nativeamericansThe vast majority of Arizonans are born in hospitals.  Shortly after delivery the electronic paperwork to establish an Arizona birth certificate gets input and processed.  Even babies delivered at home attended by a midwife (about 1% of Arizona births) have their birth certificate information captured and processed.

Many years ago, especially in Arizona’s Indian Country, some folks were born at home and the paperwork to establish an Arizona birth certificate wasn’t filled out at the time.  Years later (sometimes decades) these same folks need their birth certificate – but we don’t have any information on the birth in our Vital Records database.  When people want a birth certificate like that, it’s called a “delayed birth certificate”.

There are state statutes and rules that govern what’s needed to get a delayed birth certificate.  For elder tribal members, some of the documents may be difficult to get.  However, they may have easily accessible official tribal documents that provide the information that we need to firmly establish the required birth facts to process a certificate.

Over the last few months, we’ve been working with tribal governments to develop a procedure to make it easier for elder tribal members to use their tribal documents to get a delayed birth certificate.  We crossed the finish line last week, when we adopted a new Substantive Policy Statement that outlines and streamlines the process for tribal elders.

A big shout out to Lena Fowler (County Supervisor, Coconino County), Senator Carlyle Begay (Arizona State Senate), Representative Albert Hale (Arizona State House of Representatives), Tom Ranger (Division Director, Division of Human Resources, Navajo Nation), John Lewis (Former Executive Director, Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.), and ADHS staff  Khaleel Hussaini, Krystal Colburn, Celia Nabor, Toni Miller, and Jeff Bloomberg, for helping to put together this new document.  We’re confident this new procedure will make it easier for Arizona tribal elders to get their birth certificate.  Well done team.