Information for Parents
If You Have a Home Birth
Complete and return the home birth worksheet within one year of the baby's birth. If you do not return this form within a year of the child's birth, the parent will need to provide additional evidence about the birth and pay an additional filing fee. More importantly, the birth certificate will be marked delayed. Government authorities question the validity of delayed birth certificates, and this could impact the child for his or her whole life.
If You Want a Copy of Your Child's Birth Certificate
Request a certified copy of a child's birth certificate at any city or town hall in Rhode Island or at the Center for Vital Records. You can get a certified copy of a birth certificate a few weeks after submitting your child's birth worksheet (if you had a hospital birth) or home birth worksheet (if you had a home birth). more
If Your Child Has a Legal Change in Parentage
- Provide the Center for Vital Records with required legal documentation to have a new birth certificate created. You must provide either a certified court order of paternity or a voluntary affidavit of acknowledgement of paternity or legitimation.
- Parents who are not a child support client can make an appointment with the Center for Vital Records to complete a voluntary affidavit.
If You Adopt a Child Born in Rhode Island
- The court hearing the adoption will forward the court report of adoption to the Center for Vital Records. For children adopted in Rhode Island, the Center for Vital Records usually gets the report about three weeks after the court hears the adoption. Reports for children adopted in other states may take longer to get to the Center for Vital Records.
- The processing fee is $15.
If You Adopt a Child Born in a Foreign Country
- Contact the Center for Vital Records for information on creating a certificate of foreign birth.
- Some foreign countries require adopting parents to have an apostille attached to a certified copy of the vital record(s) before adopting a child. If the foreign country requires an apostille, the certified copy of the birth certificate must be personally signed by the State Registrar or the Deputy State Registrar. Contact the Secretary of State's Notary Division, 401-222-1487, to ask if you need an apostille or certification.
If You are a Birth Parent of an Adopted Child
- Any adoptee who was at least 25 years old by July 1, 2013, and was born in Rhode Island can get a non-certified copy of their original, pre-adoption birth record.
- You can file a contact preference form with the Center for Vital Records and a medical history form with Rhode Island Family Court. A copy of the form(s) you submit will be given to the adult adoptee when he or she requests a copy of his or her pre-adoption birth record. Note that while the contact preference form conveys your wishes regarding contact with an adopted child, the Department of Health has no legal control over a child's decision to contact a birth parent.
- If you want more information about locating an adopted child, consider registering with the Rhode Island Family Court Voluntary Adoption Reunion Registry. If you know which adoption agency handled the adoption, you may also wish to contact that agency.