Off the Grid....[reporting a birth]

So say you have a kid and its a wonderful kid and the birth happens at home and everything goes swimmingly.

Are you legally required to report the birth and get a birth certificate?

Say you don’t report the birth and don’t get a certificate, would it be possible then to raise your kid totally off the grid outside of any information collection by the government?

If you keep him on the farm and out of sight you probably can.

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General Questions Moderator

Don’t plan on claiming the child as a tax exemption. Or attend a public school. The real challenge will be when the child grows up. No driver’s license. No job. No government benefits. Is there any real benefit of doing this?

And with recent voter id laws, no vote.

And no passport if the kid wants to travel.

And no flying either.

Say this wonderful kid of yours grows up and commits a crime but since your wonderful child is not on the books, what would happen to him/her when it comes to booking if there is no record or trace?

You do not want to do this to a kid of yours:

Queensland Woman Without Birth Certificate ‘Doesn’t Exist’

I’d assume they’d start a record at that point with retroactive data. If he’s decided to remain evasive, he can be John Doe, Date of Birth: some day, approx 18 years ago, suspicion of whatever crime he’s arrested for. You didn’t really think with no determinable ID on record, a person can’t be held if suspected of a crime, right? The farce can continue indefinitely, through trial, with release or conviction and jail term. Plenty of people are held when they refuse to answer some aspect of information the system usually wants. Plenty of people refuse to acknowledge the government’s authority for a variety of reasons. Shockingly, their prison cell remains just as solid.

No Social Security number …

I don’t know about the US, but this is actually an issue in Aboriginal communities in Australia. There are large numbers of people who don’t officially exist and don’t even realise that until they absolutely *need *proof of identity or birth.

This is further exacerbated by the laxer standards that were, and probably still are, adopted for communities. Parents can get welfare for their children based upon a social worker, health worker or teacher physically seeing a child. A teenager can claim welfare based on completing 10 years of schooling and so forth. The whole thing has resulted in sizable numbers of adults having no official proof of existence well into their adult years.

This situation was recently publicized in the case of Alecia Pennington, a homeschooled teen from a conservative Christian family in Texas who has no birth certificate or other proof of identity.

The article says that such a situation isn’t totally unheard-of in that demographic:

Updates on Alecia:

Whatever may or may not have happened in her home life, she seems to have moved on.

And for what it’s worth, here’s her mother’s website.

I would assume that, unless the government has proof otherwise, they have to take your life story on face value. They may take a long time investigating, but -

The key thing is to get something established. The welfare department or such may not choose to for example, give you the government’s money without you meeting their formalities. But someone, somewhere, especially someone who does not have to give you money, will probably at least begin the process to establish your identity. (If you are arrested, they’ll start the process much faster).

I doubt they can deport you, because they would have to prove you don’t belong and that your back story makes no sense. Of course, if you belong to an ethnic minority from outside the country and their language is your home language, things could get dicey.

However, you can usually point to someone and say “this is my father/mother”. DNA will establish the truth. You may not have documentation, but they will. And so on.

As has been discussed in several threads, your identity is a cumulative collection of a massive number of factoids and breadcrumbs your life leaves. As others point out - social security, a job, drivers’ license, bank account, education, previous addresses, neighbours, doctors and clergy - somewhere you made an impact on someone or something.

The scary thought is that someone like Jaycee Dugard’s kidnappers or the guy in Cleveland could be wandering around with a child or two well past the age to attend school and obviously nobody tweaked to anything like lacking in paper trail, no school attendance, etc.

You’d kind of be a slave to your parents, wouldn’t you? You couldn’t access education, health care, jobs, get married, none of the things we all take for granted, without enormous difficulty or your parents help. Might as well just be enslaved!

Plus, you gotta know, if they caught you for some crime they WOULD find a way to put you in jail, I’m certain. And if they can’t because of your wily technicality, what’s stopping them from just shooting you down in your home?

Sounds like equal parts stupid and dangerous to me!

Used to be a big problem in Venezuela; a cousin of mine spent ten years getting people registered (we joke that Chávez should have given her a medal).

She went there as a lay missionary, not very sure of what someone with a degree in Psychology would be good for, and was received by the local primary schools like she was made of manna. “We have these schools in the poor areas, and we can’t get people to send their children! Maybe they will not think you’re scary, maybe they will talk to you and you can sell them the idea of sending the children to school, yes?”

Turns out many people thought that they couldn’t register their marriages or their children, or send their children to school, or use any kind of social services, because birth record forms asked for the names of “husband” and “wife”, and at some point in the previous generations someone had been born on the wrong side of the blankets…

The amount of unrecorded citizens was bigger than some countries.

I had a friend in England who was in a similar situation, although he was quite happy to be paying no taxes at the time. He was born during the war and his mother left him with his grandmother who lived in a tiny cottage in the country with no connection to the outside world at all. She gave him a basic education and when he was 13 or 14, he started work with a blacksmith.

Eventually he became a highly skilled farrier and drove around in a van (technically borrowed from the landlord of the pub where he lived) and everyone happily paid cash.

Of course this was in the far less documented world of the 1950s and it will be no surprise that it was The Inland Revenue that eventually caught up with him. I have no idea how, but he was eventually issued with a birth certificate, even though he had no known living relatives.

I assume that someone, somewhere, has the authority to issue a back-dated birth certificate based on approximate data. It’s just that the low-level minions do not have that authority, so they will pass the buck or avoid the issue.

But do school offices actual say, presented with a 5-year-old “This child cannot register until you bring a birth certificate”? (I gather they are starting to do this in places wrt immunization certificates).

Yes. For example:

It even specifically lists who is obligated to report the birth if it occurs “outside an institution.”

There are other sections of that same chapter of the code making it a crime to purposefully refuse to register a birth (or death). The penalty is up to a year in jail, and a fine of up to $1,000.

As far as I know every state has a similar law.