusing on both training new users and supporting existing registrars who have never been formally trained. Because there is no conference, Birth 101 is an excellent opportunity to gain a solid understanding of the rules and regulations that guide birth registration as well as the requirements for your facility and for you as an MR&C System user.You can choose between two four-hour training sessions:

You can choose between two four-hour training sessions:

  • Tuesday, March 17 from 12-4 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 19 from 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

Both sessions will be held at the MDH Orville L. Freeman Building, 625 Robert Street North, St. Paul, Minn. 55155-2538.

There is no cost for the course. Refreshments and all training materials are included with your registration. Participants are responsible for their own transportation and parking expenses.

Get approval from your manager or facility to attend. To register, email or contact the Office of Vital Records MR&C Helpline at 651-201-5993. Once OVR confirms your registration, you’ll receive additional class information by e-mail.

Vital Records Birth Registration 101 is presented by the Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Vital Records and the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Child Support Division.


Customers frequently ask questions about amending a birth record. Here are some tips to remember:

If a birth record has been replaced by a court order (e.g., adoption, paternity, or other court order), or if the child’s last name was changed with the filing of an ROP, a court order is required to change the subject’s name again. However, minor spelling changes to a subject’s name can be amended with other supporting documents. The supporting documents are explained on the OVR website, under the heading of Document Requirements.

If a customer asks for a birth  amendment application, always go directly to the OVR website and print the most current application. If you use a search engine to locate the application, you may find an older, outdated application.

When searching for a foreign birth record in MR&C, change the default setting of state from "Minnesota" to blank in the "State/Foreign State" field under "Other Search Criteria." If you don't change that field, no record will be found.