NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – County and city clerks across Texas have been unable to provide copies of birth certificates, as records offices continue to navigate a new state computer system launched for vital records.
Some offices posted messages on websites this week saying they were unable to provide the documents to anyone born outside the local jurisdiction.
They were referring applicants to state offices to request the documents, or the county where they were born if they were able to travel there.
Required for passport applications, obtaining a driver’s license or registering a child for athletics, the birth certificate issues are tied in part to the new TxEVER system launched by the Texas Department of State Health Services on January 1. The system is intended to keep more accurate data on vital records in the state.
Jennifer Lindenzweig, County Clerk in Hunt County, and president of the County and District Clerks Association of Texas, said in her personal opinion, the site was not ready to go live.
Funeral directors, doctors and medical examiners said the delays were affecting services like cremations, and slowing insurance claims for families.
Lindenzweig said problems for clerks included difficulty accessing the web-based system, changes that no longer allowed them to see where a document may be stuck in the process, and inconsistent printing on birth certificates that sometimes makes them insufficient for passports.
Collin County Clerk Stacey Kemp said her office may have worked out enough issues to begin issuing certificates for out of county births by Monday.
Other areas, like the city of College Station, said they did not have the correct paper to print on. The city said changes made to the language on the certificates, required them to order new supplies.
This was also affecting counties where new clerks were elected in November, and new paper was needed with their names and signatures on it.
DSHS, which posted online last week it was working to resolve all the launch issues, said Friday it was working with local clerks to resolve “training-related” issues.
The agency said some users still needed to correct their account information to get access.
The process has been changed so local registrars now receive records from the state at the end of the process.
Related to non-local certificates, a spokesman wrote that some registrars had not agreed to a contract to access a remote system, to issue those certificates.
It also acknowledged an inconsistent printing issue for birth certificates, suggesting that for passport applications, customers request the document from the state.
While some of the problems were being resolved, clerks repeated the concern of some medical examiners that the delays could put them in violation of state codes setting a deadline of 10-days to file a death certificate.
DSHS said it had notified licensing bodies like the Texas Medical Board of the system changes, and how it may impact timeliness.