Registering a child’s birth - procedure

Follow this procedure when registering a child’s birth.
Document ID number 1120, version 3, 23 March 2022.

It is important all children have their birth registered. Birth registration ensures a child is legally recognised by the state or territory in which they were born. It creates a permanent, public record of a child’s birth and is part of a child’s story and identity. It is also required before a birth certificate can be issued and to access entitlements such as government payments, obtaining a driver’s licence and opening a bank account.

Following a child’s birth, the hospital, medical facility or midwife gives the child’s parent(s) a Birth Registration Statement (BRS) to register their child's birth. Under section 18(1) of the Births, Deaths and Marriage Registration Act 1996 a child’s parent(s) must ensure that a BRS is lodged with the Registrar within 60 days after the date of birth.

Birth registration rates in Victoria are very high. However, for various reasons, for some children, their birth does not get registered.

Child protection may become aware a child’s birth is not registered in the following circumstances:

  • when applying for a birth certificate on behalf of a child, the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria (BDM), or the Registry in the state the child was born, advises they are unable to locate a record of the child’s birth.
  • when a birth parent advises their child’s birth has not been registered. This may occur in a range of circumstances including when the child is placed in care.

Child Protection should support or arrange support for parents to register their child’s birth for children living at home, whether or not they are subject to an order.

For children in care, Child Protection should, in the first instance, support or arrange support for parents to register their child’s birth. If this does not occur, Child Protection must register the birth, whilst continuing to engage the child’s parents and other family members throughout the process.

Under section 15(3) of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act the Registrar may accept a BRS from a person who is not responsible for having the child’s birth registered if satisfied that:

  1. the person lodging the statement has knowledge of the relevant facts; and
  2. the child’s parents are unable or unlikely to lodge a birth registration statement.

If you believe a child’s birth is registered, however the child does not have a birth certificate please see Applying for a birth certificate – procedure.

For further information please see Birth certificates – advice.

It is the role of Child Protection (or the Kinship Engagement team if involved) or the Aboriginal Child in Aboriginal Care (ACAC) program to register a child’s birth if parents are unable or unwilling and the child is in care. This role cannot be performed by a carer, or by a contracted case manager with a Community Service Organisation (CSO) or Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO).


Case practitioner tasks

This procedure is relevant to all children involved with child protection. The steps required differ according to who has parental responsibility for the child concerned.  

For children living at home

Parents have a legal responsibility to register their child’s birth.

  • Commence early conversations, during the investigation or if this is not possible in the context, then in the course of preparing the first case plan in protective intervention phase, with a child’s parents about the importance of birth registration and birth certificates. See Applying for a birth certificate – procedure for further information about starting these conversations.  
  • Check where the child was born. See below if the child was born interstate or overseas.

A child’s birth needs to be registered in the jurisdiction where the child was born.

  • Where it is identified a child’s birth has not been registered, support, or arrange support for the parents to complete and submit the BRS via the BDM website.
  • If only one parent agrees or is able to complete the BRS, a statutory declaration must be attached to the BRS explaining why the other parent has not completed their part.
  • If a family is working with another service provider, such as a family service, you may wish to ask the service provider to support the parent to complete the BRS via the BDM website.

For children in care

  • Where it is identified a child’s birth has not been registered, support, or arrange support for the parents to complete and submit the BRS via the BDM website.
  • Complete the BRS on the parent’s behalf if a parent is unable or unwilling to register the child’s birth via the BDM website. See Registering the birth below. This should only occur when efforts to engage the parents in the process have been exhausted, however this cannot be left undone.

It is very important for child protection practitioners to engage parents to the fullest extent possible and support them to complete the BRS to register their child’s birth. However, if this cannot be achieved and other family members are unable to assist, Child Protection must register the birth of a child in care under a Children’s Court order, with no exceptions. The BDM Registry in Victoria will accept BRS applications from Child Protection in relation to children in care. Child Protection should detail the steps taken to engage the parents to the BDM Registry.

Where there are safety concerns for a parent

The BRS contains personal information about both parents, including their residential address. In some circumstances, particularly where family violence is present, it may not be safe for one parent’s address to be known to the other.

If completing the form online, parents will submit their own section separately and no contact information relating to the other parent will be visible. If completing the BRS in paper form, BDM will not provide any information to the other parent where safety is concerned.

If further information is required contact BDM for advice.

Registering the birth

Upon identifying a child’s birth has not been registered:


  • Support the parents to complete and submit the BRS via the BDM website. If they are unable or unwilling to complete the form online, request a form be mailed from BDM and support the completion of the form and return via mail.


  • Register the child's birth through the online application form on the BDM website.
  • Complete as many fields as possible in the BRS. Where you do not know information such as where the child, or a parent, was born, ask the parents or other family members for this information. If you cannot obtain it, leave the section blank or write unknown.
  • Select the checkbox at the declaration at step 8. If the parents are unable or unwilling to agree to the declaration, complete the declaration at Step 8 yourself.
  • Complete, and then upload with the BRS, the standard letter template available from forms and secure documents ensuring the following is included:
    • a statement advising of your authority as delegate of the Secretary to complete the BRS
    • the name of the Children’s Court order and confirmation the child is in care
    • a statement confirming the parents are unable to complete the BRS.
    • your name, position and address of your area office, including a certified copy of your department identification badge
    • a certified copy of any available identity documents for the child that can establish a community footprint (e.g. Medicare, Centrelink, school enrolment), noting this will not be possible in all cases particularly when the child is an infant.
  • Upload a certified copy of the Children’s Court order to the application
  • Complete all of the BRS to be sure a birth certificate is issued at the time the child’s birth is registered. (If the form is not completed a birth certificate will not be issued and you will need to make an additional, separate application for a birth certificate.)  
  • Pay the fee for a birth certificate using a procurement card. An administrative assistant can assist with this process.    
  • Submit the form online with all attachments.

Child Protection should complete the application online. If there is an issue with the online form, Child Protection can complete a paper copy of the BRS by requesting one from BDM. Once completed, post to BDM with attached documents using the self-addressed envelope BDM provided

If you are experiencing any difficulties in the application process. Please contact BDM for advice and support. Contact details for use by Child Protection can be found in the BDM contact details document in forms and secure documents.

Children born interstate or overseas

  • For children born elsewhere in Australia, contact the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the relevant state or territory to ask about the birth registration process. A list of state and territory registries is available at the Australian Government information and services website.
  • If the child was born overseas, it may be difficult to register the child’s birth in their country of origin. Refer to Applying for a birth certificate – procedure for information about how to arrange appropriate identity documents for a child to demonstrate their entitlements in lieu of a birth certificate.
Supervisor tasks
  • Support the child protection practitioner to: