HARRISBURG - Residents who may be in need of a certified, duplicate copy of their birth certificates are reminded that the fee for requesting the document is increasing as of July 1 to help fund services for abused children in Pennsylvania, said Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna).

The charge for a duplicate copy of their birth certificate is currently $10 and will rise to $20 on July 1. Parents will still receive the original certified birth certificate for their newborn free of charge.

"Earlier this spring, the governor signed into law legislation that provides dedicated funding for Child Advocacy Centers (CACs), which bring together child welfare advocates, law enforcement and others to help children overcome the horrors of physical or sexual abuse," Pickett said. "Many of the CACs that operate within our state are funded through a variety of ways, and some centers are located quite a distance away from children who may be in need. This dedicated funding is one way to properly fund these centers, with the hope of adding others in underserved areas."

CACs offer a multi-faceted treatment program for abused children which brings together doctors, nurses, prosecutors, social workers and law enforcement. This approach gives abused children the best chance to recover and also provides the most effective way to gather evidence to bring perpetrators to justice. Currently, 21 centers operate across the state's 67 counties. The Children's House in Towanda serves as the CAC along the Northern Tier.

The fee increase will also help support the development of new CACs, train individuals mandated to report suspected child abuse and for other child abuse-related costs. It is estimated the duplicate birth certificate fee increase will raise approximately $2.86 million per year.

Birth certificates can be used for a variety of reasons, including personal identification, employment, passports and Social Security.

"My staff is well versed in completing applications for duplicate birth certificates, and can help anyone in need of obtaining one," Pickett said. "Residents can also request an application by visiting my website at RepPickett.com."

Pickett noted that the fee may be waived for individuals who served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces or their dependents.

Submitted article.