Cook County Birth Certificates
We were also under strict orders never to be fooled and take hospital certificates instead of the real thing. But you know what? Hospital certificates contain more data on them than this new shortened version being used by Cook County.
And most important of all, we had to establish that the person registering the child was indeed this child’s mother. We could do that by reading the birth certificate and then requesting ID information from the parent. Not hard to do and makes sense, don’t you think?
Chicago, being the third largest city in the United States, does a booming business in birth certificates every August and September. We are a city of immigrants whose first language is not English. Advertisements in English and Spanish appear routinely on TV and radio, in the newspapers, and even on benches and billboards - all reminding parents: “You must present your children’s birth certificate in order to register them for school."
In my day, the kindergarten rooms would be standing empty if
parents carried in this latest Cook County document and tried to register their children for school.
It used to be that the Chicago public schools, together with the County, worked to make it as easy as possible for parents to get their children’s birth certificates. The quickest way was to go downtown to the Cook County Dept. of Vital Statistics and apply in person. Shucks. In Cook County, you can even get a copy of your birth certificate at any currency exchange in the county. But writing a request to the Board of Health in Springfield is a very long and cumbersome way, fraught with bureaucratic obstacles, to obtain the needed certificate in time for the opening of school. Especially for parents who do not speak much English.
I am perplexed. I really wonder why Cook County is looking for ways to shorten birth certificates by eliminating so much information from them.
Will the person who dreamed up Cook County’s short-cut to birth certificates please stand up and tell us – WHY?