CHAPTER 69

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

REGISTRATION OF BIRTHS, DEATHS AND MARRIAGES

AN ACT TO AMEND ARTICLE 2, CHAPTER 25, OF THE REVISED CODE OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, 1935, RELATING TO THE STATE BOARD OF HEALTH.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:

Section 1. That 782 Sec. Sec. 42, 786 Sec. 43, 787 Sec. Sec. 47, 791 Sec. 48, 792 Sec. Sec. 52, 796 Sec. 53, 797 Sec. Sec. 57, 801 Sec. 58, 802 Sec. Sec. 62, 806 Sec. 63, 807 Sec. the Revised Code of Delaware amended to read as follows: 39, 783 Sec. 40, 784 Sec. 41, 785 44, 788 Sec. 45, 789 Sec. 46, 790 49, 793 Sec. 50, 794 Sec. 51, 795 54, 798 Sec. 55, 799 Sec. 56, 800 59, 803 Sec. 60, 804 Sec. 61, 805 64 of Article 2 of Chapter 25 of 1935, be and the same are hereby

782. Section 39. Registration Districts: The Board shall divide the State from time to time into registration districts which shall conform to political subdivisions, or combinations thereof, or of parts thereof, provided, however, that the City of Wilmington shall be one of the registration districts.

783. Section 40. Local Registrars and Deputies: (1) The Board, on the recommendation of the State Registrar, shall appoint local registrars. A local registrar with the approval of the State Registrar may appoint deputies. The local registrars and the deputy registrars, except in the City of Wilmington, shall serve during the pleasure of the Board.

(2) The registrar of births, deaths and marriages of the City of Wilmington shall be the local registrar of the registration district of Wilmington, provided, however, that the term of office of the local registrar of the registration district of Wilmington shall commence and end with the term of office of the registrar of births, deaths and marriages of the City of Wilm i ngton.

(3) Each local registrar shall be required to make one correct copy of each birth, death and marriage certificate received that is properly and completely made out, upon forms supplied by the State Board of Health, which copy shall be kept by the local registrar making the same. All forms supplied to local registrars shall remain the property of the State Board of Health.

(3) Local registrars shall transmit all certificates filed with them to the State Registrar in accordance with regulations of the Board.

784. Section 41. Registration of Physicians and Midwives; Report of to State Registrar: Every physician, midwife, undertaker and clergyman shall without delay register his or her name, address and occupation with the local registrar of the district in which he or she resides. It shall furthermore be the duty of the local registrar to see that all physicians, midwives, clergymen and undertakers within his district are so registered. Each such registrant shall be supplied by the local registrar with a copy of this Article, together with such rules and regulations as may be prepared by the State Board of Health relative to its enforcement. Within thirty days after the close of each calendar year, each local registrar shall make a return to the State Registrar of all physicians, midwives, undertakers and clergymen who have been registered in his district during the whole or any part of the preceding calendar year.

785. Section 42. Compulsory Registration of Births; Local Registrars to Prepare Birth Certificates; Supplementary Reports: --(1) Within ten days after the occurrence of a birth, a certificate of such birth shall be filed with the local registrar of the district in which the birth occurred, by the physician, midwife, or other legally authorized person in attendance at the birth ; or if not so attended, by one of the parents. Any physician, midwife or person present at the birth of any child shall within twenty-four hours report said birth to the State Registrar on a form supplied by the State Registrar. This report shall in no way supplant or relieve any responsibility for filing the certificate of birth as provided for in this Section.

(2) If neither parent of the new born child whose birth is unattended, as above provided, is able to prepare a birth certificate, the local registrar shall secure the necessary information from any person having knowledge of the birth and prepare and file the certificate.

(3) The time within which a supplementary report furnishing information omitted from the original certificate may be returned for the purpose of completing the certificate shall not be more than six months from the date of birth. Certificates of birth completed by such supplementary report shall not be considered "delayed" or "altered".

786. Section 43. Registration of Foundlings; Foundling Report: (1) Whoever assumes the custody of a child of unknown parentage shall immediately report to the local registrar in writing--(a) the date and place of finding or assumption of custody; (b) sex, color or race, and approximate age of child; (c) name and address of the person or institution with whom the child has been placed for care; and (d) name given to the child by the finder or custodian.

(4) The place where the child was found or custody assumed shall be known as the place of birth, and the date of birth shall be determined by approximation.

(5) The report shall constitute the certificate of birth.

(6) If the child is identified and a regular certificate of birth is found or obtained, the report shall be sealed and filed and may be opened only by court order.

787. Section 44. Registration of Deaths and Stillbirths; Death and Stillbirth Certificates; Delayed Determination of Cause of Death: (1) A certificate of every death or stillbirth shall be filed with the local registrar of the district in which the death or stillbirth occurred within three days after the occurrence is known ; or if the place of death or stillbirth is not known, then with the local registrar of the district in which the body is found within twenty-four hours thereafter. Stillborn children are those dead at birth and shall be registered as births and also as deaths, and a certificate of both the birth and death shall be filed with the local registrar in the usual form and manner, the certificate of birth to contain in place of the name of the child, the word "stillbirth". In every instance a certificate shall be filed prior to interment or other disposition of the body.

(2) The person in charge of interment shall file with the local registrar of the district in which the death or stillbirth occurred, or the body found, a certificate of death or stillbirth within three days after the occurrence.

(3) In preparing a certificate of death or stillbirth, the person in charge of interment shall obtain and enter on the certificate the personal data required by the Board from the persons best qualified to supply them. He shall present the certificate of death to the physician last in attendance upon the deceased or to the medical examiner and/or coroner having jurisdiction, who shall thereupon certify the cause of death according to his best knowledge and belief. It shall be unlawful for a midwife to sign a certificate of death or stillbirth.

(4) Thereupon the undertaker or person in charge of interment shall, if the death occurred without medical attendance or the physician last in attendance failed to sign the death certificate or circumstances suggest that the death or stillbirth was caused other than by natural causes, notify the medical examiner and/or coroner for investigation and certification.

(5) If the cause of death cannot be determined within three days, the certification of its cause may be filed after the prescribed period, but the attending physician, medical examiner and/or coroner shall give the local registrar of the district in which death occurred written notice of the reason for the delay in order that a permit for the disposition of the body may be issued.

788. Section 45. Form of Certificates: The forms of certificates upon which births, deaths and marriages shall be registered may include as a minimum the items required by the respective standard certificates as recommended by the U. S. Bureau of the Census, subject, however, to approval of and modification by the Board, provided, however, nothing in this Article shall be taken as indicating that in any form report of the birth of an illegitimate child, or on any certificate of birth of such illegitimate child, the name of the reputed father of said child shall be stated, unless and in which case there be attached to such form or certificate of birth a written statement of the reputed father acknowledging the paternity of such child. The form and use of such certificate shall be subject to the provisions of Section 50 of this Chapter.

789. Section 46. Certificates as Evidence: Certificates filed within six months after the time prescribed therefor shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. Data therein pertaining to the father of the child are prima facie evidence only if the alleged father is the husband of the mother; the data pertaining to the father of the child are not evidence in any proceeding adverse to the interests of the alleged father, or of his heirs, next of kin, devisees, legatees, or other successors in interest, if the father is not the husband of the mother and the paternity is not acknowledged as aforesaid.

790. Section 47. Issuance of Certificates: (1) The State Registrar shall upon request furnish any applicant a certificate of birth registration containing therein the name of the child, date of birth, place of birth, and certifying thereto that the information contained in said certificate is identical with equivalent information appearing on the original birth certificate.

(2) The State Registrar shall upon request furnish any applicant a certified copy of any certificate or any part thereof provided the applicant has a direct interest in the matter recorded and that the information contained therein is necessary for the determination of personal or property rights. In the

event of a request being made to the State Registrar for a certified copy of a registration of an illegitimate birth, to which registration a statement of paternity is not attached, the State Registrar is authorized to issue a certified or photostatic copy on which the name of the reputed father shall not appear.

