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TRENTON -- In the second phase of implementing New Jersey’s new adoption law, the Department of Health has made forms available for adoptees to apply for their birth certificates and potentially learn more about their family’s demographic, medical and social/cultural histories.

Applications are now being accepted. Records will start being released Jan. 1, 2017.

“The availability of these forms marks another step toward lifting the seal on thousands of records and allowing adoptees to learn more about their family makeup while maintaining the rights of biological parents who wish to remain anonymous,” Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett said.

The FAQs, application and instructions can be found on the Department’s website at Those who may request copies of birth certificates are adult adoptees; direct descendants, siblings or spouses of adopted persons; adoptive parents, legal guardians or other legal representatives of adopted persons; or state or federal government agencies for official purposes.

Applicants will receive uncertified copies of birth certificates on file with the Department's Office of Vital Statistics and Registry. Copies are for informational purposes only and cannot be used for legal proof of identity or citizenship, or as a substitute for an official birth certificate.

In Aug. 2015, the Department began implementing the adoption law signed by Governor Chris Christie which enables adult adoptees to access their birth records without first obtaining a court order. Under the new law, a birth parent is permitted to redact his or her personal identifying information from their biological child’s original birth certificate if the adoption was finalized before Aug. 1, 2015.

Birth parents who choose to have their identifying information redacted must submit this request by December 31, 2016 but may rescind redaction requests at any time. These forms are available on the Department’s website at

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