Applicants and Participants - Program Services
Agent for Service of Process
- The Secretary of State’s office serves as agent for service of process for participants of the Safe at Home Program. (per Government Code §6206(a)(5))
- To execute a process service, the server must prepare two copies of each document being served.
- The documents must be delivered (Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.) in person, through a server to: Secretary of State's office, 1500 11th Street, 4th Floor, Room 460, Sacramento, CA 95814.
- One copy is immediately forwarded to the participant via certified mail and the other copy is retained by Safe at Home. Service of process is accepted for active participants only.
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Confidentiality for Children
- Enroll your children: (per Government Codes §6206(a)) Children in your custody must be enrolled in the program in order to be eligible for the benefits of the program.
- Child custody: (per Government Codes §6206.7(b)(2), 6206.7(g) and 6209.7) If you do not currently have legal custody of your child/children, you may not use enrollment in the program to avoid custody, visitation or support, or your participation in the program may be terminated and your confidential address information may be shared.
- Section Six on the Application: (per Government Code §6206(a)(4)) must be completed in its entirety. Safe at Home is required by law to notify the other parent(s) of your minor child/children of how to properly serve you with court documents within ten days of your application to the program.
- School Information: (per Government Code §6207)
- Parents and guardians can notify their child’s school of the child’s participation in the program to provide another layer of protection from anyone asking for names and addresses.
- Program guidelines that inform the school about the child’s involvement in the program should be added to the child’s student file.
- If you have a child or children enrolled in school and Safe at Home, please ensure that the school has a copy of the Student Record Information Letter.
- Be sure that your assigned P.O. Box and four digit ID number is on file with the school office and is used as your mailing address for school mailings.
- Please be aware that your actual residence address will be required to verify residency for enrollment purposes and must be provided on your student’s emergency cards.
- If you or the school staff have any questions that you cannot find on our web site or to request a Student Record Information Letter, please contact our office toll free at (877) 322-5227.
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Confidential Mail Forwarding
- Address confidentiality programs aid victims by preventing their information from being attained through public records.
- A substitute mailing address, (the Safe at Home P.O. Box), as well as other benefits that provide additional security are offered to participants to use at their discretion and as part of an overall safety plan.
- If an applicant qualifies for the program, a Safe at Home post office box in Sacramento becomes their new mailing address.
- First-class mail is sent in strict confidence and forwarded to the participant's confidential California home or mailing address.
- How confidential mail forwarding works: (per Government Codes §6207)
- The participant makes contacts with businesses, creditors, family, friends, etc. either by telephone or by providing a copy of the “Business Letter” Safe at Home generates so that mail can be addressed correctly and sent to the participant’s assigned P.O. Box.
- Mail is forwarded as mandated, except weekends and holidays.
- Mail must be addressed to the participant’s legal name.
- The participant's assigned four digit ID number must be included on all pieces of mail received.
- Mail received for parties not currently enrolled in the program or names not on file with safe at home will be returned to the sender.
- Forwarded mail is delayed one to two days as it has to arrive at the Safe at Home P.O. Box in Sacramento before it is forwarded to the participant’s confidential address.
- All regular first-class mail, service of process and other certified mail is forwarded with the following exceptions:
- Newspapers and magazines
- Packages and boxes (with the exception of checks)
- Express – Fed Ex, UPS, etc.
- It is recommended that participants make other arrangements for mail items not forwarded by Safe at Home:
- Participants may use a friend or relative’s address.
- Participants may obtain a private P.O. Box to receive these types of mail items.
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Confidential Name Change
- What is a confidential name change? (per Government Code §6206.4, Code of Civil Procedure §1277)
- Only active Safe at Home participants are eligible to petition for a confidential name change. To apply for the Safe at Home program, you must be a victim of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault and you must be domiciled in the state of California. For more information, visit the Safe at Home Enrollment page.