(3) The State Registrar shall upon request furnish any applicant a photostatic copy of any certificate provided the applicant has a direct interest in the matter recorded and that the information contained therein is necessary for the determination of personal or property rights.

791. Section 48. Fees for Copies and Searches: (1) The State. Board of Health shall receive for searches of records and the issuance of certificates the following fees :

a. for a search of the files and records and the issuance of a certificate of birth registration, fifty cents.

b. for a search of the files and records only, fifty cents.

c. for a search of the files and records and the issuance of a certified copy of any record, $1.00.

d. for a search of the files and records and the issuance of a photostatic copy of any record, $1.50.

(2) Subject to Sections 50, the U. S. Bureau of the Census may obtain transcripts, or, without payment of fees, certified copies provided the State is put to no expense in connection therewith.

(3) The State Registrar shall keep an account of all fees received and turn the same over to the State Treasurer.

792. Section 49. Delayed or Altered Certificates; Procedures; Evidence: (1) A person born in the State of Delaware may file or amend a certificate of birth after the time herein prescribed, upon submitting such evidence relative to the circumstances surrounding the birth as may be required by the State Registrar.

(2) Any certificate in the custody of the State Registrar upon which the information thereon is charged to be in error may be corrected or altered upon submitting such proof of error as may be required by the State Registrar.

(3) Certificates accepted subsequent to six months after the time prescribed for filing and certificates which have been altered after being filed with the State Registrar shall contain the date of the delayed filing or the date of alteration and shall be marked "delayed" or "altered" respectively.

(4) A summary statement of the evidence submitted in support of the acceptance for delayed filing or alteration shall be endorsed on the certificate.

(5) Such evidence submitted in support of a delayed or altered registration as may be retained by the State Registrar shall be kept in a special permanent file.

(6) All certified copies issued shall be copies of the corrected certificate and shall not bear any of the incorrect information as contained in the original certificate.

(7) The probative value of a "delayed" or "altered" certificate shall be determined by the judicial or administrative body or official before whom the certificate is offered for evidence.

793. Section 50. Disclosure of Records: (1) The records and files of the Bureau of Vital Statistics shall be considered confidential matter and shall be open to inspection subject to the provisions of this Act and regulations of the Board. It shall be unlawful for any officer or employee of the State to expose data contained in vital statistics records except as authorized by this Act and by the Board;

(2) Disclosure of illegitimacy of birth or of information from which it can be ascertained may be made only upon order of a court in a case where such information is necessary for the determination of personal or property rights, and then only for such purpose.

(3) The State Registrar shall not permit inspection of the records or issue a certified copy of a certificate or part thereof unless he is satisfied that the applicant therefor has a direct interest in the matter recorded and that the information therein contained is necessary for the determination of personal or property rights. His decision shall be subject, however, to review by the Board or a Court under the limitations of this Section.

(4) The Board may permit the use of data contained in vital statistical records for research purposes only, but no identifying use thereof shall be made.

(5) Subject to the provisions of this Section, the Board may direct local registrars to make a return, upon the filing of birth and death certificates with them, of certain data shown thereon to Federal, State, or Municipal agencies. Payment by such agencies for such services may be made through the State Registrar to local registrars as the Board shall direct.

794. Section 51. Adoptions: (1) Upon the issuance of a final decree of adoption, the Clerk of the Court in which such application for adoption was made shall immediately file in the office of the State Registrar, on forms provided by the State Registrar for this purpose, a report indicating and setting forth the name given to the child at its birth, the sex of the child, the date and place of the child's birth, the name of the child's natural mother and father, together with a certified copy of the final decree of adoption.

(2) Upon receipt of such information, the State Registrar shall remove from his files the original certificate of birth and, after proper identification, shall place it in a confidential file which shall be accessible only upon court order. The State Registrar shall file a new certificate setting forth the adopted name and sex of the child, together with the names of the adopting parents and the actual birth date and birthplace of said child; and certificates may be issued in accordance with Section 47 of this Act.

