'The position it puts our family in': Oklahoma mom waiting months for baby’s birth certificate

NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A first-time mom came to KFOR with an issue the station has reported on before: the inability to get a birth certificate.

According to state law, The Oklahoma State Department of Health Division of Vital Records is responsible for registering every birth which occurs in the State of Oklahoma, as well as issuing certified copies of birth certificates.

In an email to KFOR Thursday, representatives said they’re able to process the majority of their requests for birth certificates within two business days.

But for Jordan Jennett, the process has been a lot more complicated than just filling out a form.

“The hospital [originally] sent me home with the form,” said Jordan, who said it took just a few minutes to fill out and send back.

“I actually mailed in a mail in order in November of 2021. And then I was reading online that they were getting it faster online. So, I submitted an online one in December,” she added.

However, Jordan said she’s been waiting months for her son’s birth certificate; and in the meantime, she can’t get benefits or childcare for her son.

“I’m eligible for tribal benefits, for childcare and I haven’t been able to receive those [because I have to submit the birth certificate], she added. “And that has [put a ] damper on me getting a job because my husband works, and I haven’t been able to help in that sense,” she continued.

Jordan Jennett and Elijah, image KFOR

For Jordan and her family, no tribal benefits means no childcare; and no childcare means no opportunity for her to get a job to add additional income to her single income household.

“I need a job and I haven’t been able to receive one because of a birth certificate,” she said.

The frustrated first time mom said she reached out repeatedly to the Oklahoma State Department of Vital Records to no avail.

“[They told] me, ‘you’ll receive a call in three to five business days.’ But I don’t receive a call in three to five business days,” she added, saying she grew more and more frustrated.

“[The last time I called] she [the representative] chuckles and then she says something along the lines of ‘Well, there’s nothing I can do for ya,'” she said.

After KFOR got involved, Jordan said the department contacted her right away.

“I woke up to five missed calls and a voicemail,” she continued.

“When I talked to the lady today, she had told me that they were in the middle of moving offices. She said they had over eight million records that they had to move, and something may have happened in the works of a move,” she added.

In an email to KFOR Thursday, state officials said they’ve cut a backlog in half since January and are working through the rest as quickly as possible.

“Once this situation was brought to our attention, we were able to make contact and are currently working with the mother to complete the required forms for issuance of the record. It’s important that parents take the time to review any legal form or application to assure they are complete and then return those items in a timely manner to reduce any delays in processing. We have reduced our backlogs by half since January and continue to work through them as quickly as possible. In most cases, if the amended record is not readily available, you can show the birth certificate, as it is, along with your documentation that demonstrates the correct information with you to obtain the required service.”

Oklahoma Vital Records Division

Jordan is hopeful everything will work out; but for now, she’s still waiting.

“It really all comes down to the birth certificate and the position that it puts our family in,” she said.

Anyone with questions or concerns about vital records documents can call (405) 426-8880 or visit AskVR@health.ok.gov for guidance on addressing missing documentation or other issues.

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