Hammond teenager spends her life without a birth certificate

Photo provided by staff.
Friday, August 23, 2013 - 4:44pm

Imagine being 18 years old, and not being able to get a driver's license, hold onto a job, or in this case, serve your country all because of a piece of paper.

Breanna Strahan is just like any of us, she has goals, and dreams, including going to college and even joining the military, but because she does not have a birth certificate, she cannot do any of that.

"I have no life. I can't move forward. I can't move out," Strahan said. "I can't do nothing. I feel so stuck."

Strahan was born at home, and not long after that, her mother began the process of getting her birth certificate. Countless letters, phone calls, and conversations later, she still does not have one. Now 18, Strahan is looking to get her GED so she can go to college, but cannot without that certificate.

"I don't exist. I just turned 18, and I knew if I didn't do something," Strahan said. "I was not going to get nothing."

Strahan attended public school until she dropped out in junior high. A temporary ID let her stay in school, but that's not enough anymore.

"I just lose it because at some point, I need an ID, and I just lose it because I don't have it, and I can't go to school," Strahan said. "I mean. My biggest goals in life is to get my GED, go to Southeastern, and enter the military, and I can't."

Breanna and her mother Jennifer Strahan, said they've reached out to the Department of Health and Hospital's Vital Records department hundreds of times, and they have spent thousands of dollars trying to get the certificate.

"I do beat myself up over it because I wish I would have been more active, and I'm glad now that I have kept everything from day one. I have every receipt, everything. It's just frustrating," Jennifer Strahan said. "No matter how much money I've spent. No matter what I bring them. It's just not good enough. She's constantly upset. She wants to work. She has all these goals and ambitions. I just keep telling her 'all good things come to those who wait.'"

"What do I need? Tell me something," Strahan said.

I did try to get some answers from DHH Friday, and they said they are looking into the situation.    

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