(3) Provision is also made for the State Registrar to file such new certificate of birth for any child born in Delaware who is legally adopted in another state upon receipt of an exemplified copy of the Court Order of Adoption from the Clerk of the Court of such other state, and to issue a certificate as provided under Section 47 of this Act.

(4) In the event of a child born outside of Delaware and who is adopted in Delaware and for whom no certificate of birth can be secured from the state of his birth, the State Registrar may file and issue a special certificate of birth in accordance with the provisions of this Act, provided the adopting parents can furnish evidence considered satisfactory by the State Registrar of the facts and circumstances surrounding the birth of the child.

795. Section 52. Legitimation: In cases of legitimation, the State Registrar, upon receipt of proof thereof, shall prepare a new certificate of birth in the new name of the legitimated child. The evidence upon which the new certificate is made and the original certificate shall be sealed and filed and may be opened only upon order of Court.

796. Section 53. Persons Required to Make Records: Persons in charge of institutions for care of correction or for treatment of disease, injury or childbirth shall record and report all statistical data required by this Act relating to their inmates or patients.

797. Section 54. Permit for Removal, Burial, or Other Disposition; Foreign Permits; Prerequisites for Permit: (1) When a death or stillbirth occurs or a dead body is found, the body shall not be disposed of or removed from the registration district until a permit has been issued by the local registrar.

(2) When a death or stillbirth occurs outside this State and the body is accompanied by a permit for burial, removal or other disposition, issued in accordance with the law and regulations in force where the death or stillbirth occurred, the permit

shall authorize the transportation of the body into or through this State, but before the burial, cremation or other disposal of the body within this State, the permit shall be endorsed by the local registrar, who shall keep a record thereof.

(3) No permit under this Section shall issue until a certificate of death or stillbirth, as far as it can be completed under the circumstances of the case, has been filed and until all the regulations of the Board in respect to the issuance of such permit have been complied with.

798. Section 55. Compensation of Local Registrars; Payment of Fees: (1) Each local registrar shall be paid the sum of thirty-five cents for each properly completed birth, death or marriage certificate returned by him to the State Registrar in accordance with the regulations of the Board. In case no birth, death or marriage was registered during any calendar month, the local registrar shall so report and be paid the sum of $1.00 for the report.

(2) Upon certification by the State Registrar, the fees of local registrars shall be paid by the Treasurer of the proper county. The State Registrar, quarterly, shall certify to the Treasurer of the respective counties the number of properly completed birth, death and marriage certificates received from his county, with the names of the local registrars and the amount clue each.

799. Section 56. Registration of Marriages: Each person who performs a marriage ceremony shall, within five days following the day on which said marriage or marriages were solemnized, make full and complete return of same on blanks furnished by the State Registrar to the local registrar of the district in which said marriage or marriages were solemnized or contracted.

798. Section 57. Registration of Divorces, Annulments, and Adoptions: For each divorce, annulment of marriage, or adoption, the Prothonotary or Clerk of the Court shall prepare, within 30 days after the decree becomes final, a certificate of such

decree on a form furnished by the State Registrar; and before the 15th day of each calendar month the prothonotary shall forward to the State Registrar the certificates prepared by him during the preceding calendar month.

801. Section 58. Cremation: (1) No person shall destroy or dispose of by burning in the State of Delaware, the body of an individual dead from any cause, except in a crematorium or crematory licensed for this express purpose and under the conditions provided in this Section.

(2) A person, firm, organization or association desiring to acquire, erect or construct a crematory shall first obtain a permit from the State Board of Health, after depositing with said Board such blue prints giving construction details, plans of location, or other information as shall be required. The crematory shall be so constructed as to be able to reduce to ashes a body, so that there shall remain not more than five per cent of the weight of the body immediately after death. The crematory shall be subject at all times to inspection by the State Board of Health and by such officers of the State, Legal or Police Departments as may desire to inspect it. It shall not be located, managed or conducted at any time in such a way as to be a public nuisance.

