Iberville Parish Clerk of Court Amy Matirne Patin announced recently that her office now has the ability to produce birth and death certificates, an announcement that garnered great enthusiasm through the office’s Facebook page.
Patin said the post announcing the new service had been shared nearly 150 times by followers of the office’s Facebook page, a fact that surprised even her.
“We actually implemented the service of issuing birth certificates and death certificates in December,” Patin said. “By Dec. 1, we had everything set up but we wanted to become familiar with the system, how it worked and what we were doing before we made the announcement.”
“We felt like people had been wanting this service for a while and sure enough, we had a flood of people once we announced we would be doing it,” she continued.
Now that birth certificates can be obtained at the Clerk of Court’s Office in Plaquemine, no longer do people have to drive to Napoleonville in Assumption Parish – about a 40-minute drive to get them.
“When people used to come in to get a birth certificate or a wedding certificate, they would have to go to Napoleonville, the closest place the service was provided,” Patin said, adding up until about three or four years ago, people could also get those documents in Baton Rouge.
While birth certificates could even be obtained at a kiosk at the East Baton Rouge Health Unit, now people have to go to the Clerk of Court's Office there for the document.
Patin said she’s always wanted to be able to provide the service and it’s been available to parish Clerks of Court’s Offices for several years from the state’s Clerks of Court satellite office, but she wanted to wait until the renovations to the Iberville Parish Courthouse were complete.
“With us moving out for the work to be done then moving back in, I decided it would be best for security reasons that we were back in our offices in the Courthouse before we started,” she continued.
“We had to make sure our security measures were in place before we could start issuing them,” Patin said, citing the prevalence of identity theft today. “I’m sure that there are still problems in some places because people with bad intentions will always find a way to get what they want done.”
“We wanted to make sure that wouldn’t happen here,” she said, adding that while her office has offered passport issuance for some time, the staff for both services is completely different as is the rooms in which they are done.
Patin said the process for obtaining a birth certificate was a simple one and considers it a convenience to Iberville’s residences and the clerk’s office charges $34 for birth certificates and $26 for death certificates.
The cost is the same if a person goes to Napoleonville or Baton Rouge for the service.
Through the state Bureau of Vital Records, birth certificates can be obtained for $15. Patin said she considered the additional charge a convenience fee, although at least one person expressed through her office’s Facebook page they would not want to pay the extra money.
“That’s your choice, but how much is it going to cost to get down to Napoleonville and then you’ll have to take off work, so I think it’s worth the extra charge to the people of this parish,” she said.
While the Clerk of Court’s Office has had dozens of requests for birth certificates since the service was initiated, she said there have been no requests for death certificates. Patin said she believes that funeral homes usually provide families with those.
She said there are requirements that have to be met before her office can issue a birth certificate and they’ve already had one problem with a man who wanted to get a birth certificate for his child.
“One of the things we have to be careful about and we’ve already had one instance where a man who said he was the father of a child, but his name was not on the birth certificate,” Patin said. “If your name is not on the original birth certificate as the father, then we cannot give you a birth certificate.”
“He was not very happy with us but the rules are the rules,” she said. “We have to follow the guidelines of the state.”
“There are numerous measures that are in place to protect people,” Patin continued. “I wouldn’t want anyone to have my birth certificate unless they were entitled to it.”
She said she have five employees trained and available to produce birth certificates and we only do them from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., 30 minutes before the office closes,” she said. “We cut off at 4 and not 4:30 because sometimes the way the service works, it can take up to 30 minutes to get the information verified by the state and receive it from them.”
“Requests go to Vital Records in New Orleans and they have to approve them, then reply to our request before we can print them,” Patin said.
For more information, contact the Clerk of Court’s Office at (225) 687-5160.