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Plan's New Program Enables Jakartan Street Children to Obtain Birth Certificates

A young girl proudly displays her birth certificate. Having a birth certificate will enable her to obtain an education and receive healthcare.
A young girl proudly displays her birth certificate. Having a birth certificate will enable her to obtain an education and receive healthcare.
Children take part in the launch of Plan's 'Birth Certificate for Street Children Program' in Indonesia.
Children take part in the launch of Plan's 'Birth Certificate for Street Children Program' in Indonesia.
April 16, 2013

Despite birth registration being a basic right, many children in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, are still missing out, according to a new Plan study. Street children are among the most affected as high costs and excessive red tape keep parents from registering their children’s births.

Last year, Plan surveyed more than 500 families living in non-permanent housing and slum dwellings in 5 parts of Jakarta as part of a global movement to highlight the everyday realities faced by street children living in some of the world’s busiest cities.

"Nearly two-thirds of parents surveyed said they had never tried to apply for a birth certificate for their children," said Peter la Raus, Director of Plan Indonesia.

“They think birth the certificate arrangements require a high cost. Only 37% of street children’s families have tried to apply for their children’s birth certificates. Many applications are unsuccessful because of incomplete paperwork and the lengthy application process,” he added.

To apply for a child’s birth certificate, a family must provide a long list of documents, including a birth recognition letter, a birth statement report from the local village administration, a family identity card or letter of domicile, and the parents’ divorce or marriage certificate.

Only about half of parents surveyed said they had a birth recognition letter, while 84% of parents said they did not have a birth statement. Just 51% of parents surveyed said they had ID cards and only 40% of parents had marriage or divorce certificates issued by a local civil registry office.

According to government data released last year, only 22% of street children have birth certificates. This is an issue that Plan is certain needs urgent attention, which has prompted the launch of the Birth Certificates for Street Children in Jakarta program.

The program has been designed to increase awareness among street children and their families on birth registration and provide easy and accessible public service access.

Without a birth certificate, children can struggle to access basic services like healthcare and education and often have difficulties in obtaining work later in life. The problem is confounded in cases of marginalized groups, such the homeless.

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