(3) A body to be cremated cannot be so disposed of under a burial or disposal permit obtained from a State or local registrar under the provisions of the Vital Statistics law, but only after the preparation of a special permit obtained for this purpose. This special permit shall be obtained from a State or local registrar, after there having been first deposited with him the death certificate prepared under the provisions of the Vital Statistics law and a certificate signed by one physician and by a coroner of a county and/or by a member of the office of the Attorney General to the effect that there is no medical or legal reason that the destruction of the body by the process of cremation should not be permitted. The permit shall be retained by the person, firm, corporation or association conducting the crematory, and shall be produced for inspection or other purposes when asked for by the inspecting authority.

(4) After the cremation has been completed, a report indicating the name of the indivdual, his address while alive, the date and cause of death, and the names of the individuals signing the permit, the date of the cremation, and the disposal of the ashes, shall be forwarded within twenty-four hours by the persons in charge of the crematory to the State Board of Health.

(5) The ashes resulting from the cremation of a body may be delivered by the attendants of the crematory to any member of the family of the deceased designated to receive them, or to the person or persons arranging for the cremation. After this delivery, they may be transported in any way in the State and disposed of in such a way as is desired by the person or persons receiving them.

(6) A representative of the family or some individual accredited to act as representative of the family of the individual being cremated may be present at the time the cremation is being carried out.

(7) The provisions laid down in paragraph 3, respecting the signatures of a physician and coroner or the signature of a member of the office of the Attorney General shall be required in respect of the cremation of the body of an individual dying in the State but removed to any other state for the purpose of cremation.

(8) The cremation in the State of Delaware of the bodies of persons dying in other states is permissible if all the legal requirements of the state in which the death occurred have first been complied with.

(9) The State Board of Health is hereby empowered to prepare regulations governing the conditions under which the bodies of persons dying from an infectious or communicable disease can be transported from any portion of the State to a crematorium for the process of cremation. *

(10) Any person who shall give false information and/or violate any of the provisions of this Section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or imprisoned not more than one year, at the discretion of the Court.

802. Section 59. Penalties: (1) Any person who wilfully makes or alters any certificate or certified copy thereof provided for in this Act, except in accordance with the provisions of this Act, shall be fined not more than $1,000.00, or be imprisoned not exceeding six months, or both fined and imprisoned.

(2) Any person who knowingly transports or accepts for transportation, interment or other disposition, a dead body without an accompanying permit issued in accordance with the provisions of this Act, shall be fined not more than $500.00, or be imprisoned not more than three months, or both fined and imprisoned.

(3) Except where a different penalty is provided in this Section, any person who violates any of the provisions of this Act or neglects or refuses to perform any of the duties imposed upon him by this Act, shall be fined not more than $100.00, or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both fined and imprisoned.

803. Section 60. Regulations: The State Board of Health shall have power to adopt, promulgate, amend and repeal such regulations as may be consistent with law and relative to this Act, said regulations to be enforced by the State Registrar.

804. Section 61. Severability: If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the Act which can be given effect without the invalid

provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are declared to be severable.

805. Section 62. Inconsistent Systems of Birth, Death and Marriage Registration Forbidden: No system for the registration of births, deaths or marriages shall be continued or maintained in any of the several muncipalities of this State not in harmony with the provisions of this Article.

Notwithstanding any other of the provisions of this Article, the State Registrar is authorized on the production of evidence satisfactory to him relative to a birth, marriage or death, if for any reason registration has been neglected or omitted, to register any birth, marriage or death which may have occurred when registration was not effective or which may from any cause have escaped registration and the said State Registrar is hereby directed to issued certified copies of such registrations if so requested.

806. Section 63. Live Birth, Stillbirth, Definition of: A live birth for the purpose of this Act shall be defined as the birth of a child who shows evidence of life after the child is entirely outside the body.

Stillbirth means a birth after twenty weeks of gestation which is not a live birth.

807. Section 64. Time of Taking Effect: This Act shall take effect sixty days after becoming law.

Approved April 29, 1943.