Birth certificate backlog in Arkansas causing headaches for parents

Backlog in the state to get birth certificates

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Have you recently had a child and had troubles obtaining their birth certificate? Well, you're not the only new parents in Arkansas that have been experiencing issues.

Lines were nearly out the door Monday at the Arkansas Department of Health. Not only were new mothers and fathers in line, but many others were struggling to get their own vital records.

"My sister is trying to get my niece's birth certificate so she can get enrolled in school," Kurteya Trotter said, as she watched over her sister's children outside the office.

Some parents have told us they have been waiting up to five months before getting a copy of their child's birth certificate through the mail.

Robert Brech, General Counsel for ADH, acknowledged the lines have been long and said people have been getting frustrated.

"We are embarrassed that it is taking people this long," Brech said. "We are working on getting the back log taken care of."

Brech said that recently there have been "critical vacancies" in the department that helps process birth certificates. He also claimed the backlog was caused by a new requirement where you have to show your birth certificate to obtain or renew a driver's license.

But the Department of Finance and Administration, which issues driver's licenses, said that isn't the case.

"We have not seen a real spike," said Walter Anger, Commissioner of Revenue at the DFA. "We started this in October of 2016 as extra security for the federal government. We started early. It isn't really required until October of 2020. Since that time we have issued 29,000 of the 'Real ID.'”

Beginning in October of 2020, anyone who flies or enters a federal building will need an advanced driver's license, also known as a "Real ID." To get one the first time you must have a copy of your birth certificate. 

Anger said he isn't sure what is causing the backlog.

"The advanced driver’s license is a voluntary thing. You can either get a regular driver's license, or the enhanced driver's license," Anger said.

No matter the reason, the Department of Health said they're working to get the backlog fixed.

In the meantime, Brech suggested if you need a copy of a birth certificate or any other vital record, your best bet is to visit their office.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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