- A confidential name change is different from a regular legal name change in that the old and new names, by law, are not documented on court records, in the newspaper, on court calendars, on indexes, on web sites, or via any other public media. The petition to change the name is filed with the county Superior court where you reside, but the new name information is filed with the California Secretary of State's Office.
- The confidential name change provision also authorizes an eligible petitioner to request from the court that the name change records be sealed.
- How does Safe at Home help with the confidential name change?
- Safe at Home does not employ legal staff, nor do we provide any personal assistance to program participants with the completion of the confidential name change process.
- Safe at Home provides basic information about the confidential name change process to Safe at Home participants, files the new name information with the Secretary of State's office, and retains copies of the confidential name change documents under confidential status after completion of the process.
- There can be many complications to changing your name confidentially. Your eligibility for the benefits other state and federal agencies provide should be determined before proceeding. It is highly recommended that participants contact a legal advisor, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Office of Vital Records before proceeding with the confidential name change process.
- Important and required steps to a successful confidential name change process:
- The participant requests, completes and files the Notice of Intent of Name Change form with Safe at Home prior to petitioning for the name change with their county Superior court. The Notice of Intent of Name Change form lists both the old and new name of the participant and is the only legal documentation on file that lists both names. It must be completed accurately.
- Once the Notice of Intent of Name Change form is filed with the Safe at Home program, the participant receives the Safe at Home Court Letter to present to the court. This letter can only be obtained after the Notice of Intent of Name Change form is completed and filed with Safe at Home.
- Once the participant receives the Court Letter, he or she may petition for a confidential name change with his or her county Superior court. The participant completes the name change petition and presents the Safe at Home ID card and Court Letter to the court personnel. The participant must write or type the required statement provided in the Notice of Intent of Name Change Instructions in the proposed name area in lieu of the proposed name on the petition in order for the name change to be legal and confidential.
- Upon receipt of the confidential, certified, stamped and signed decree from the court, the participant sends a certified copy to Safe at Home. Once received, the Safe at Home program then creates and provides new name documents and certification to the participant.
- Once the new name documents and certification is provided to the participant, this ends the Safe at Home confidential name change procedure.
- The Safe at Home program does not act as liaison to other government agencies regarding the remainder of the procedures required to complete the confidential name change process. The participant must follow the procedures provided by the following government agencies and must communicate with their offices directly and prior to petitioning to the court:
- Once the participant receives the new name packet from Safe at Home, he or she is required to update his or her Social Security information. Visit the Social Security Administration Web site at: www.ssa.gov/pubs/10093.html for more information.
- After the updated social security card is received, the participant should update his or her Driver’s License and driving record information. For more information, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles Confidential Record Suppression Unit at (916) 657-7142.
- If the participant was born in California, he or she may request to have his or her birth records amended through the California Office of Vital Records. For more information, please contact Karen Roth at the Vital Records office at (916) 552-8161. If the participant was born in another state or country, he or she must inquire with that state or country's Office of Vital Records about their procedure.
- The participant should update educational or professional licenses or public records as necessary.
- Again, Safe at Home does not act as a liaison to these agencies, nor do we provide any legal advice.
- Children's name changes:
- The child must be enrolled in the Safe at Home program to be eligible for a confidential name change.
- The court may require the parent of a minor child to notify the other parent of the proceeding for confidential name change. Contact your county Superior court for more information.
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Confidential Voter Registration
- Participants’ voter registration information is kept confidential from campaigns, pollsters and the media. (per Election Code §2166.5)
- Participants can complete a confidential voter registration card at the time of enrollment and at any time during their active participation by requesting it from SAH or their Registrar of Voters/County Clerk's office.
- Contact our office toll-free at (877) 322-5227 to request a confidential voter registration card of go to your County Registrar of Voters to register in person.
- Participants receive “Vote by Mail” status so they can vote without going to a polling place, which may be a safety risk.
- Participant’s information is not entered in the Statewide Voter Registration Database and the voter registration cards are stored in a secure location at the registrar’s office until cancelled and returned to Safe at Home.
