- Last Updated on 08:22 AM 06/23/14
- BY Special to The Gazette
The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS), in conjunction with the Virginia Paternity Establishment Program (VPEP), announced Friday the top 10 Virginia hospitals that are being recognized for excellent performance in paternity establishment for 2013.
These hospitals, located throughout the commonwealth, each attained paternity establishment rates greater than 78 percent.
Halifax Regional Health System in South Boston ranked 35th out of 57 hospitals with paternity establishment rates of 72 percent.
According to the rankings, a total of 250 unwed births were delivered at Halifax Regional Hospital.
VDSS’ Division of Child Support Enforcement manages VPEP, which is operated by the Center for the Support of Families, Inc. (CSF). VPEP is a program that offers unmarried parents the opportunity to establish paternity for their newborns by voluntarily acknowledging fatherhood during the mother’s hospital stay. The commonwealth has a total of 58 birthing hospitals serving parents throughout Virginia.
“Establishing paternity creates a legal relationship with the father, but more importantly provides important personal benefits for the child,” said VDSS Commissioner Margaret Ross Schultze. “Children who have a connection to both sides of the family have a stronger sense of identity and more opportunities for the emotional and financial support they need to grow and thrive.”
The hospital achieving the highest rate in 2013 is Warren Memorial Hospital - Valley Health in Front Royal.
“We are honored to be recognized for work that helps children establish strong ties to both parents,” said Kim Shirley, director of the Women’s Center. “Our team of nurses diligently works to promote paternity establishment and ensure that every unmarried parent receives the education and support they need when making the decision to add the dad to the birth certificate.”