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Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Records Suppression
- The DMV may suppress the drivers’ license and vehicle registration records of SAH participants who qualify for suppression. (per Vehicle Code Section §1808.21(d))
- The suppression of the DMV record restricts access of the records to only the Confidential Records Unit (CRU) in Sacramento.
- Participation is voluntary and contingent on active participation in the Safe at Home program.
- Inquiries are verified by the CRU.
- The participant must inform the CRU if there is a risk in releasing information due to an alleged perpetrator’s association with law enforcement.
- The participant must inform the CRU if they need their drivers' license or vehicle registration records released for insurance purposes.
- If you have any questions about DMV Records Suppression, please contact the CRU at (916) 657-7142.
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Doing Business or Purchasing Property as a Safe at Home Participant
- Doing Business: (per Government Code §6207)
- When a physical address is required by an agency or business to fulfill a legal or procedural requirement or provide services to the residence, the participant should:
- show his or her Safe at Home ID card to the representative;
- request that the information be protected by a password or other security measure;
- get assurance (in writing, if possible) that the information will not be shared with other parties; and
- if needed, refer the agency or business representative to the Safe at Home program’s toll-free number for more information at (877) 322-5227.
- Participants are encouraged to ask questions to protect their safety when conducting business, such as:
- Is my address required by law?
- How will my personal information be stored?
- Who will have access to my personal information?
- Can my account be password protected?
- Can a notation be made in my file to not release information without notifying me?
- Will my information be sold to third parties?
- Can I get assurances in writing that my information is protected and will not be sold to or shared with third parties?
- Purchasing Property:
- If the participant wants to purchase property, we advise that the participant speak to an attorney or the legal aid foundation in their county. There is no provision under the Safe at Home law that protects name or address information on property records.
- You may wish to inquire with your county assessor's office about purchasing property under the name of a trust. They may be able to provide some guidance to you and your attorney about the process.
- The following private and public entities require the residence address:
- County Registrar of Voters - The law provides confidential procedures for Safe at Home participants.
- County Welfare/Social Services - The law provides confidential procedures for Safe at Home participants.
- Schools - Schools require the residence address for emergency and eligibility purposes, but Safe at Home program guidelines are provided to protect your confidential information.
- Private Entities such as Retailers and Utility Companies: Companies share and sell personal information to other companies.
- County Assessor - Any filing with the county assessor's office becomes public. Participants should inquire about using any confidential procedures available.
- Secretary of State, Notary Public Division - Some personal information becomes public when you become a Notary Public. Participants should inquire about using the confidential procedures available with the Notary Division at (916) 653-3595).
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Handling Court/Law Enforcement Matters
- The Safe at Home P.O. Box address should be used on all court documents.
- The Safe at Home address shall be accepted and used instead of the residence address by court and law enforcement officials. (per Government Codes §6207, 6215.5)
- Other parent notification is required if you have minor children.
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Smog Your Car Under Confidential Status
- Smog fees vary by county and under normal circumstances, a residence address must be provided at the smog facility in order to smog a vehicle.
- The Bureau of Automotive Repairs (BAR); however, performs a special procedure which allows participants in the Safe at Home program to smog their cars without providing a residence address.
- Safe at Home acts as facilitator by receiving vehicle registration information from the participant and supplies it to the Bureau (BAR). Once approved (or denied if the car is not registered in California or to the participant), SAH communicates the completion or denial of the procedure to the participant.
- The participant then proceeds to Smog and re-register their vehicle.
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Internet Disclosure Prohibition
- The California Office of the Attorney General offers an online opt-out form Safe at Home participants can use to remove their home address, telephone number or personal identifying information from a website.
- The law also prohibits a person, business, or association from knowingly and intentionally posting or displaying on the Internet, or soliciting, selling, or trading on the Internet a participant's home address, telephone number or personal identifying information and imposes a fine for violations of this law. (per Government Code §6208.1 and 6208.2)
- For more information on protecting your personal information online and otherwise, please visit the California Office of the Attorney General website at www.oag.ca.gov/privacy.
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